While the Canada Cup/EGLX venture had its share of issues, I was lucky enough to try out the demo for the highly anticipated Nintendo title Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
The demo booth had plenty of setups, with four players on each setup. We would get two matches per session, each match lasting two and a half minutes. As such, the lineups for the demo were moving very quickly, and we got plenty of cracks at the demo over the weekend.
Despite the demo only having a fraction of the characters and stages that the full game will have, there was a lot to choose from, enticing us to return to the booth. There were plenty of series regulars, as well as two new characters: Inkling and Ridley. So, how is the game?
The game…is fun.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate looks wonderful and feels fantastic to play. The gameplay is faster paced than Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, with characters having faster and more accessible movement options. The game’s hits feel more satisfying too, with stronger hits sending the opponent flying, smoke trailing after them (it’s common to think that people are about to die with how quickly they fly off, but it’s actually easier to survive than the aesthetics would have you believe.)
With new airdodging, shielding, and rolling mechanics, the game puts an emphasis on attacking. Using your defensive options too much or too recklessly will leave you in a world of hurt. Even jumping in the air too much is grounds for getting your ass kicked, as once your opponent hits you up there, it’s very hard to come back down.
This means people will be using their dashes more, and rightfully so – now you’re able to do anything out of a dash, such as jabs, tilts, smash attacks, and specials. With the game’s speed being cranked up a notch, and dashing people not only a powerful but preferably option, Ultimate matches are going to be very explosive and fast. From watching other demo matches on YouTube, one Ultimate match with three stocks per player is about the same as a competitive Smash Wii U match with two stocks per player.
The characters in the demo all feel like strong, but not busted versions of themselves. If you enjoyed how a certain character played in past Smash games, chances are that they play similarly in Ultimate, but with some buffs and nerfs where it fits. No character felt too clunky or out of place, and the newcomers, Inkling, and Ridley, fit in very well with original movesets that contrast greatly.
The stages are mostly from previous games, with a stage from Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild being featured. The demo had around two dozen stages, which seems like it would almost be good enough for a full game…even though we already know that the full game will feature well over 100 stages.
For those who are curious as to the competitive side of Ultimate, it’s hard to say, as the demo rules were 4-player free for alls, with plenty of items and chaos to boot. As such, the 1v1 competitive atmosphere is hard to judge. As the game mechanics are probably most similar to Smash Wii U, characters such as Cloud, Marth, and Donkey Kong are all slated to be very strong, as they play like their Wii U counterparts for the most part. Marth especially feels smooth, with some moves being much faster while still retaining the incredible KO power.
Immediately after trying the demo, I went to compete in the Super Smash Bros. Wii U tournament and immediately noticed the drop in graphics and the dulling of gameplay. Ultimate’s speed and movement options have been improved drastically to encourage fast-paced, explosive combat. It will be amazing to see what the end product will be, but after playing the demo, I can assure you that Ultimate will be a true experience – for both players and spectators.