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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: The Greatest Entry In A Series That Shouldn’t Exist


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What’s so wonderful about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is that it really should not exist in its current state. As of this writing, there are eight core companies that have characters featured within the game as either Spirits or fighters, with even more providing must-follow input when you add in second parties that have partial rights to the characters (i.e. The Pokemon Company). It should go without saying that this is an absurd amount of work just to have a handful of characters to crossover into one fighting game, and the more it continues to grow the less likely it will ever be repeated.

There’s no way that appeasing this many companies in order to include gaming icons like Cloud, Solid Snake, Sonic the Hedgehog, Pac-Man, and Mega Man was an easy feat. The fact that Nintendo was even able to do it in the first place is a miracle. Still, not only was Nintendo and the development team working out of Namco Bandai capable of navigating this legal minefield, but they delivered the best iteration of the beloved Super Smash Bros. series to-date in doing so.

Featuring a whopping 74-character roster, with Piranha Plant arriving in Smash Bros. Ultimate as free DLC in February 2019, the finished product hosts every single fighter that has ever appeared in the franchise. Fan-favourite characters like Wolf, Ice Climbers, Pokemon Trainer, and Snake all make their return, while other axed veterans that many thought would never resurface (namely Pichu and Young Link) do a lot to justify their return to the franchise after last appearing in 2001’s Super Smash Bros. Melee on the Nintendo Gamecube.

Each character feels unique enough to stand alone on the roster, and that carries over to the newly-branded Echo Fighters (Lucina, Chrom, Dark Pit, Daisy, Dark Samus, Ken, and Richter) which are slightly altered copies of several other mascots on the character selection screen. Each has a unique way they strike a pose or deal damage that makes them feel like much more than what they really are – which are clones. This layout is brilliant from a marketing and gameplay perspective because it rounds out the roster by adding more fighters for less development time, and the end result is still just as satisfying for fans.

All of this is before even touching on the newcomers being introduced in Ultimate, and they are arguably the best in the franchise’s history. It’s hard to believe, but villainous characters like Metroid‘s Ridley and Donkey Kong‘s King K. Rool have been amongst the most highest requested characters for inclusion in the fight title for well over a decade – and they have now finally made their debut. Meanwhile, others like Castlevania‘s Simon Belmont, Animal Crossing‘s Isabelle, Splatoon‘s Inkling, and Pokemon‘s Incineroar are worthy additions that appeal to more general fans of Nintendo.

This branding of “everyone is here” may appear at first to be a marketing ploy, but the effort put into adding these combatants into the mayhem known as Smash Bros. Ultimate is admirable and, better yet, painstakingly true to their source material. The included single-player mode, World of Light, only broadens this scope of nostalgia in order to appeal to fans.
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