There is no doubt about that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a huge project and an incredible achievement. The constant expansion, however, makes me long for something else: a smaller, more detailed Nintendo crossover fighting experience.
With the addition of yesterday’s SNK & Terry Bogard, Nintendo & # 39; s universe-crossing party-fighter is now on a ridiculous eighty playable characters, a cast supported by an equally astonishing number of stages and music tracks. It is without a doubt one of the heavily stacked games ever made, and Nintendo, the game development team and director Masahiro Sakurai all deserve a huge amount of praise for making something so ridiculous.
Many games use monikers such as “Ultimate” in their name, but the Switch entry in the Smash Bros. series is one of the few who has truly earned the title. Even if you prefer Melee’s unique tight controls, as many fans do, it’s hard to argue that this is the ultimate Smash Bros. experience. The most incredible thing is that there will be more characters.
And yet … your mind wanders. With every new addition to the schedule of Smash Bros. I can’t help but think of the earliest fighters in the series – especially those of Smash 64 and Melee – and wonder how much more interesting they might be in a game with a smaller scope. Although I still enjoy Ultimate, this makes me particularly excited about everything that will become the next Smash game.
You see, the oldest fighters in the series – characters like Mario, Link, Samus and Fox McCloud – all have relatively simple sets of movements for comparison. They have been adapted and adapted in small ways to grow with the appearances of these characters in their own franchises, but they still adhere to the more basic rules of Smash as defined on N64 and GameCube. With more recent characters, Sakurai and his team have found it appropriate to experiment wild – and that has led to a chasmous difference between old and new characters.
The two most recent DLC additions to Smash Ultimate demonstrate this point particularly strongly. The hero of Dragon Quest 11 comes with a brilliant, bizarre series of movements that go all the way to fully reflect the turn-based and random-number-driven character of his home series. It is an incredibly unique set of moves that goes beyond the simple standard Smash boundaries of a projectile movement, a recovery movement, a grab, an attack, a counter and so on.
Terry follows the same design principles, with unique controls and mechanics that better reflect his appearance in, for example, Fatal Fury and King of Fighters. This kind of bold design is beneficial to Smash in some ways – first, it makes each character more distinctive, but it also helps to emphasize this series as a celebration of video games. Characters designed in this way make Smash not only feel like a character’s crossover, but also like a mechanical mash-up.
It’s true that this stuff doesn’t always match the particularly vocal and enthusiastic competitive Smash community – there was talk of banning the Dragon Quest hero almost immediately after its release thanks to the randomness of some of its mechanics – but Smash maker Sakurai has never been afraid to make it clear that he is not designing the game for a competitive audience, but rather for casual pleasure.
Unlike characters such as the Dragon Quest Hero or Terry, those earliest Smash participants such as Pikachu, Samus and Link feel fairly designed. This makes sense – they were built on the N64, when the parameters of the series were hardly defined. The same goes for many of the Melee cast. All of these characters look and move like in their own games, and all have their most iconic movements – but unlike some of the newer cast, they don’t evoke much mechanically in their home games.
The point is that much more can be done. These are iconic characters with hugely different game styles – and it is very exciting to imagine how different they could be if they were redesigned from the ground with the same kind of approach used for the newer fighters in the series. This is why a restart of Smash Bros. would probably be brilliant.
Super Smash Bros. has been additive for years. The series is generally expanded on what came before, many add with little to no subtraction. Ultimate is the ultimate form of it, where every character and almost every important piece of content from the past twenty years are brought together in one place. Even Sakurai has repeatedly said that this is the last time this will happen, however: next time, Smash will not be that extensive.
For me, that sounds like a good thing. I love Ultimate, but the more I think of the approach to the design of his newer characters, the more excited I am for the concept of a restarted Smash where the most iconic twenty or thirty characters are designed with the same attention to detail and unique flair. For now, I’m happy to keep seeing Ultimate updates, and it would be great to see them reach 100 characters over the life of the Switch – but I’m already looking forward to the next and hopefully entirely new generation of Smash Bros .