Last weekend I was able to make it to the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate preview event at the Best Buy in Richfield, MN. The event went from 1PM to 5PM local time. After rushing to the Best Buy, I was able to get in two matches with two different characters on the available roster. Even though my time was short, I can tell this game is something special.
Nothing on the Switch can match the flair of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Sakurai keeps finding ways to one-up his previous games.
The graphics in this game look phenomenal. Most of the characters who were in the previous iteration look similar, but the new lighting engine makes them feel different enough. The way the light sits on the models helps to round out sharp edges caused by the lack of anti-aliasing.
The little details which are included also amaze me. Smash Bros. games are known for their insane attention to detail. The first thing that comes to mind is the Mark of Naga in Lucina’s eye. It’s such a minuscule detail that nobody would ever notice, but it’s there.
Even in this demo of an unfinished game you could see the attention to detail. On Battlefield you can see the Sun far off in the distance. As you play, the stage will slowly darken. While playing you can hardly notice it, but there’s a little solar eclipse going on in the background. The animation of the Sun becoming obscured looks fantastic, but it’s something you’ll likely never see unless you look for it.
The Inkling’s ink tank is another incredible detail. Instead of having a gauge by your damage percentage you keep track of your ink levels by looking at the tank on the Inkling’s back. It makes complete sense and feels like the intuitive solution. At the same time, it’s an uncommon level of detail that adds to the unique feeling of the character.
My Fighters and How They Felt
The first character I played at the demo event was Inkling. I was surprised by the weight of this character. They weren’t as heavy as Bowser or Donkey Kong, but their small stature is surprisingly weighty.
Maybe it’s just me, but the Inkling doesn’t feel like it will be a strong character choice. I always felt limited by the need to refill my ink tank. I love the ability to cover my enemies in ink to increase my damage output, but the tradeoff didn’t feel balanced. You also need to consider that the battle was a four-player free-for-all. In one-on-on matches it may become easier to manage your ink supply. Having a single target can also make your plan of attack more effective and efficient. With multiple targets to cover in ink you’ll need to refill more frequently. Refilling your tank makes you a sitting duck in a free-for-all. I can’t say for sure, but it seems like Inkling will be much more viable in singles matches than they will be in teams.
The second character I got to play was Snake. The Metal Gear Solid series is number two on my all-time favorite list next to Metroid. It’s safe to say I was ecstatic when I saw Snake turn off his Stealth Camo in the E3 trailer. He felt even better than the way I remembered him in Brawl. The biggest difference I noticed was a change to his down smash. Instead of burying a claymore, Snake now kicks downwards diagonally to the front and back. I was a bit disappointed since Snake’s explosives are key to his moveset. However, I can understand if they made the change to differentiate the move from his C4 down special.
My Favorite Item: Pokéballs
I got to see some new Pokémon that I had only previously written about in my weekly posts covering the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Blog. The launch star was kind of cool, but as a huge Pokémon fan I always love the Pokéballs in Smash. I underestimated the power of Dedenne and Solgaleo. Luckily, they were both on my side. Dedenne’s attack covers a massive amount of Battlefield. It almost completely blocked off the left side of the stage. Solgaleo also moved much faster than I had anticipated. Scizor seems to be more determined to land a hit, but it seems much weaker. I wasn’t at a very high percentage when I got hit, but I feel like Scizor had a bigger impact in Melee.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate already feels like it’s going to be one of the best iterations in the series. The overall increased speed and weight of the fighters feels so good. Adding directional air dodges adds so many more movement and recovery options to the game. I also like that you can’t abuse directional air dodges. Its effectiveness stales like moves now and if you time dodges poorly then you face a large amount of landing lag.
The movement in this game seems to mark a shift towards favoring aggressive play styles. Smash Bros. For Wii U and 3DS were a little more defense-focused — except for Bayo — but, Brawl before that was even worse — except for Meta Knight. It’s nice to see the game favoring offensive strategies so far. I’m not saying that they should go full Melee. That game has already been made and it is fantastic. Rather, I think that Super Smash Bros. should be fast and chaotic. Throw items everywhere. Release five Pokémon from their Pokéballs in a split second. Play coin battles with eight people. Go crazy. I can’t wait for Dec 7 so we can all finally get our hands on the full version of this smashterpiece.
Thanks for checking out our Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Preview on CoG. What do you think about the changes and improvements made to the new Smash Bros. game? Let us know in the comments or on social media. While you’re here, stick around a while and check out the rest of our Super Smash Bros. Ultimate coverage and our coverage of the rest of the gaming universe.
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Omar is an Editor at Culture of Gaming. He started his covering gaming back in late 2014 and has written for a handful of publications since then. Nintendo is his field of expertise, but he has been seen dabbling in PlayStation and PC gaming as well. Follow him on Twitter for dry humor and pictures of his cat, Jiji.