Which EVP recorders use ghost adventures

Review: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a gigantic game. Nintendo has packed over 70 characters, over 100 stages and over 1000 collectibles into the latest part of the beating series, which brings some innovations with it, but also leaves old favorites behind.

Smash!

With all the big numbers, Smash doesn't forget what it does best. The main mode is again simply called “Smash” and allows you to start a game with up to eight players without much preliminary skirmish. Over 70 characters meet with their skills. In contrast to many other flogging series, this is not about learning long key sequences by heart and stringing combos together. Instead, opponents must be kicked, hit, thrown or shot off the screen with an attack.

Which character is particularly good at this and which is particularly bad is the subject of many years of discussion among fans. With his ability to stay in the air for a long time and uncomplicated but still strong attacks in his repertoire, Kirby is considered one of the most beginner-friendly characters. Mario strikes a good balance between simple attacks and more advanced techniques for countering projectiles. Characters like Ganondorf can deal powerfully, but are less agile. Shulk can switch between multiple modes, which makes him a versatile but also complicated character. Fox McCloud, on the other hand, is an all-time favorite among eSports players.

The many characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate are likely to intimidate new players in the series. To prevent this, the characters have to be unlocked one by one, which can take time. Fortunately, there are several ways to unlock new fighters like Belmont and Richter from Castlevania or Melinda from Animal Crossing.

The more than 100 stages in the game also reflect the diversity of the characters. In the “most boring” stage, the opponents fight against each other on only one level. There are also stages such as the haunted house from Luigi's mansion with the rumbling thunder in the background, a ship sailing on the open sea from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker or a charming implementation of the rudimentary graphics of a Game & Watch system. With all the chaos of the fight, the stages may fade into the background, but they play a big part in turning Smash into a playable party.

Ghosts

Smash fans often disagree, especially when it comes to choosing a fighter. But what all players will probably remember is the Smash Bros. Brawl story mode from 2008. This mode combined 2.5D platforming with the battle system of Smash and enriched it with cinematic cutscenes that even after all these years are a special event in Nintendo's long history. There is no such mode in Smash Bros. Ultimate. In the new ghost adventure, the developers want to remind you of this with a few elaborate cutscenes.

Ghosts are a completely new element to Smash. They represent buffs and status effects for the fighters, but have the shape of a video game character. There are primary and secondary spirits, they can be of different strengths and belong to different spirit families. Players who like to collect and enjoy the multitude of ghosts from sometimes bizarre video game series will have a lot of fun with this innovation. On the other hand, if you don't feel like managing the ghosts, you might be a little annoyed by them after a few hours.

The ghosts play a central role in the ghost adventure. Here an overpowering enemy has turned all characters into lifeless shells and captured their spirits. Only Kirby was able to escape the attack and now has to free spirit by spirit on a huge 2D world map. This happens in battles that have all received modifications thematically appropriate to the spirit. In the fight for the spirit of the scientist Octagon from Metal Gear Solid 4, for example, Dr. Mario to be defeated by R.O.B. is supported. Anyone who has played Metal Gear Solid 4 will immediately recognize the allusion.

Anyone who has played a lot of video games for many years will experience some charming “aha” moments here. The mode also serves as a good reminder of all the setting options in Smash. Sometimes the floor can be full of fog or lava, sometimes the frequency of the items is set to extreme, sometimes the force of gravity is particularly low and it is easier to fly out of the stage. Most of these modifiers are not new, but Ghost Adventure presents them in a new way and makes them more accessible.

But there is no real “story”. The already published epic opening sequence serves as a hook, but there are not much more epic cutscenes. Instead, the characters move on a huge 2D map with many references to video game series of all kinds. A ghost can be unlocked on ghost fields, a new fighter on combat fields. There are also dungeons on the map with simple puzzles in which more ghosts, fighters and a few bosses are waiting for the players. The bosses are introduced with a nice little sequence and the fights are traditionally played with a life bar that has to be emptied for victory.

In addition to all the fights, there are also dojos on the map that can teach the ghosts new effects, shops where ghosts and items can be bought and activities for the ghosts in which they are sent on a journey for a certain period of time (real hours) become. Because ghosts can also level up through fights and items, some of them can even transform. In addition, duplicate ghosts can be sent away for the currency ghost chips and even new ones can be summoned if you want to “sacrifice” certain ghosts for it.

So in addition to the meta-element of ghosts with their special abilities, there is also the meta-meta-element of leveling up and transforming ghosts. With over 1000 ghosts, this can be too much work even for fans, although it is not imposed. After all, “optimal” spirits can be selected automatically before each fight, even if the result of this selection can be confusing in places.

If you like to collect things and want to have a reason to play Smash on your own for a long time, you have found this reason with the ghosts. To a certain extent you have to be “satisfied” with the ghosts, since there are no more trophies to collect. Compared to the lovingly modeled 3D models, the 2D images of the ghosts are a clear downgrade, but there are well over 1000 ghosts. A worthy trade-off on paper, but still not a nice change for fans of the trophies.

Ultimate

Aside from the ghosts, Smash Bros. Ultimate is almost the ultimate culmination of the series that the title promises. The offline multiplayer has been consistently improved with new modes. Tournaments can be held, the new team matches (3v3 or 5v5) promise a whole new dynamic if you can not only use your own main (i.e. your favorite fighter). The “Smash for everyone” mode is particularly exciting. A predetermined number of rounds is played here, with the selection of fighters shrinking with each round. This mode could create a lot of excitement, especially for possible eSports formats.

In the classic mode, coordinated campaigns can be played on the fighter, in which several fights must be completed. For example, Link's typical series characters are on the opponent's list. In the end, Ganondorf is waiting with a surprise. In this mode, the difficulty level can also be set using an impressive painting. And there are the typical credits at the end. With a twist. If you need a break from collecting ghosts, you can also spend many hours playing through the individual campaigns here.

However, there is no good news for fans of the mini-games in Smash. The home run mode, in which you had to hit a punching bag as far as possible, didn't make it in Smash Bros. Ultimate. Trophy Run is also no longer available, although the mode without trophies makes little sense anyway. The lack of the stage editor is much more painful. With that you could design your own stages in earlier parts. It is to be hoped that this will be submitted with an update.

The exciting Mii fighters from the earlier part are also back. Here, individual fighters from three categories can be individually created with sets of attacks and individualized with a variety of decorative items. In the training mode, the attacks and moves can be tested with an excellent stage. In the chaotic multi-smash, either 100 Mii fighters or all other regular fighters can be defeated in a marathon smash.
The implementation of the amiibo is still a shame. These can again be trained as AI figures. You level up and learn with every game. They too can be strengthened with spirits. The system is still nice enough, but not interesting enough, and hasn't evolved enough since the Wii U part. Or maybe it's better that way so that players without amiibo don't miss too much.

The audio library deserves a special mention. Over 700 pieces of music are categorized by game series. That's over 24 hours of continuous music. Whether the well-known tracks from the Zelda series or the arcade classics from Street Fighter; everyone is here. The audio library is a dream come true and a real treasure full of nostalgia and emotions. You can even turn off the screen to keep listening to the music. The switch remains “awake” and is not in standby mode. The audio library alone could be a reason for many gamers to buy digitally so that they always have it at hand.

On-line

At the time of this review, the servers were not yet online. An experience report will be added.

What gives hope are the options “Messages” and gifts for events. Both options are not yet selectable, but give hope for long-term support as with Splatoon 2. Paid DLC has already been announced, so this support should be guaranteed.

Handheld mode

In handheld mode, there are no disadvantages to be seen with the naked eye. The battery power is also felt to be very good for the whole chaos on the screen, although technical tests by other colleagues will certainly follow.

Conclusion

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a gigantic game. There is a lot to tell and explain. A lot of good things to say, but also to mourn the lack of the 3D trophies and other smaller features. But if you leave all of this aside for a moment, Smash remains in the end. Smash, which invented a whole new kind of fighting game with its unconventional game system. Smash, which invites you on a journey through the history of video games with its staggering number of fighters, stages, items and allusions. Smash, which is still a lot of fun almost 20 years after the first part. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate does all of this with flying colors and adds an interesting new feature with the ghosts, even if they bring a little too much “work” into the game and cannot hold a candle to the unique 3D trophies of the previous parts. And even if the new single-player adventure cannot satisfy the hunger for many epic cutscenes, it still offers dozens of hours of fun to play and collect. The biggest question mark of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the online mode. This was not always optimal in the past. Now that there is a fee to play online on Switch, expectations are significantly higher. The result will have to be seen after the launch. Apart from that, the title keeps its own promise. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the ultimate love letter to video games.

Genre: Fighting Game
Developer: Nintendo
System: Nintendo Switch
Appears: 7.12.2018
Price: approx. 70 euros

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