Super Smash Bros Ultimate Direct Reveals New Characters, Spirits Mode and More!
Earlier today, Nintendo aired a new Nintendo Direct presentation for Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Clocking it at 40 minutes in length or so, this presentation included information on every last member of the roster, plus all manner of modes, extras and side stories available in the title.
And as per usual with these things, we’ve decided to give our thoughts on the whole affair. So here’s the presentation in its entirely in case you missed anything:
As well as our thoughts on the entire thing, in recap form. Sitting back comfortably? Good, it’s time to delve into Super Smash Bros Ultimate’s final presentation, piece by piece…
our thoughts on the presentation, or just read a quick recap of everything announced in it.
Starting with the last two playable characters. Yep, as made clearly very shortly into the presentation, this Direct was going to be last time Nintendo announced new fighters for Super Smash Bros Ultimate, at least outside of the DLC.
But there are no surprises in this line up, since the final two fighters were two characters predicted by almost half the internet. Namely, Ken from Street Fighter and Incineroar from Pokémon Sun and Moon:
They’re about what you’d expect really, and in our own opinions, pretty decent choices for newcomers overall. After all, Ken is almost always present alongside Ryu in crossover games, so having him as an echo fighter seems like a logical move.
Meanwhile, despite Incineroar not really being the most popular Pokémon in the world (or heck, one with any previous spin off appearances under that belt), he makes a lot of sense in Super Smash Bros regardless. I mean, he’s a wrestling heel. His whole gimmick and moveset revolves around using wrestling moves with fire themes.
That makes him ideal for a fighting game like this, and makes for a nice contrast to Greninja, another Dark type starter Pokémon introduced in Super Smash Bros for 3DS/Wii U.
Either way, they’re both decent enough characters and both act exactly as you’d expect them to, so let’s move onto something else.
Aka the Spirits mode thing, which is in an interesting beast in of itself. Put simply, it’s what you get if you mix adventure mode (or the Subspace Emissary) into a blender along with classic mode and the trophy collecting from the earlier games.
Or more precisely, it covers two connected modes with the same name. The trophy replacement has you collect characters from throughout Nintendo’s history and use their abilities to power up your fighters in battle. For example, collecting Cappy from Super Mario Odyssey gets you increased throwing power, and Princess Shokora from the Wario Land series gives you the Super Leaf effect in battle. Basically, in that sense it’s kinda like the stickers from Brawl mixed with the upgrades from the last game’s Smash Run mode.
But it’s not just that. No, these spirits apparently come in multiple ranks, with novices being the weakest and legends being the most powerful. It’s not shown exactly how these ranks are chosen (other than Mouser being a weak example and Dry Bowser being a tough one), but presumably the more popular characters are rarer and act as legendary versions here.
And the system has a few more features there too. For one thing, you can also now level up these spirits, as well as ‘free them’ to the real world in exchange for orbs that can be used to get new, more powerful ones. This training can be done in a dojo mode, or by feeding them special food to power them up.
It’s an interesting addition overall, and it adds a type of Pokémon esque collectathon gameplay to the Smash Bros formula.
However, their uses don’t just end there. No, they also somehow tie into the new story mode for the game too.
Because unlike Super Smash Bros for 3DS and Wii U, Ultimate wisely includes an adventure mode in its experience. This time, it also revolves around a being known as Galeem, also known as the ‘Ultimate Enemy’ in game. This being somehow wipes out all the original cast except for Kirby, and uses captive spirits to create brainwashed dark versions of them.
Thus it falls to Kirby (and every other character unlocked along the way) to battle through various stages (including battles with possessed characters, fights with bosses like Galleom from Brawl and other types of stages) in a quest to power themselves up and gain enough spirits to take down Galeem. It’s a neat concept, and based on the map, likely one with enough content to last a while too.
Here’s the intro trailer for the mode:
In addition to a full version of the haunting music used in the trailer (apparently known as Lifelight according to the YouTube description):
Either way, despite being the main focus, the new characters and Spirits mode are not the only additions showcased in the video. No, DLC was a focus too.
And according to the Direct, this comes in a similar DLC pack format to the last game. You get five DLC packs, each of which contain one character, one stage and a handful of songs. They retail at $5.99 each, with a Fighter’s Pass that lets you get all of them on release going for $24.99. It’s admittedly a tad pricey, but perhaps understandable given that every included character will be a fully-fledged newcomer rather than an echo fighter.
Separate from these packs, they also revealed that a new fighter was going to be added shortly after the game came out, with anyone who pre ordered it getting it for free. But it wasn’t one people expected. Nope, it was…
A Piranha Plant
Yup, a literal Piranha Plant from the Mario series. That could somehow move around on its own and change into other types of Piranha Plants to attack. Here’s a video showing this thing in action:
We’re honestly not sure what to think about it to be honest. On the one hand, we can safely say this is a newcomer that literally no one wanted or expected, so its inclusion is utterly baffling in every way. Why a Piranha Plant over a Goomba, Koopa or even Toad?
There’s no logic there, and it seems like it came really far out of left field as a result.
Yet at the same time though… there is a certain amount of charm here. It’s got an interesting moveset referencing everything for Fire Piranha Plants to Ptooies, has a design and setup unlike absolutely anyone else in the game, and it even transforms into Petey Piranha for a Final Smash (complete with cages to trap hapless opponents). In that sense, it’s a bizarre inclusion, but probably one in line with Duck Hunt, Villager, Ice Climbers and Mr Game & Watch in the ‘yes Sakurai actually went there’ category.
So it’s an odd choice, but perhaps not the worst one in the world.
Other new additions to the game include:
- A new online ranking system (Global Smash Power), where your rank is the number of players in the world you’re better than. So if you’re in the hundreds of thousands/millions, that means you’re basically a pro player.
- Related to the above, an extra online vs mode called Elite Battles is included too. This is unlocked when you get a good enough GSP score, and pits you against other great players online.
- Background matchmaking is in too. So if you’re looking for a match, you can mess around in other modes (like training) while waiting for the game to find you an opponent).
- As are Smash Tags. These are custom tags you can set for yourself to show people online, and people who beat you get their own version of your tag. This lets them show off who they’ve defeated, as well as sell the tags for in game coins.
- Outside of online, the obvious replay sharing features exist as well. You can share pictures and videos online with various quality settings.
- Plus,you can also give characters more specific handicaps and balance tweaks too. So if you think Bayonetta is too powerful, you can nerf her so her attack is about 50% of what it’d usually be, while making your favourite twice as powerful.
- A smartphone app called Smash World is also coming, which lets you chat with opponents in battles, as well as share replays and data. No, we have no idea why they created a second app specifically for this game either, but apparently using the Switch Online one just wouldn’t do for Smash Bros Ultimate.
- Finally, the usual amiibo are being released for the various extra characters too. Hence for anyone annoyed their favourite didn’t get one due to not being in Smash Bros 4, well you can rest easy there. Everyone is getting an amiibo, from Ridley to K Rool to Isabelle and Incineroar. As expected, these can also be powered up by the spirits you collect in the main game.
So that’s all the Smash Bros Ultimate features revealed in the Direct. There’s a fair bit there, and it’s quite clear that Sakurai and Nintendo really did put their all into this one, making Ultimate something that somehow adds even more to the Smash formula than every title before it. If you’re for the ‘best Nintendo game ever’, this one certainly looks like it could fit the bill.
But what do you think about it all? Are you happy with the final newcomers, the new Spirits mode and the various other tweaks and additions Nintendo brought to the table here?
Or are there any aspects you wish were added, changed or removed entirely?
Tell us your thoughts on the matter (and more) here in the comments, over at the Gaming Latest forums or on social media today!