Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is amazing. Let’s just get that out of the way.
I’ve put hundreds of hours into the fighter and it’s already one of my top games of the decade. This time around, Sakurai really tried to include just about every customization option we could think of. But, with every new option added, he took something out. For every new level of customization, there was another aspect they overlooked. Frankly, there are a ton of quality of life changes that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate needs.
These are all absurdly small nitpicks in the grand scheme of things, but when it comes to a fighting game, these details matters. Hopefully, I’m not alone in these complaints (though I don’t think I am).
Without further ado, let’s get to the whining.
No quick reselect in online
Much of the online ecosystem in Smash Bros. Ultimate is a bit, well, basic. Nintendo doesn’t have a great online infrastructure yet and previous Smash titles aren’t great examples either. But, still, I can’t believe there’s no quick switch option in Quickplay. Meaning, there is no way to switch characters before rematching or re-searching.
Each time, you’ve got the 5-10 seconds of loading into the character select, then another 5-10 seconds while it finds another match, then an additional 20-30 in the training room while you wait for the match to start. Overall about a minute of waiting, which isn’t awful. But, if you like to play a lot of different characters, it gets annoying, fast.
No Big Battlefield preset
Smash Bros. Ultimate is a party game. Sure I play it competitively and I know the “frame-data” offhand like a dweeb, but it’s intended to be played with friends, purely for fun. But, when my friends and I get together, there are more than 4 of us. Which, means our options for non-frustrating stages with room for all of us suddenly shrinks tenfold.
Either we’ve got to pick Big Battlefield over and over, or one of the few larger stages without some weird gimmick. I know having both an Omega and Battlefield variant for each stage is already more than we expected, but when playing with more than four players, having a Big Battlefield variant option would make it way less chaotic for bigger groups of people.
No replay auto-save
I’m sure people who make online content are already used to this, but I hate that you have to manually save a replay in Smash Bros. Ultimate. So many times I had an amazing game that I would love to save, only to have it be gone forever. All because we all mashed through the results screen excited for the next game. There really should just be an auto-save of the last couple of games. It wouldn’t take up much space.
For example, if the replay function automatically held onto the most recent, say, three matches you played. That way, if you forgot or decided later you wanted to save a replay, you could easily snag it before it’s overwritten. This is something most games with a replay function have done for years. Though, once again a minuscule complaint, it’s one I find myself frustrated with often.
No “rotation off” option in Battle Arenas
Probably my least favorite part of the online is the Battle Arenas. I love them mechanically, of course, it’s how I play with my friends most of the time. But man, oh man, does it need the option to turn off the Rotation feature. Yes, in a fully filled Arena, this rotation system helps out. But, if you’re playing with two to four friends, all it means is that at the end of every match, you all have to wait while it arbitrarily realizes there is no one to switch in, which takes about five seconds each time.
It gets incredibly frustrating. Just imagine if you could turn it off. That after every amazing match it just brings you back to character select, so you can get right back into it immediately. What a world that would be.
No additional online co-op modes
Smash Bros. Ultimate is meant to be played with friends. Its original intention is to be brought to a social gathering, where everyone can play. So why is it that there are so few ways to play with even two people? Sure you can play Classic Mode with a friend, but only on the same system. And yeah, you can do Battle Arenas, but only over online, not in any sort of mixed capacity. Remember Smashdown? The new mode which a fresh new gimmick? Yeah, that’s only an option for people playing on the same system, can’t do it online.
It just feels like there are many missed opportunities. People should be able to play all the modes, with all the variations, no matter what. No matter if it’s online, on the same system, or even multiple systems in the same house. That should be the priority with Super Smash Bros.
Did I forget anything? Am I just being a baby? Let me know down below.
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Writer, Illustrator, Graphic Designer, and “geek culture” aficionado. Jake B is an avid art lover based in San Francisco, California who has been hooked on video games and animation since he was just a wee lad. As one of those so-called “creative types” Jake obsesses over art in any medium, whether it’s video games, cartoons, or anime. Ask him about any artist, they’re probably already in his bookmarks. Gaming is one of his biggest passions, and an industry he takes seriously.