Playing Smash Ultimate in 2021. Is it Still Fun?
The game is 2+ years old, and the hype around it is obviously not at its peak. Professional players and dedicated fans are still deeply involved in those fighting matches, perfecting their skills and experimenting with new DLC characters. But what about the army of casual players?
What if you haven’t been playing SSBU for quite a few months? Is it a good time to start right now? What if you still haven’t purchased the game? Is it ok to do so?
Late to the party
I, personally, started playing Smash Ultimate when the general fuss around it was mostly over, in 2020. The industry delivers such a large variety of games that it’s hard to keep the attention of the community for a long time. Quite soon after the release, many players become interested in trying out something new and exciting.
I enjoyed my initial period with the game, and I still love it. Would I be the same happy with those Nintendo fights if I started in 2021?
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a huge game. It has at least two different layers: single-player and multiplayer modes. Let’s talk about them separately.
Yep, everything is great with this part, and we have almost nothing to discuss here. Single-player games keep being fun and interesting many years after their release. The technology development did not make any breathtaking jump since the release of Smash (at least on Nintendo’s side). You can pick up the game right now and experience the same joy of saving the world in the World of Light story mode or defeating the series of opponents in the Classic Mode.
Things here become much more controversial.
On the one hand, the fanbase of this game (and the whole series) is pretty impressive. Of course, many (so many) people stopped playing Smash on a regular basis and enjoy many other gaming universes. Still, you will not have problems starting a multiplayer match.
On the other hand, most of the people in the game already have significant experience. You jump into matchmaking and simply get destroyed by those who play Smash for quite a while.
Theoretically, the game connects players of relatively the same level. Practically? It’s not always possible. This issue arises for many multiplayer games that lose the mass of casual players — they also lose a significant part of their accessibility.
Nintendo’s Support — Myth or Reality
Smash Bros. is one of the biggest franchises for Nintendo. They obviously have profit in releasing DLC characters and supporting the fun around their top-selling product.
Smash Ultimate characters provide players with such a large variety of fighting styles, so new fighters are not actually needed to make the game technically better. Those newcomers to the roster link Smash with new franchises and bring their fans to the battle. Also, each DLC character is a refreshing shake for the active community. Those who have not been playing for some period suddenly feel motivated to return and mess with that guy/girl/creature.
DLC fighters create waves of the increased player base, and the main issue of starting your Smash experience in 2021 disappears (for a while).
Actually, these waves remain strong for quite a long time. If you decide to start after the addition of Sephiroth, Pyra/Mythra, Kazuya, or that one unknown character, you are safe to adapt to the Smash multiplayer environment before the activity of casual players ceases again.
The whole of 2021 has a few of those waves. But we are already on the stage of expecting the last DLC character, and after that this type of Nintendo’s support will disappear. Probably, 2021 is the last great chance to join Smash.
Beyond the release of additional content, Nintendo does almost nothing to properly support the game — for both competitive and casual communities. No big official events are planned for 2021. Unlike Capcom that organizes Pro Tour for Street Fighter V and Bandai Namco that has online tournaments for Tekken 7 and Dragon Ball FighterZ, Nintendo seems to be not very interested in supporting the professional competitive aspect of SSBU.
Why should beginners care about pro events? Professional players create miracles on the fighting grounds. Watching them competing on the top level is a great boost of motivation to play the game — it works for so many people. Supporting esports is an effective way to keep the community alive and to always have players of different skill levels in online matchmaking. In this aspect, Smash Ultimate definitely lost to competitors (such as Brawlhalla).
The game is fun! Just feel its beat
Ok, the game is still in good shape for newcomers (despite losing the momentum). But what if you want to make your start in this game / return to it as smooth as possible. Here are a few pieces of practical advice.
- Enjoy the single-player mode
Many newcomers tend to dive into multiplayer fights right after starting their experience in Smash. In fact, the game takes all the effort to push players into the Story and Classic modes — it’s how you unlock new fighters.
Single-player fights in Smash help to learn the basics and get adapted to the fights before entering the wild zone of multiplayer. You will not feel like an absolute beginner and will be able to fully enjoy the fights, even at this stage of the game’s lifespan.
It’s not like you have to do chores or something. Those modes are ever so fun, don’t ignore them.
- Don’t take losses too seriously
No one who plays Smash (or any other fighting game) is able to avoid losses. It’s part of the experience. And even more, it’s part of you growing as a player.
You can learn more by losing to a strong opponent than by defeating someone with not very good skills. But if you take such losses seriously, you risk ending with no motivation to start a new match and use your fresh experience for obtaining those glorious victories.
Smash is full of strong players. The further we go from its release, the fewer newcomers appear in multiplayer fights. Getting a match where you are literally destroyed is… not fun. But don’t avoid the other, actually fun aspect of Smash only because of that.
- Play Smash with friends
Like the single-player modes, this option can’t stop being fun (you can play the original Smash 64 and really enjoy it if you have someone to share this experience with).
It’s both a way to get the max from the game and to develop your fighting skills. Thus, you will be ready to rush into online multiplayer.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate eventually will become part of the gaming history. The developers will start working on a new iteration, and gamers will enjoy significantly updated matches — probably on a new Nintendo console.
The game is not too far away from this inevitable scenario, but it’s certainly fun and enjoyable. Hopefully, this article removed your doubts, and you will be able to join the Smash party. See you in the fights!