Nintendo's biggest game of 2018 is getting much better as we move into 2019
- Nintendo's biggest game of 2018 is available now: "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" is the latest entry in the long-running fighting game series, and the first on Nintendo's Switch.
- The new game is already being heralded as the best in the series, and it's deserved; the game is excellent.
- "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" is the first major game release with online multiplayer since Nintendo launched its paid service, Nintendo Switch Online, in September. It costs $20 per year and is required for online play.
The biggest Nintendo game of 2018 is, unsurprisingly, an overwhelmingly good game.
"Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" is a massive, sprawling encyclopedia of gaming history. At its heart, the "Smash Bros." series is about Nintendo characters fighting to the death."Ultimate" is essentially a fighting game, but it contains so, so much more than that: A 700-plus list of songs spanning three decades of games; a surprisingly deep and expansive single-player campaign; a traditional fighting game "story" mode for each of its 70-plus characters; and, notably for this piece, an expanded online multiplayer section.
Nintendo launched a paid online service in September, dubbed Nintendo Switch Online, which is required for online play. "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" is the first major Nintendo release since that service launched, and it has a major online component.
Speaking generously, that online component experienced major hiccups around launch. But in the weeks since - and a handful of updates later - the online portion of "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" has become a sterling example of what Nintendo's online experience can be.
Here's what I mean: