Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for Nintendo Switch Review

Super Smash Bros. is a tentpole game in Nintendo’s catalog and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the 5th installment in the series. Nintendo threw everything it has into this series, from characters to levels. While the Nintendo Switch cannot do 4k or HDR, this game is still worth reviewing as an HD game.


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developers: Bandai Namco Studio, Sora ltd.
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Fighting
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone 10+ )
Resolution: 1080p on TV
Audio Format: Surround Sound
Release Date: December 7, 2018

Synopsis (Taken from Nintendo’s website):

“Gaming icons clash in the ultimate brawl you can play anytime, anywhere! Smash rivals off the stage as new characters Simon Belmont and King K. Rool join Inkling, Ridley, and every fighter in Super Smash Bros. history. Enjoy enhanced speed and combat at new stages based on the Castlevania series, Super Mario Odyssey, and more!”


AUDIO/VIDEO QUALITY

REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**Ratings are judged against the state of the art in contemporary games. As technology rapidly improves, standards will raise appropriately.**

Audio: 87

Dynamics: 85
Low Frequency Extension: n/a
Positional/Environmental Cues: 88
Detail/Realism: n/a

My Take:

Finding the right balance for game audio and musical score within Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has to be a difficult task. You have the custom score of this game to content with, along with the tracks from of Nintendo’s entire game catalogue. You can hear a full orchestra in one battle session and then an 8 bit track in another.

Despite the disparity in style, all tracks in the game sounded great and felt right for their respective stage. The issue comes up with the chaos on screen; the game did a decent job of trying to give each character and item their own sounds. However, when you have 8 people playing and multiple items being used simultaneously, it all gets compressed and just becomes noise. The less players you have, the better the game sounds.


Video: 92

Resolution/Clarity: 88
Black Levels: 90
Color Reproduction: 95
Compression: 92

My Take:

This game looks very good, despite being “only” SDR and HD (1080p). All the characters look great, whether they are in 3D or 2D. Since this game includes most of Nintendo’s history, there are some 8-bit characters and it was fun to look at them in 8 bit, but redone for HD. Overall, the artwork in the levels looks stunning.

There is a lot of depth to the levels with many different things happening in the background. When playing on the switch itself, I did see a significant drop in quality. Everything felt washed out. But on my Samsung Q8F, it looked bright and vibrant; the colors just popped. And even though it is not 4K, the TV’s upsampling made the graphics look detailed. It’s not in the same league as the PlayStation 4 Pro or Xbox One X but you’d be surprised how good Nintendo Switch graphics look on a large screen.


Final Thoughts:

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a tremendous amount of fun to play and the engaging graphics translate to a fun gaming experience. I think Nintendo could have solved issues with the sound if they moves to Atmos or DTS:X, it would allow all those effects to have more space and be better defined. I think Nintendo is at the pinnacle of HD gaming when it comes to graphics, which worked great on my 4K TV. I can only imagine what they do with HDR gaming.


This review was written by AVS Forum “ghost reviewer” Datsm. While he wishes to remain anonymous, credit is given where it’s due—it’s his review. Datsm put the time into playing Super Smash Bros. (it’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it) using a reference system that includes a a 75″ Samsung Q8F TV, plus a Dolby Atmos sound system with KEF R-series speakers and a Marantz AV7704 pre/pro.

Reference Review System:

KEF R700, R600, R800ds, R50, R400b
Marantz 7704
Emotiva XPA 5 and XPA 2
Nintendo Switch
Xbox One X
Playstation 4 Pro
Samsung Q8F 75″ (2018 model)


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