The Smash Ultimate demo tour finally made its way to a Colorado Best Buy. As popular as the event was, the brief gameplay I was able to experience was well worth the wait.
Update: Another demo is coming to Best Buy, potentially with a larger roster.
The Smash Ultimate demo only being at certain Best Buys across the country for very short stints feels like we’re being cheated, but it also makes for great publicity.
Arriving at the event, I was greeted by event employees under a themed booth tent.
They offered an exclusive poster and some buttons by using your My Nintendo QR code to check in. What a fun free perk!
I arrived about three hours after the demo event started on a Saturday morning at the end of September, but the line moved very quickly. While the line was around the corner of the building, this was only because they didn’t want to have eventgoers interrupting the casual shopping crowd by lining up inside.
While waiting in the reasonable 45-minute line, an event employee was offering free wristbands that would enter players into a 6 P.M. “exhibition,” of which winning the 1 v 1 tournament yielded an exclusive Smash Ultimate hat as the first place prize.
When it was my group’s turn to enter the store, we were guided by an employee to the video game section toward the back. As we got closer to the demo’s setup, it became clear that Best Buy learned a lot from the horrifying six-hour waits for the Smash 4 demo. There were eight Smash Ultimate demo setups, each with four controllers attached to a Nintendo Switch.
They were only taking four players at a time, no more, no less, meaning that unfortunately, my group of three was split up, two of us with the two other players that were in front of us in line. The event was buzzing and needed to keep moving along, making this something that probably couldn’t have been avoided, especially at the excellent pace that they were running the Smash Ultimate demo.
You were given two timed matches to play with your three comrades. The matches were timed at a generous two minutes and thirty seconds, as opposed to the standard two minute flat matches of Smash 4‘s online battles.
You weren’t able to make a tag, which was probably a good thing for a family-friendly event such as this. The option to turn the standard battle into a team battle was available, but the event employee overlooking our match informed us that team battles were not allowed; this was a shame, and I don’t quite see why team battles were banned from the event. Why have them in the demo build as a selectable option in the first place?
During my limited time playing the demo, I was able to fight as Zelda and Sheik from The Legend of Zelda series. Zelda is in her A Link Between Worlds alt this time around, which did take some time getting used to.
Zelda plays great in this game. Matter of fact, Zelda is easily the best she has ever been in any of the Smash games, by far. There is no way Hyrule’s princess will stay in the low tiers this game. Dare I say it, she may even end up in mid to high tier! She’s faster, hits harder, has a LOT quicker free-fall control after her up-B, and her Phantom has been undeniably improved. I was able to live to 170% with relative ease as her, and I didn’t die even once in the entire match. She’s just that good in Smash Ultimate.
I’ve often heard that the game’s physics are easily compared to “untying a balloon’s knot and watching it zoom across the room.” That statement couldn’t be any truer. In all of the Smash games, it can be hard to follow your character in a four-player battle, especially when items are turned on (items were on by default with no option to turn them off). I would sometimes lose where I was because an assist trophy or Pokémon was making a ruckus. I died as Sheik in the Onett stage, and even looking back at the footage, I’m still not sure if it was a bomb-omb, racing car, or something else entirely, as myself and another player seemed to instantly evaporate. Odd.
I’ll include my gameplay of both matches, but be forewarned: the Best Buy employee filming it for me was very busy, and wasn’t able to pay attention to where he was holding the camera (which is very understandable, as he had to monitor two ongoing four-player battles on his own).
Sheik may have better kill power in the final build. I’m eager to see if she finally has a kill-throw, as her not having one at even Sudden Death percents in Smash 4 was crippling to her fighting potency. I was able to take out opponents in the 80-90% range with a well-timed up-smash, which felt a lot sooner than she was able to do so in Smash 4.
After my group played the two Smash Ultimate demo matches, we were ushered out of the way for other players to hop on in. The thrill and the rush that I felt after finally getting my hands on the upcoming Smash Bros. was out of this world.
You’ve done it, Nintendo. In only making the Smash Ultimate demo available in such brief stints, you’ve made it so that the whole world is clamoring for more. Will this be the most popular Smash amongst casual and professional fans? If I were a betting man, I’d say that things are certainly looking that way.
Smash Ultimate releases for the Nintendo Switch this December 7.