– Three, two. – Let’s-a go! – One, go! – Mario duking it out against Final Fantasy VII’s Cloud on a battlefield from Metal Gear Solid is a weird, wonderful sight that only the Smash Bros. series can deliver, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is undoubtedly Smash Bros. done right and done bigger than ever before. With a staggering 74 fighters, 108 stages, 1,300 Spirit characters to collect, and an epic Adventure Mode that took me over 20 hours to beat, Ultimate is the sequel I’ve been waiting years for. With matches of up to eight players, this is one of the best party games our there. (men grunt) (gunshots fire) (Richter grunts) (upbeat, video game music) Smash Bros. has always been a series that successfully has it both ways, allowing highly skilled competitive fights to coexist with chaotic, button-mashing brawls full of items and exciting Final Smash finishers.Combine that with recognizable characters from all over gaming, and Smash Bros. stands out as a perfect digital action figure toy box. It has a rare accessibility thanks to series’s signature damage system, which replaces a traditional health bar with a damage percentage that indicates how vulnerable you are to being launched off the stage. – Game! – That alleviates that oppressive feeling of being low on health that can make losing matches feel so un-fun in other fighting games. The simplified move inputs also make it easier for anyone to pick up and immediately enjoy Smash Bros. While dodges, shields, and a veritable ballet of mid-air strategy provide a deep well of technical nuance to those interested in upping their game. No matter your preference, both styles of player are well loved and thriving in Smash Bros., and Ultimate’s new customizable rule sets make it even easier, if a little clunky, to switch between them. (upbeat music) Ultimate earns its name by ambitiously including every single fighter in the almost 20 year history of Smash Bros., along with 11 totally new ones that are creative additions to the roster. The diverse cast of characters from all corners of gaming offers real choice and variety with a small character like Pikachu feeling wildly different from a heavier one like Bowser.(punches crunch) (Bowser thumps) None of the new fighters reinvent the Smash Bros. wheel, but Simon Belmont and King K. Rool’s abilities stand out to me as being full of flavor and extremely fun to fight with. Watching my collection of characters fill up as I unlock them with friends was genuinely exciting, and that does take awhile since you only start with eight. In general, Ultimate’s fighters feel slightly faster and a lot harder hitting than in previous Smash Bros. games. There’s often less ambiguity about whether or not a hit will turn into a K.O., and an optional radar will even show you where you are when you’re offscreen. If only two fighters remain, an epic new freeze frame effect triggers when you land a K.O.Hit, making those big smash attacks even more satisfying. (upbeat video game music) (lightning cracks) – Game! – These aren’t massive tweaks from the last Smash Bros., but they make Ultimate feel punchier over all. A great new addition is the optional Stage Morph feature, which transitions you from level to another mid-fight. It’s a fantastic way to see more of Ultimate’s immense pool of stages, which feels comprehensive and vast. There are so many, it can actually be hard to find one you’re looking for since there’s no way to sort them. It’s too bad only four of them are brand new, especially when bad stages like Pac-Land make a return, but Melee levels like Corneria and Fourside have new visuals that look amazing. (upbeat video game music) (characters smashing) A new system called Spirits makes up the bulk of Ultimate’s consistently amusing single player Adventure Mode, World of Light. It’s surprisingly long with hundreds of Spirits to collect, each based on a unique character from another game with a cleverly-crafted fight themed around them.Some are funny, like Snorlax being a giant, gray K. Rool who doesn’t move an inch. (Kirby punches) Others are extremely challenging, like Pauline being a red Princess Peach protected by a hammer-wielding Mario and a giant Donkey Kong on his classic stage. All these Spirits are scattered around a lovely 2D world map and can be leveled up and equipped to buff your fighters. Seeing what a Spirit fight had in store never stopped being novel, but I had enough strong Spirits and skills to beat most of them about 10 hours into World of Light, making my strategies stagnant for the following 14. It got same-y fast, with the exception being some truly exciting dungeon-style areas, including an awesome one modeled after a Street Fighter World Tour. It’s a shame it’s such a slog to reach the end because World of Light’s last hour is an epic finale that makes the grind worth it.I haven’t even had a chance to gush about the amazing music selection, or Classic Mode’s new side-scrolling platformer challenge, or all the tiny but impactful tweaks to Final Smashes. (wind gushes) (Bowser punches) – Victory! (upbeat, victorious music) – Ultimate is filled to the absolute brim with stuff to play, fight, and unlock, and you can read my full thoughts on all those things and more in our written review over at IGN.com. But the short version is that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate lives up to its name, offering the biggest and most comprehensive game in the series to date. Its overwhelming amount content might’ve benefited from separating the wheat from the chaffed to be more consistently good, but between the hundreds of Spirits I’ve yet to see and the thousands of multi-player matches I’m surely going to fight, I’ll be playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for a long time to come. For more on Super Smash Bros., watch our video of every Final Smash in Ultimate, or our list of the top 25 characters from the previous games, and for everything else, keep it right here on IGN.(Ridley screeches) (upbeat, victorious music) .