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Best Games Of 2018: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

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Wombo combo.

Over the next few days, we will reveal what we believe are the 10 best games of 2018, organized by release date. Then, on December 19, we will reveal which of the nominees gets to take home the coveted title of GameSpot's Game of the Year. So be sure to come back then for the big announcement, and in the meantime, follow along with all of our other end-of-the-year coverage collected in our Best of 2018 hub.

Over 70 unique characters from nearly 30 different video game franchises, with more to come. A refined combat system that is still exciting, still accessible, and still has a high skill ceiling. A number of varying modes to enjoy on your own or with others. An immense library of great video game music. There are so many wonderful things packed into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that, even in the short time between its release and our Best Of The Year discussions, it has filled us with an immense amount of joy.

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The fact that this game exists is still unprecedented. In no other game can you have Snake from Metal Gear Solid and Sonic the Hedgehog battle each other by unleashing an assortment of Pokemon. In no other game can you have Princess Peach team up with Cloud from Final Fantasy VII to take down Mega Man and Pac-Man. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate knuckles down as a celebration of the characters we love, a game where the most ridiculous of hypotheticals can be played out in a freewheeling, chaos-filled eight-player party filled with flashy special effects and cameos. It is an exuberant fireworks display of a video game.

But the reason why Smash Bros. is so enduring is because it holds strong and inspires the same kind of passion when pared down its fundamentals, too. Pure, one-on-one Smash battles still make for brisk, exciting experiences that are easy to enjoy. Ultimate is still an accessible game--three buttons and basic directional inputs are all you need to internalize the fundamentals of its dozens of characters, a fast-track to then being able to appreciate and understand the finer details and dynamics of play.

It's a game that puts huge smiles on our faces, whether we're in it for fun, for glory, or just enjoying it from afar.

And Ultimate's small but meaningful adjustments continue to improve it, too. Higher damage outputs, a reduced focus on unimaginative defense, and more dramatic visual feedback, among other things, make its core fighting more thrilling. Even with the purest, most utilitarian battle rules, there's an infectious excitement Smash matches induce, making it difficult to resist yelling in elation or dismay when something tremendous happens.

There's more to Ultimate, of course--a lengthy campaign, various modes, collectibles that double as a progression system, an all-encompassing streak of thoughtful homage--but all of those things are extra layers on top the already robust and captivating foundation of a game. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate would be nothing without the strength of its gigantic character roster, the accessible complexity of its fighting system, and its vibrant approachable facade. It's a game that puts huge smiles on our faces, whether we're in it for fun, for glory, or just enjoying it from afar. Come one, come all. Everyone is here.

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Edmond Tran

Editor / Senior Video Producer for GameSpot in Australia. Token Asian.

Best Games of 2018

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