A Smash of Brothers: Ranking the DLC Characters of Super Smash Brothers Ultimate

Super Smash Brothers has had a long and storied history, with each game introducing at least one character that made most of its fans fairly confused. In Super Smash Brothers, Ness filled that role. Melee saw not only the Ice Climbers but also Doctor Mario and Mister Game & Watch. Brawl introduced characters from other companies, like Sonic the Hedgehog and Solid Snake, with R.O.B. being this game’s oddball addition. The fourth entries into the series brought us Duck Hunt and the Wii Fit Trainer, but more importantly, it introduced DLC to the series.

This, in itself, is hardly a surprise. The only way you could theoretically add characters to the original game would be through a Sonic & Knuckles lock-on cartridge while the GameCube and Wii hardly took full advantage of their internet connections. Ultimate really took this and ran with it, having introduced an ever-increasing amount of non-playable token cameos called Spirits since its release. More importantly, they’ve rolled out nine DLC characters since the game’s release in 2018 and as you could probably guess from this article’s title I’m going to rank all of them.

It’s important to note that this is less an evaluation of each fighter’s playability and more just how I personally feel about each one, and only me. Let’s go from favorite to Steve from Minecraft.

  1. BANJO-KAZOOIE
Look at the horrible color scheme I chose for this, what was I thinking?

SERIES OF ORIGIN: Banjo-Kazooie (well, technically Diddy Kong Racing)

Out of all of Ultimate‘s DLC characters, Banjo-Kazooie has been the only one whose exclusion before now seemed wrong. On the one hand, the pair had two of the Nintendo 64’s most well-remembered games. On the other, the company that birthed them was bought out by one of Nintendo’s competitors and had one more mediocre game before lapsing into nothingness. They’re here now, though, and while it’s anybody’s guess what’ll happen to them after this we can enjoy them while they’re here. It’s nice to see them here. It’s right to see them here, despite what I’ve said before.

2. MIN MIN

She can change arms! I have little idea what effect this has on anything, I haven’t played with her that much.

SERIES OF ORIGIN: ARMS

Nintendo has had two major IP additions over the past two console generations (if one counts the Wii U as its own generation): Splatoon and ARMS. I’ve never played either one. Splatoon seems fun but I’m led to understand that ARMS requires you to use the Joy-cons’ motion controls and there’s few things I like less. (See bottom of this list) That said, I do like the character designs and was holding out hope that Min Min would be the ARMS characters to make the jump to a game without gimmicky controls. Please note I have done little to follow up on whether or not ARMS uses motion controls and have no plans to do so.

3. HERO

I think this is the male protagonist from the fourth game?

SERIES OF ORIGIN: Dragon Quest/Warrior

The Dragon Quest games have always struck me as Final Fantasy‘s weird cousin, the one whose interests largely align with yours yet there’s something just off about them which makes them extremely appealing or extremely off-putting depending on who you ask. I, for one, enjoy the series and appreciate that it seems to have kept the core menu-based combat in tact while Final Fantasy is off doing whatever it is that series is doing now. The Hero’s major claim to fame is his down-B move, which opens a randomized list of Dragon Quest spells which adds a bit of zest to any encounter with him to both cheers and jeers. My only problem with him is that all of his alts are recolors of his male avatars, and while not every game had the option to play as a female character, two of the represented games did so it would have been nice to see that reflected in the character.

4. BYLETH

Dorothea in the back, checking out Byleth

SERIES OF ORIGIN: Fire Emblem

We’ve discussed Byleth, and while I’m sure every single person is sick of how many Fire Emblem characters are in this game, my feelings have softened on Byleth’s inclusion quite a bit. A lot of this might be because I’ve actually played Fire Emblem Three Houses since then and found it quite enjoyable. They also have enough move variation to not simply be another Marth, which is welcome, though one hopes that there’s no more Fire Emblem characters in Ultimate.

5. SEPHIROTH

“HAVE YOU SEEN MY MOMMY?”

SERIES OF ORIGIN: Final Fantasy

I have no strong feelings on Sephiroth himself. When Final Fantasy VII was released I was a firm Nintendo fanboy and so only heard about the guy through nerds trying to make people think they were tough by claiming to identify with *checks notes* an anime pretty-boy with a giant sword and mommy issues. When I finally got a PlayStation and Final Fantasy VII, some weird glitch between the console and my TV caused my screen to bounce constantly and so I developed an animosity towards Final Fantasy VII. I’ve since played through the game’s Switch port so that animosity has vanished, and while I did enjoy the game little of it had to do with Sephiroth. Honestly, if I had to choose another Square-based character to be in the game it’d be either Super Mario RPG‘s Geno or Chrono Trigger‘s Frog. If we had to have another Final Fantasy character, I would have liked Black Mage (or even Vivi from Final Fantasy IX). If we had to have another Final Fantasy VII character, I’d have chosen Tifa. So, you know, good that we have another villain but not too jazzed about Sephiroth.

6. PIRANHA PLANT

Look how far you’ve come.

SERIES OF ORIGIN: Super Mario

I hesitated to even include the Piranha Plant. It doesn’t even get its own stage, though it does have her own Palutena’s Guidance entry, and was basically a bonus character if you bought the first Fighters’ Pass. Yet here it is, in the middle of the list, neither hated nor loved by me. It’s a fun character, I guess, and fills this game’s weird character quota.

7. JOKER

STRIKE A POSE

SERIES OF ORIGIN: Persona

Joker was the first DLC character revealed after Piranha Plant and I have no strong feelings about him. I’ve played Shin Megami Tensei IV but that’s the closest I’ve come to a Persona game outside of seeing random fan works on Tumblr and whatnot. I certainly find this Joker preferable to the 2019 film of the same name.

8. TERRY BOGARD

Terry, standing in front of people more interesting than he is.

SERIES OF ORIGIN: Art of Fighting/King of Fighters/Fatal Fury

SNK got included in Ultimate and while I don’t have a lot of experience with the company, I can tell just by looking at the guy that he’s probably one of the least interesting things about any of them and I almost wrote an article about that but opted not to because it’d just be me being mean for a couple hundred words. My top choice for an SNK rep was Athena, or perhaps Mai Shiranui, which apparently makes me some kind of deviant in Sakurai’s eyes. Anyone but this guy, who is the mild sauce of characters. He is Chicken McNuggets without sauce. Vanilla frozen yogurt without toppings. Just… a guy who punches with a hat. If Sakurai wanted to put the most average everyman character SNK had into the game, he succeeded. However, I will readily admit that while the character himself basically neutralizes any interest I have in anything he’s in upon looking at him, his actual playstyle reminds me of every guy (because it was always a guy) I’ve ever met who was really good at a game and would beat you down in it before even letting you figure out how to do a punch. So he’s a boring jerk, is what I’m saying.

9. STEVE FROM MINECRAFT

Look at this bastard chomping on his meat. What a jerk.

SERIES OF ORIGIN: Minecraft

Fuck Steve.

…I apologize for that rather uncharacteristic use of profanity. My feels for Steve have not changed. They have, in fact, deepened. I started a comic based upon my animosity towards him, and he will continue to show up in that comic in order to be yelled at and forced to leave. I’ve played Minecraft since the linked article. It’s fun for a little while, though I played entirely by myself and found the vast emptiness of the open world both exhilarating and incredibly depressing, sometimes at the same time. I do appreciate how well they incorporated the game’s mechanics into the character (I’d never know you could upgrade your arsenal with the box Steve spawns with without playing the game) and have no real problems with Alex, the Enderman, or Zombie. You could probably place them above Terry, but no higher than that.

It’s just Steve.

I just hate him so much.

Anyway, that’s my article which started as a semi-serious look at the Super Smash Brother Ultimate‘s downloadable characters and devolved into me being mean about things. I’m allowed to sometimes.

Should have planned this to be in the order I put them in. Oh well.

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