Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Fighters Pass Vol. 2 (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Az Elias 20.10.2021 4

Review for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Fighters Pass Vol. 2 on Nintendo Switch

Surely, there is no other fighting game out there that generates the level of hype for character reveals than Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. series. It was the case for every hotly anticipated DLC character in the previous Fighters Pass, and it has absolutely been the case for Fighters Pass Vol. 2, which now sees its sixth and final character released at last. Is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's second batch of additional fighters as good as the first?

It is the end of another era in the Super Smash Bros. universe, but these additions will keep many fans brawling for years to come, especially given Nintendo pulled it out of the bag regarding some highly requested fan favourites for this final round of DLC. In release order, then, here's a rundown of each additional fighter that debuts in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's second Fighters Pass.

Nintendo clearly wanted to shine some light onto one of its newest IPs, which released on the Switch during the console's first year on sale. ARMS, being a unique fighting game of its own, introduces Min Min, an athletic ramen-obsessed female that uses her spiralling long arms to attack her opponents, just as in the game she comes from. Although ARMS has an array of mascots to choose from, Min Min is a solid choice and becomes the first Chinese fighter in the game.

Attacking foes from a distance with her extendable arms, this versatile character's play style puts emphasis on keeping her opponents at, well, arm's length. By changing her right fist midbattle, each one is designed to either inflict heavy damage, reach wider angles, or fire projectiles. Min Min is a tricky character to use, and with hitboxes being linked to her fists, it can be a problem for players that miss their attacks, with Min Min being vulnerable as a result. Careful timing is required to get the best out of her.

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Next up, one of the most popular games in the world is represented with a surprise character. Minecraft's Steve, in all his blocky form, pickaxes his way into the roster, with female counterpart Alex functioning the same and selectable from the costume change menu. Even baddies Enderman and Zombie are alternate characters to be chosen if desired, making for a welcome selection of four different Minecraft bodies. The pixelated forms of this group of characters arguably looks out of place among the rest of the cast, but when you have Mr. Game & Watch as a mainstay since Melee, now, it's hard to say they don't fit in. Anything goes in Smash. It is also worth noting that Steve is the second Microsoft character following the entry of Banjo and Kazooie.

Steve and Alex are incredibly distinctive fighters among the cast, incorporating the mining mechanic that is a key part of Minecraft itself. Mining materials on stages banks them in storage, and the resources can then be used to make weapons stronger by repairing or creating new ones, or crafting blocks that can be placed all over the stage to hinder opponents or gain access to one of the best recovery options in the game. Blocks and TNT are extremely handy edgeguarding tools, while the Minecart side special is another powerful move that can also aid in great recovery.

Steve, Alex and the other two are extremely limited in their mobility, however, being some of the slowest characters in the line-up, with poor aerial and crouching skills. It will take a lot of dedication to make the most of this character, and their unique moveset might just be too much for some to attempt to learn.

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Following the disappointing use of the Final Fantasy VII series and its total lack of new music, Spirits, or presence in the World of Light story mode for Cloud in the main game, anyone would think Square Enix wasn't playing ball back then and that the spiky-headed mercenary must have been who Sakurai once referred to when he said all past characters returning almost didn't happen. It would make a lot of sense.

What a shock, then, to see that Cloud's nemesis, the One-Winged Angel himself, Sephiroth, swoops into the fray, looking as menacing and sexy as ever, with that ridiculously long Masamune blade and black leather outfit (and a shirtless version thrown in for good measure). As expected with a sword as long as his, Sephiroth excels at ranged combat and has various sweet spots that players will want to strike their opponents with in order to do increased damage (much like Marth and Roy).

His other unique trait is entering into Winged Form when enough damage has been taken, granting Sephiroth stat buffs, including increased speed and damage output. The fact that entering this bonus state means taking hits can be a big downside for Sephiroth, although may be of benefit to less skilled players. He isn't great up close and personal, either, and his tall stature and light weight can see him getting caught by one too many punches. Final Fantasy VII fans will love his Final Smash, though.

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With Rex already a Mii outfit, it was unlikely he was going to be the potential Xenoblade Chronicles 2 rep - and that proves to be the case, as the duo Pyra and Mythra join as switchable characters. Much in the same way Zelda used to transform to her Sheik form in the past, Pyra and Mythra can change places with a press of Down+B in battle, where each one's unique moves can be used depending on the situation.

Pyra is the slower yet stronger of the pairing, and as such, Mythra is necessary to pile on the pressure by utilising her incredible speed and quick attacks. Mythra not being able to finish foes off as well as her counterpart, however, means Pyra should be switched in, where her superior power can KO opponents all the easier. Although both sword users, their differences make for a compelling selection for battles, and when played effectively, the duo can be a tough test for anyone daring to stand against them.

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Given Bandai Namco's close relationship with Nintendo and having worked on this game alongside director Sakurai's Sora Ltd, it is no surprise to learn that Kazuya Mishima of Tekken fame becomes a playable Smash character. Perhaps one of the more boring additions of the pack, but Kazuya will have his fans, especially since he is a challenging fighter that Tekken fans may get a real kick out of mastering.

He is on the slower side, but Kazuya packs a punch, being one of the strongest fighters in the roster. Like other fighting game characters Ryu, Ken and Terry, Kazuya will always turn to face his opponent, and acts very much like his appearances in the franchise of his origin. His move list is far larger than any other combatant and utilises directional inputs in combination with the standard attack button to unleash a variety of moves. These can be especially tricky to pull off in the heat of the moment, and that can be exacerbated when multiple foes are either side of him, making it difficult to pull off the attacks intended since Kazuya will sometimes turn to face the wrong opponent. Like Sephiroth, after a certain amount of accumulated damage, Kazuya will gain an increase in strength.

As expected of a true fighting game brawler, he excels at close range combat, but is at a severe disadvantage when facing foes with better reach, as well as when it comes to his aerial game. Like Steve and Alex, it will take a lot to master Kazuya, but anyone who does so will be a force to be reckoned with.

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Finally, Nintendo pulled out all the stops to get this one over the line, no doubt. The most requested character from the Smash Bros. Fighter Ballot, which asked fans who they most wanted to see brought into the Smash universe many years ago, was Sora from the Kingdom Hearts series. Given his ties to Disney, this would have made for a difficult collaboration, but is one that all parties involved achieved, since the boy himself (in his younger rendition) does indeed make up the final slot in this six-character package.

While many will have been let down by his inclusion and felt a little like this was expected given Nintendo hyped the final announcement up so much, it is almost impossible to deny that Sora is a fitting addition to the roster and worthy of being the last ever character to enter the Smash Bros. Ultimate arena. It is a great accomplishment and certainly ends the character reveals on a high.

This floaty character excels in the air, with Sora's natural combos that can be pulled off by holding the A button working well to dish out the damage, while he has a great up aerial that can catch opponents and knock them high into the air. This can be made even more damaging by finishing with an up special attack to ideally KO a foe off the screen. Sora can recover remarkably well, with his already superb jumps working in tandem with his up and side special attacks to make him a very difficult character to knock out of the stage. He can cycle through three different elemental attacks that all have their uses depending on the situation, but each one must be used in order to get to the next one, meaning it can be tough to have the magic that you intend to use ready and waiting. Sora's limited reach, light weight and slow fall speed can prove to be fatal when it comes to his defensive side.

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Moving onto the stages that come with Fighters Pass Vol. 2, like the last pass, every character has their own arena that is taken from their respective games and series. Although not Min Min's home arena in ARMS itself, she brings with her the Spring Stadium, which places trampolines at the sides and centre of the stage, with an arched ceiling above that fighters can be launched into. The stage comes with 18 songs from ARMS, including two new arrangements.

Minecraft World is a stage based on the pixelated overworld from the mining game, which features a day and night cycle, as well as various biomes that will randomly load in, such as a snowy tundra, savanna, or birch forest. These can actually be chosen manually by picking the map whilst holding specific button combinations. Blocks will appear over the stage that can be destroyed, causing a hindrance to fighters battling it out here. Although no music from the original game is used, seven tracks from spin-offs and minigames, including Minecraft Earth and Minecraft Dungeons, are brought in, with six new arrangements.

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The Northern Cave takes players through a somewhat spoilerific sequence of events from the ending of Final Fantasy VII, where the attention to detail is quite something for Sephiroth's no-gimmicks stage. Battle arenas for major final bosses from the hit 1997 JRPG appear in the backdrops, as the main platform whisks deep down into the cave and pulls back out to reveal some stunning scenery. The FFVII music choice is rectified at last by introducing nine new songs, some from movie sequel FFVII: Advent Children, with four new arrangements, of which all of these are added to the Midgar stage, making for 11 tracks on both FFVII arenas. A crying shame that "Birth of a God" and "Jenova Absolute", among others, didn't make the cut, however.

Pyra and Mythra's stage is the Cloud Sea of Alrest, with the home of Rex from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 being used as the battlefield. Yes, the flying Titan Azurda allows his body to take a beating, soaring through the air as he passes other Titans from Monolith Soft's JRPG. Familiar faces from Rex's quest also appear, including Nia and Tora, and the stage will shrink for a brief period when Azurda turns his head to look at the passing Titans. Sixteen songs from XC2 join the list, with three arrangements, making for a large choice of 27 songs, of which all can also be played on the Gaur Plains stage.

Screenshot for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Fighters Pass Vol. 2 on Nintendo Switch

Mishima Dojo acts as Kazuya's stage, lifted right out of Tekken 7. It is a rather flat stage whose sides and ceiling can be broken to reveal the outside mountain range if fighters are smashed through them. Heihachi will often be seen in the background and will react to combatants being KO'd throughout the match. From up and down the Tekken franchise, a whopping 39 songs with eight new arrangements come complete with this stage. If only other companies allowed for such generous use of their audio work.

That brings us to the final stage, Hollow Bastion. Sora's arena is much like the Northern Cave in that it is devoid of gimmicks and takes players through a sightseeing trip. In this case, the penultimate world from Kingdom Hearts is the backdrop, as players are taken from Rising Falls and around Hollow Bastion castle, before returning to the Falls again. The stage will eventually change to Dive to the Heart, a familiar zone from the series of origin that is mainly used as a tutorial area. This happens when time or stocks are running low, with murals (Stations of Awakening, as they are known) appearing in the background, revealing cameos of various Kingdom Hearts series characters.

Screenshot for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Fighters Pass Vol. 2 on Nintendo Switch

When it comes to the music for Hollow Bastion, nine tracks make their way in, with no new arrangements. As expected, none of the Disney world music gets a slot, but the battle music from Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 suffice perfectly well. It is unfortunate to not get any renditions of the famous songs "Dearly Beloved" and "Simple and Clean", but again, copyright is always a nightmare.

However, there is a way to get one variation of that popular Kingdom Hearts title screen music. Players with save data of Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory will automatically unlock "Dearly Beloved -Swing Version-" for use in Smash Bros. Ultimate. As it stands, players must have played the game on the same Nintendo Switch as they use Smash, or the song won't be awarded. This is a problem for those who have since got rid of Melody of Memory and transferred their data to a new Switch. Perhaps a patch from Nintendo will be in order. It is a shame this unlocking method for a rendition of such an iconic Kingdom Hearts song is locked behind a further paywall - an expensive one at that - and then this apparent bug just tops it off. A real pain for those looking to achieve 100% of everything in Smash.

Screenshot for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Fighters Pass Vol. 2 on Nintendo Switch

For £26.99, Fighters Pass Vol. 2 is packing a mighty fine punch. Six characters, six stages, 98 songs, and a truckload of new Spirits to challenge and unlock (finally, FFVII Spirits!) is extremely commendable, and those who are fans of the respective characters or franchises represented here will be rewarded handsomely with a pack that is clear was made with care and respect. The fact that, once again, none of the new Mii Fighter costumes are included does mar things a little, though.

To pick up every one of the 51 Mii add-on contents will set you back £35.70, so once more, completionists will be racking up quite the sum to grab all there is in Smash Bros. Ultimate (the default eShop game price, plus both Fighters Passes and all Mii gear comes to £145.17 - and that isn't including the price of Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory for that one song!). To have not a single piece included for those that pick up either of the passes is a bit of a joke.

Any other downers? Well, the Sora fans will adore the fact he gets a suite of costumes to choose from, and it is great to have that choice, with outfits from many of his adventures included, but it only amplifies the unfortunate side that so many other characters in the game never got this level of wardrobe selection. Samus' many Power Suits, Mario's sports gear, Link's Breath of the Wild get-ups, Zelda's many incarnations… Even Cloud has had his share of costumes outside of the obvious two. Hopefully, instead of mere colour swaps in the future, outfit changes will be something Nintendo looks into more. However, this isn't so much a criticism of the second pass, but it does highlight something that was lacking in the base game.

Screenshot for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Fighters Pass Vol. 2 on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Just as with the previous Fighters Pass, it is necessary to be a fan of more than a handful of the characters included in Vol. 2, but if that is the case, there is no denying the value here, with six diverse characters coming with a stage each, a huge selection of music tracks, and many Spirits to challenge. There are some excellent additions and surprises, and it brings to an end a rollercoaster few years with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that may not quite happen the same again. This will keep dedicated players going for many more years until the next game arrives, but Nintendo really should have included the Mii Fighter costumes, because to unlock everything there is in this game is now an even more expensive endeavour.

Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Fighting

Players

8

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Part of me thinks they might do a pack with all the DLC in, but actually, why would they bother. I bet they are raking it in, I've never been one to use the Mii fighter so I haven't bothered with the costumes but I do think the fighters pass is "OK" value considering you get the fighters and stages. I've never been one for paid DLC, but Smash is the rare exception I make for this.

If you look around you can get the fighters pass for around £18 so not that bad!

I don't bother with the Mii Fighters either, although I did purchase the FF7 outfits and Sans and Shantae to get the songs from Undertale and Shantae.

I can't really forgive them for making "passes" and then excluding a massive and expensive amount of content, though. Each group of Mii outfits should have come with each character they showcased them with, and all of them should be included in the passes themselves. They might be called "Fighters" Passes, but they contain a whole lot more than that, so throwing in the Mii outfits really shouldn't have been a big deal. But gotta get that extra money, obvs.

The cost to 100% game doesn't even include the price of Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory, so that would drive it up another £30-50 for those who struggle to fight that urge.

But yeah, there will be some discounts here and there, and of course not everybody will care to get everything there is to buy, especially the Mii stuff, but I definitely feel it should be pointed out. Don't like the idea of creating passes that don't include every piece of DLC they put out there.

Good enough value overall for sure, though. Characters, stages, songs, Spirit challenges. It's a lot - and far more than most other fighting game passes. Just wish they could have added extra costumes and did a bit better with getting more songs on board for certain franchises.

( Edited 22.10.2021 12:18 by Azuardo )

Agreed! It does feel strange to not have one pack in where it includes everything. 

How did WiiU/3DS do it? I've forgot? They sold them separately as well didn't they?

Interestingly, they had a large range of bundles to choose from on Wii U/3DS:

https://www.smashbros.com/wiiu-3ds/sp/en-uk/dlc/index.html

Lots of different options for those that wanted certain groups of Mii costumes, and some that included characters and stages on top of the Mii outfits.

To not even have a Mii content bundle at least in Ultimate is odd.

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