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The number one thing I hate in games is when developers purposely hide content behind walls, forcing you to jump through hoops just to access the full game you already paid for. Super Smash Bros Ultimate features sixty-nine characters, however, as this is the Ultimate version of Smash Bros, you start with the original eight characters from the first game. As you continue to play the game, you start to unlock the rest of the roster. To be fair to Nintendo, this is a cool idea and wouldn’t have been as big of a deal if the unlock conditions for each character weren’t so stupid.

Since the game is still so new, the exact unlocking conditions for most of the characters remain a mystery. What we do know for sure is that the fastest way to unlock all the characters (so far) is to:

  1. Set Versus matches to one stock.
  2. Play one Versus match (jump off the side of the stage to speed things up).
  3. Fight against the new character and hope you don’t lose.
  4. Close the game and open it again. Repeat steps one to three.

Assuming you don’t lose any of the fights against the new characters which is much easier said than done, this method should take around two hours to unlock everything. For a competitive fighting game, this is pretty ridiculous when you think about it. Let’s say your main character is Snake. All you want to do is play as Snake, right? Well, you can’t. The new character encounters are set in stone, forcing you to unlock several other characters before facing the one you actually want.

In Smash 4, unlocking characters meant playing through X number of games, with the last character requiring 100 versus matches played. I felt like that wasn’t too bad considering there were only eight locked characters, and three of them were echo characters. Eight characters versus sixty-one characters… definitely not the same thing. If you must have unlockable characters, at least try to keep it from being a tedious experience.

I don’t have a problem with unlocks in games when they don’t impact the game in any major way. Things like stages, music and costumes are fine to keep locked away as they aren’t going to change the way you play the game. There are one hundred and three stages in Smash Ultimate. Every single stage is available when you start playing the game, but the characters? Nah, eight should be plenty.

Why do we need unlockables in a game like Smash Ultimate? Is it purely to give players something to do, because if that’s the case, you may be surprised to see that there’s an actual game somewhere in there. I’m only half joking, I understand that people who may not have people to play with locally will be more than happy to go through the other modes and unlock everything that way. This problem only occurs if you are the type of person to only play Smash Bros with your friends. If you are one of these people, that means you are only going to be playing Versus mode, which means spending eight or more hours trying to unlock every character in the game.

When you’re messing around in Smash, you typically pick characters that you aren’t good with because you are playing for fun. This makes it awkward when the opportunity to unlock a character arises because now are you playing with a handicap. In all honesty, this can be quite funny when playing with a group of people, especially when you know your battle will determine whether or not someone unlocks one of their main characters. Fortunately, there is a mode that you can unlock after finishing Classic Mode that allows you to rematch that same character immediately.

I can see both sides of the whole unlocking things argument, I just wish there was a way to speed up the process for those who don’t want to spend the time unlocking stuff. Remember the days of cheat codes? Take us back to the days where you could input a button sequence on the menu screen to unlock everything!

The information in this article may be subject to change due to future game updates.