Nintendo Switch gamers playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate have been left seething over a torrent of issues with the online multiplayer functionality.
Players have been plagued with lag, delays and connection issues. In fact, so many gamers have purportedly been let down by their online experience following the game's launch on Friday that the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate subreddit has had to start deleting new posts about the problems and streamline them all into a single megathread (opens in new tab).
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As noted by respected video game website Kotaku (opens in new tab), Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's online multiplayer component – which requires a Switch Online subscription at £3.49 ($3.99) a month (opens in new tab) – is riddled with flaws due to a "shitty design for online play."
Foremost among the online issues with the title are lag, delays to gameplay and connection issues such as those experienced by gamers commenting on Eurogamer's community forum (opens in new tab), a fact that is causing a series of "how to reduce online lag" explainer-style articles to pop-up online (opens in new tab).
Kotaku's Cecilia D'Anastasio notes on the lag:
"As with Smash’s previous iterations, players whose internet is less than stellar appear to be subjecting their online opponents to some truly garbage lag. Smash is a fast fighting game, and Smash Ultimate is considerably faster than its two predecessors. Many of my games felt just as laggy as they did 10 years ago when I was playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl online on the Wii. And lag kills the experience."
More worrying still, the online component of the game appears to be forcing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players into game types and rulesets they haven't selected. As a result, gamers are seemingly being dumped into match-ups and stages they don't want to play.
Tweets from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate gamers highlight the issue:
Smash Ultimate is great but wtf is up with the online? Forcing you into random 4 player matches with items on when that’s the complete opposite of your preferred rules, and you can’t switch your character between games unless you play a whole new person?Bring back For Glory7 December 2018
I really hate how when I'm playing ELITE BATTLES I get FORCED into a FFA or TEAMS match (with items sometimes) even though it's clearly meant to be the competitive online mode and it doesn't give me the option to quit or leave (and if I do, I get banned).Please fix this.RT.9 December 2018
Gamers have also stumbled across issues with the Global Smash Power (GSP) ranking system, which also seems to be negatively affected by these forced matches.
Reddit commentator shadowdragonzz explained his experience (opens in new tab):
"I'm being forced to play a match that I didn't want to go through to desperately keep my GSP afloat, all in the hopes of making it closer to the glorious elite smash. Losing a 1v2 that I was closer to winning because of a smash ball from someone else's rules is just super tilting. Just playing in an environment where I have something to lose where I don't want to play is just frustrating."
The issues with the online component have become so widespread that some gamers are calling on the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate community to boycott the title in a bid to force Nintendo to resolve the issues quickly.
Reddit user GodYoshi stated: "Boycott Nintendo till they fix this. Not given them a penny for DLCs. I'll play they game as is until I get bored. After that I'll give up on Nintendo and use either a REAL console or finally make the jump to PC."
Throw in the fact that Nintendo has even suggested (opens in new tab) that gamers will only get a best-in-class online experience in terms of connectivity if they buy Nintendo's official LAN cable adaptor (opens in new tab) (£26.99), as well as the fact that Switch gamers have to also purchase a Nintendo Switch Online subscription (opens in new tab) service to play online, and that additional DLC characters cost £5.39 each (opens in new tab), it's easy to see why gamers have been left angry and frustrated with the issues.
Indeed, when you also add the game's up front cost (opens in new tab) (£59.99 at Nintendo's official store), it looks like right now gamers are paying close to £100 or more for a less-than-perfect gaming experience, which considering that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is so geared toward's gamers playing against other gamers, seems disappointing.
Hopefully, Nintendo can sort out Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's online issues quickly, and reward loyal Nintendo Switch gamers who desperately want to enjoy the game with their friends, as when the game works it's unbelievably good fun.