Recently, Nintendo unveiled that owners of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate can play their games in VR. Coming with the Ver. 3.1.0 software update, players can dance up and down a stage to compete against one another.
While nifty, there is no reason why Super Smash Bros. Ultimate needs a VR mode, as it adds nothing to the experience. It is a repeat of Beath of the Wild all over again.
Pixels right up to your face
Firstly, the graphical fidelity would be awful. The Labo is strapped right up to someone’s face, with the pixels spaced out. The Switch screen runs at 720p, far lower than new VR headsets, so it cannot match the quality of the Oculus or HTC competitors.
This can lead to eye strain and nausea, as the Switch console just wasn’t designed for VR. While the Labo offers short and fun experiences which may work with it, the online videos of the game in action do not match real life.
Then there is the gameplay. Being a spectator watching the fighters fly around can be fun, but it adds no depth to the game itself. Why does looking around a stage, following your opponent, make the game more fun? Worse, the player has to hold the Labo up while playing, leading to neck and arm strain.
Then the stages are not designed for looking around. Some are bent out of shape, barren, or with muddy textures. The Switch version of the game was not built with VR in mind; it was strapped on at the end.
Overall it seems like a tacked-on tool for gameplay, which does not fit the game itself.
On the other hand
But let us consider the other mind for a moment. It may be nice to pretend to be a spectator watching the game, looking left and right as fan-favourite characters battle it out. Being on the seats of battle can be enticing for watchers. It is also not obligatory, just a fun addition via an update.
But it feels pointless. There is no reason for its existence, and adds nothing. Similar to Breath of the Wild in VR, it is an addition rather than an extension.
Ultimately, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in VR is a kind gift from Nintendo. But after a few minutes of playing, the mode will never be touched again. Nintendo should stop importing VR, and make more games around it.