You know what's annoying? Waiting for games that you want to play, but wait, there's more. What could be more annoying? Waiting for games that are already out, to come to your country. I'm in Australia, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl
arrived here. Out in Japan in January, out in America in March, out in the rest of the world in late June. The hype is well over, and many people are already losing interest in the game, but there are also many who are playing as I type. For us people who only got the game recently, was it worth the wait?
It's been six years since the release of Super Smash Bros. Melee
for the Nintendo Game Cube, and it's been nine years since the release of the very first Super Smash Bros.
for the Nintendo 64. Now, I ask again, has the wait been worth it?
As mentioned, Brawl is the third of the Smash Bros. franchise, this time for the Nintendo Wii. It has changed quite a bit since the N64 days, but how much has it changed exactly?
We'll talk about what everyone claims the game is about. Multiplayer. Brawl delivers, in this department. Once again, players on the one console can duke it out from two to four players, with additional and optional computer controlled opponents (up to four total combatants). There's the simple free for all or team battle, and making returns are the time matches, stock matches (survival) and coin matches. Special rules also make a return, and there are quite a number of stages to be played on, even more to be unlocked.
I'd like to get this out of the road quickly before I talk about anything else. Online multiplayer. Brawl has it. How does it run? It depends. Once more as being a Nintendo title online, the game returns with the annoying friend code features, where each copy of Brawl receives a twelve digit number, a "friend code", which your friends must add in order to play against you privately. In a friends' match, it's completely private, only registered friends may play with you, and you can freely set up all rules and regulations. Once it's all set up, you have to sit in a waiting room for all players to connect, at least while waiting you can beat up the hitting back thing from the home run contest.
Playing with strangers however, is a different story. It's completely silent and anonymous. The game seeks out people for you to play with, and you play in a simple two minute match. The problem with this however, is that lag can be a huge terrible issue, because unlike say, Mario Kart: Wii
, you cannot choose to play with people in your country. You might end up playing against various people all over the globe, so lag can be a huge, frustrating issue. Another flaw, but at the same time a subtle plus, is the lack of communication online. It might be a good thing against strangers, but against your own friends, lack of online communication is very inconvenient.
The next biggest change to the franchise is the re-worked adventure mode, now a proper single player storyline dubbed as The Subspace Emissary. The story is about some kind of alien force from "Subspace" who have come to the Smash Bros. world, pretty much taking over, and all of the Smash Bros. crew fight in their own individual fights, teaming up with unlikely allies, before they are all united together as one to fight. The entire thing is lacking dialog, but in a way it's kind of clever and cool, a very Kingdom Hearts feel to it. Each segment of the story is told through silent full motion video cinematic sequences, which is pretty cool to see.
The actual game play in the single player adventure is a 2D side scroller, where you will encounter many of the Subspace forces in battle, followed by boss fights, to even duels against the other characters of the Smash Bros. universe. On a plus, you can play this mode cooperatively, and can even collect stickers which work similar to equipping items RPG-style. Unfortunately, the single player campaign is quite short, lasting up to seven hours, and can be extremely repetitive. Regardless, the Subspace Emissary is the best way to unlock the majority off the thirty five characters in the game.
That said, there are a lot of characters in this game. Some have been removed from previous games, many more have been added. Each character is unique in their own way, but do possess some of the same, or similar skills and abilities as one another (a prime example can be Ness and Lucas, or Fox and Falco).
Game play continues to remain pretty much the same, except with some changes such as dodging and evading, as well as the many new and different items, and of course, Smash Balls. A Smash Ball is an item which if beaten enough as it randomly flies around, the player who beats it the most will be activate their Final Smash attack, a devastating attack that is usually capable of instantly destroying multiple opponents at once, as long as it hits. This is a cool addition but at times, can be ridiculously cheap, as well as some Final Smashes being more powerful than others.
Many old modes return such as the home run contest, all stars mode, classic mode, training, as well as the event mode (unfortunately with only forty one total events, not fifty one as seen in Melee). There is an absolute tonne to unlock, from new characters, trophies (as they too make a return), in-game music, stickers, new stages, to stage building pieces. Which brings me to my next point. Stage building.
Although somewhat limited, it is now possible to create your very own stages. Note however, that these player made stages will be no where near as good as the actual in-game stages. It's a nice new feature, and you can even send your stages to your friends over WiiConnect24. It's also possible to save replays of your matches, watch these said matches again, and of course, send these videos to your friends. On top of this, six Melee stages return, allowing for "classic" game play. You can also take in game screen shots and send them to your friends over the same service.
Graphically, the game handles quite well. To be fair however, the graphics could have been better, considering Brawl was first announced back in 2006. The graphics look like an upgrade from Melee, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it could of been better. The soundtrack however, is absolutely breathtaking. With numerous, well known composers from a wide variety of video games, the game's sound track is absolutely awesome, with many remixes, orchestrated songs and the like, it truly is "epic".
The worst issue in Brawl however, would indeed be the loading times. The game's loading times are horrific, I've never seen a Wii game take so long to load. This is because of the fact that Super Smash Bros. Brawl
is the first Wii title to be a dual layered DVD, so the Wii tends to have a bit of a harder time reading the disc, and thus, loading times can be quite frustrating. Even when pausing the game, the game may take one or two seconds to comply to the actual pause, which isn't so much of a bad thing, but it's annoying when you want to take a screen shot or two. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
is of course, the best of the Smash franchise so far. There's plenty to do, and plenty to unlock, so this is certainly not a short game. The replayability is there as long as you have people to play with, and when it isn't lagging, the online multiplayer can be fun. The loading times, the horrific lag and limited options in online play, and the short, repetitive single player campaign however, are the reasons this game is not as good as it could, or perhaps, should of been.
For those who just got it - let the Brawl begin!