Dangerous thing there buddy, that there “hype.” Because hype can keep a gamer waiting through the harshest weather for eons just to finally play a game they’ve only been fed scraps of. Dangerous thing there buddy, that there hype.
Hype can destroy a good game, and it can breathe life into a bad one. Hype can fool gamers into spending their hard-earned money on games that they won’t dig after only three days.
Hype lead me hanging on for days, weeks and months (three whole months); Super Smash Bros. Brawl took too damn long to come out in Europe. By the time it was released here, everybody knew everything about the game. Websites such as GameFAQs were filled with spoilers for me that were all too well known by the people who had owned the game for months.
I almost succumbed to the demon of hype and was moments away from pirating/importing the game before finally containing myself.
So what was it worth, in the end? Well, at first, I was delighted to hold SSBB in my hands, in some kind of boring limited-edition sleeve. And when I got it home, I was delighted with the game itself. But not for long, because…
…Brawl enrages me.
I have an issue with the majority of fighting games (particularly brawlers) that I play. Seems that there is an overall lack of balance (I’m looking at you, Naruto Ultimate Ninja).
In SSBB, there are Final Smash attacks. These are unfair instant kills about 75% of the time.
With Super Smash Bros. Melee, apart from Mr. Game and Watch, it was hard to find a “cheap”character—a character that can claim quick and easy kills without any skill required. But in Brawl, if the computer secures Snake’s Final Smash, you’ll be seeing Zanzibar soon enough, as your character goes flying off into the distance, “blasting off again!”
It’s best that I don’t mention the bloody Dragoon. For a fair multiplayer match, disable “Dragoon Parts.”
In an attempt to make the game more single-player friendly, the development team spent a lot of time creating a vast adventure mode. The Subspace Emissary is easily the best part of the whole game. It is even co-operative enabled and, better yet, playable over the Internet, so you and your CoD buddies have no excuse to avoid getting a Wii now (or admit to owning one).
I’m a huge fan of the Kirby series, and Subspace Emissary mostly reminds me of Superstar and Amazing Mirror, two absolutely smashing Kirby adventures. Even the final boss resembles a villain from the main Kirby canon—a humanoid figure hell-bent on conquering the world, and destroying all that is good in the process. As clichéd as it may seem, it plays fantastically, and that is the one area of the game which I can find only a few faults with.
Subspace Emissary acts as the main character-unlocking system, and all the characters in the game can be unlocked with a single playthrough and a few level repeats. It is the bestest thing HAL has made since Kirby’s Air Ride, this I guarantee.
Oh, and I’m not one of those assholes who hates on Air Ride. It is a good game (seriously!).
The large change in the game engine that Subspace Emissary necessitated means that, while that mode plays perfectly, the multiplayer is tainted. It’s tainted in a way that’s hard to explain.
So I won’t try to.
The increase in items is welcome, as are the new stages, which range from tiny to expansively large, and each caters to a different style of gameplay. Like in Melee, I fell in love with the new Hyrule stage straight away. In Brawl, the Melee “Hyrule Temple” makes an appearance, but also the new Bridge of Eldin stage from Twilight Princess. It is a flat stage with only a few interruptions, which occasionally breaks into two halves.
Other fantastic stages include the WarioWare stage, which transforms into minigames from the series. There is also a Pictochat stage (kind of unfitting) where the characters are thrown into a Pictochat lobby to brawl to their death.
The stages are incredibly well built and are the best part of the multplayer mode, without a single doubt about it.
The main audience for the original Smash Bros. games has been catered to, but also cast aside. It’s about casual gamers now. And because of the necessity for pick-up-and-play gaming, the characters have been made unfair.
I still hate the Smash Balls and the Final Smash attacks. They take emphasis away from the combat. Players race around the screen (forgetting the combat), trying to smash a floating ball that somehow bestows upon them the great energy to perform one move. Usually, this one ball allows for very easy kills.
Solid Snake’s smash attack is lethal and completely unjust. I understand that he walked through a microwave oven and survived, but this just takes the piss.
Brawl’s soundtrack is perhaps the second best part of the game. It’s vast, and it encompasses some of the best tracks across all the series that the main characters represent. One even greater element is that even the third-party characters’ sources have been catered to—with firm fan-favourite (now that really is sarcasm) Sonic Boom making an appearance on the soundtrack.
The graphics are also splendid, and the FMVs in Subspace Emissary are beautiful. Online play is great but laggy (especially once you start leaving the borders of your country), but it’s present and at least works.
I cannot say harsh things about Super Smash Bros. Brawl, except for words concerning the multiplayer. As a single-player adventure game, it exceeds expectations. As a multiplayer game,though, Melee still reigns.
And this isn’t entirely a good thing—SSBB is meant to be a multiplayer title, yet it’s this area where I feel the game takes the most damage. But…it’s just the damn Smash Balls and Dragoon Parts. Disable them and…aaaah, MUCH better!
I shouldn’t have to sell this game to you—it’s a Wii exclusive and a first-party title. If you don’t already have it, rush out and buy it, just to help keep Nintendo’s gears grinding out more top-quality first-party software.
I’m serious. So long as there is a demand for quality titles, Nintendo can’t ignore the serious gamers. Now, I await my execution by nerd hands, for not having given Super Smash Bros. Brawl a 10/10.