What can I say about Super Smash Bros. Wii U that most gamers won't already know? The title is being developed in conjunction between Bandai Namco Games and franchise director Masahiro Sakurai's company Sora Ltd. which might put some fans on their guard. At least, it might if they don't realize that Super Smash Bros. Brawl was also the child of many different companies not altogether from Nintendo working together. Thus, in the regard that Nintendo is yet again not entirely responsible for development, Super Smash Bros. Wii U is truly Brawl's successor.
Yet the degree to which Super Smash Bros. Wii U is Brawl's successor is much more than just how it was developed. Many of the more competitive subsets of Super Smash Bros. excitable audience never got into Brawl in the same way that they appreciated Melee. That was in large part due to a slower overall speed of battle, the removal of several "advanced" features and a less balanced high-level of combat. Even low-level combat seemed to encourage less interactive play vs. larger, spammable, flashy moves including Smash Attacks.
Super Smash Bros. Wii U, according to its developers, takes these complaints under consideration. The truth of that remark should already be noticeable, as the game will feature the most robust online multiplayer mode of the franchise, of perhaps all of Nintendo's big franchise games even. Add in that perhaps their largest E3 event short of the keynote Nintendo Direct event was a 16-player tournament running along side E3 itself and the message is clear. Nintendo loves the idea of a modern competitive Smash Bros. scene.
Jumping all the way back to Melee-style combat was never discussed or implied, however. Now that I've been able to play a good amount of the game on the E3 show floor I think it's safe to say that era of the series will never be rekindled. Rather, it's best to see this latest game as an iteration, or even an evolution of the Brawl design philosophies.
The biggest thing to discuss is general game speed. In my opinion the game still moves about as fast as Brawl, with the same sort of floatiness. However, everyone that I've discussed the gameplay with seems to believe it's faster moving than its predecessor. Considering I'm much more of a Melee player than a Brawl player I can't say I'm 100% correct with any certainty, but I think the point is that no one should expect a starkly different experience from Brawl.
Many will point to the removal of the tripping mechanic in Brawl as a sign of positive changes, but really that's just an obvious move on the part of the developers. They win a lot of positivity and lose nothing taking it out. Beyond tripping, however, very little in terms of significant change have been made.
Dodging still feels underdeveloped and range of movement is limited unless a character is specifically designed to be speedy. Expect these characters to quickly become the preferred of those who take the game seriously -- and expect a majority of the roster to be dismissed for the same reason. I say this only with respect to a Smash Bros. competitive scene of the likes of Melee. Truth is I don't think Smash Bros. Wii U will dethrone Melee as the competitive go-to, but then I also don't think that's its goals. Any proclamation by the team developing the game or otherwise seems more smoke than fire.
Rather, Super Smash Bros. Wii U is more akin to and high in potential for what I call the casually competitive environment. These are titles that don't necessarily support the depth for robust high-level play, but are just fun and wild enough that players can't stop playing long enough to remember that there's not much more to the game beyond that moment to moment fun. I'd almost say that Super Smash Bros. Wii U could end up being the League of Legends to Super Smash Bros. Melee's DotA.
I played and/or watched each of the new characters available on the roster for the demo. I won't go into their abilities, as those are freely available on wikis everywhere already, but I do want say that each felt different enough to stand out. Different, and unbelievably fun. It's amazing what skipping a generation of Smash Bros. can do to reinvigorate your interest in something new from the series. I can't wait to see matches full of Charizards and goofy Animal Crossing Villagers.
It may be floaty and it may be slower than I'd like, but Super Smash Bros. Wii U just has a charm and cheerfulness that no other game has managed to recapture since the franchise first began. It's not as simple as putting familiar characters in a fighting game and letting them beat each other up. PlayStation All-Stars can attest to that. Super Smash Bros. delivers will continue that tradition, and although the experience will share many aspects with its most recent predecessor -- for better or worse -- it will still be deserving of the entire Wii U install base's attention.
Yes, I'm quite confident in saying that Super Smash Bros Wii U will be the best game available on the Wii U console. Even Luigi's death stare can't dethrone the reigning king of Nintendo multiplayer games. Bring on that Smash.