Super Smash Bros. Brawl review
Brawl - A Smash to remember?
-It keeps the classic Smash Bros. feel.
-The soundtrack has to be the best ever seen in a Nintendo game.
-Lots of content that will keep you occupied.
-Plenty of characters and stages to choose from..
-Graphically, it's rather good.
-Online Mode is restrictive and laggy.
-Gameplay speed from Melee has decreased and every character is floaty.
-Subspace Emissary, while a good idea, is extremely repetitive.
-Unlocking characters is a bit boring.
-Stage Builder is limited.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the third installment of Nintendo and Sora's highly anticipated fighting series, featuring Nintendo and other third party characters duking it out on crazy stages from every Nintendo franchise
After the massive success Melee had during it's lifespan, Brawl had to offer something even bigger, something more impressive and thus something more fun than it's predecessor. Did Masahiro Sakurai accomplish this goal?
Let's focus on the primary aspect that we all want to know when a new Smash game comes out - it's gameplay. This has sparked quite a few debates in the Smash community, since Brawl's gameplay is noticeably much slower and floatier than Melee. People who are used to Melee might be a little disappointed in this game, as Brawl simply does not deliver the goods when it comes to making it a 'proper fighting game'. However, the game itself respects the series' genre and unique playing style - the game's basics remain what Smash is all about, a fighting game using Nintendo characters as you try to knock them off the screen until the time is out or they are out of lives. And despite the gap between Melee and Brawl, it's still a fun game to pick-up and simply annihilate your friends but if you are into the competitive scene, you might be slighty underwhelmed by the game's mechanics.
One thing to note however is that the AI has improved tenfold from Melee, meaning that playing against computers doesn't get as redundant as Melee. That gives players the option to play the computer and actually have some fun playing the game by themselves!
Let's face it - Smash Bros. was never about the single-player experience. It's a pure multiplayer game by heart and it will always remain that way. However, Sakurai decided to be a little creative in this game with the creation of the Subspace Emissary - a new adventure mode featuring your favourite Nintendo icons!
The Subspace Emissary is some sort of odd platforming-fighting mix that sees you controlling Nintendo characters through diverse worlds, with the goal being to go from Point A to B. Meanwhile, cutscenes will play to progress the story as you play through it.
While the new adventure mode is rather creative, I feel that it falls flat for plenty of reasons. For one, the mode itself gets repetitive rather quickly, mostly because at the end of the day you are simply doing the same thing in every world - beat a horde of enemies and move on to the next destination and that gets boring really fast.
Another flaw with the Subspace Emissary is that the story itself makes no sense. This isn't helped by the fact that there is no dialogue and the plot just has no many holes. I'm surprised that the developers didn't add any dialogue or at least text bubbles to know what's going on. Instead, we get a big mess that is open to interpretation and just makes no sense whatsoever. The cutscenes are quite beautiful though and they are worth watching, it's just that they don't really connect very well with each other.
But enough about the adventure mode. What about the other modes? The Classic Mode returns! This time, however, the matchups are predetermined and will always stay in the same order besides a few matchup specifications that change. Not only that, but the mode itself takes forever to load, meaning that you have to watch the 'vs character' screen for quite a bit of time before advancing. While that might seem like a minor inconvenience at first, you'll get annoyed quickly by the slow loading times when you do the mode more. This mode in Melee could be fun in some capacity due to it's quick loading times and less demanding matchups and Brawl simply made it more of a chore to go through.
All-Star Mode also returns! And while it suffered the same predetermined pattern that Classic Mode did, it's much quicker to go through than that mode and thus much more satisfying and fun to go through.
Other than those modes, we get a few special modes such as the classic Target Test, Homerun Contest, Multi-Man battles, Event Matches and a new boss battle mode. Sadly, Target Test no longer has the fighter specific theme which causes it to become bland really fast and doesn't test your ability as a character at all. Homerun Contest and Multi-Man are still fun and can even be played online for a good few rounds! Event Match has gone downhill, with less events and no unlockables available to the player by completing these events besides a few minor ones. And the new Boss Battle mode is actually rather good, using the All-Star mode format and pitting you against the Subspace baddies in a row.
Another factor to consider about the single player is the unlockables. While there is a TON of content of unlock, it's not fun to do so. Every character can be unlocked via The Subspace Emissary, meaning that you can have all the characters at your disposal within 10 hours. You unlock music by catching random CDs that spawn anywhere and 'live' for three seconds. You unlock stages rather easily and without much effort and while Coin Launcher is a definite improvement over the Lottery machine in Melee, it's definitely not enough to compensate for the stale methods of unlocking things in this game is compared to it's predecessors.
All in all, the single player is a mixed package. While It can be amusing at first, you'll want to forget about it the moment you unlock everything and just move on to do some Smashing in Multiplayer mode.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl with an online feature?! Surely that's the best thing ever?! While the idea was everyone's wet dream, it has to be the most disappointing online mode I've ever played in.
For one, playing with random players is simply not fun for many different reasons. There's the lag, which can cause you to have a frame per decade. There's the taunt parties, which overwhelms Smash's online community meaning that finding a serious and lag-free fight is a one in a lifetime chance. And since there's no way to add to random scrubs that you like, nor the option to change the game rules or decide the item and stage list, the Basic Brawl with Anyone is just a sad creature to look at. So much hype, so many possibilities and yet, we're left with this bland, laggy, restrictive and no servers online mode. It's just so...sad to look at it that way.
What saves it in some capacity is the With Friends mode - in there, it's what With Anyone you wish had. You can choose the game rules, play Multi-Man Brawl or Homerun Contest with a free and actually have some decent and lag-free rounds of Smash. While there is no online chat, I'm OK with that since just battling with the people I know from around the globe is just a staggering sentiment on it's own.
In conclusion, if you want to play online, stick with friends.
If Brawl can deliver one thing, it's the content. There's just so many things to do - you have 36 characters, plenty of stages and lots of game modes to choose upon.
One thing that Brawl will always get praise from the community is it's soundtrack - it's massive, it's diverse and simply has a lot of classic tracks in the game.
However, some game modes fall a little flat. One of them being Stage Builder. The idea was superb, but the execution lets it down badly. You're only given few items to build your stage with, and can only choose THREE backgrounds. While you are allowed to use all of the music in the game, the Stage Builder will get boring once you've covered everything and you'll soon forget about it's existence.
Another mode that fails Is Masterpieces. It's just a three-minute at best 'demo' of past Nintendo titles. While it can be rather cute to check these out, they simply take unnecessary space on the game disc. Otherwise, you can still pick up Trophies and even Stickers in this game. The former keeps it's role from Melee and can be fun to pick up and read the description of your newly attained silverware. Stickers, however, are rather boring and only serve a purpose in the Subspace by playing the role of boosting your character's attack, speed or defence. While it's a creative idea, you don't need them at all and the difference is hard to tell most of the time since most enemies go down in one hit!
I'll say it now that I don't care about the graphics in video games but this game is really crisp and fluid in it's character designs and stage backgrounds. It's the completely opposite of Melee's colorful and 'cartoony' look with Brawl taking a more realistic and darker color tone. It's definitely the best graphics that the Wii can offer.
Overall, I feel that Brawl is simply inferior to Melee due to it's slower and floatier gameplay speed and it's slower and more tedious single player experience. However, Brawl is still a fun game to play for the content it has to offer and the possibility to play with your friends from across the globe. If you aren't used to Melee, pick this game up and you'll have a blast for sure. If you are, you might end up having a mixed opinion about the game and should be approached with caution.
Brawl gets a 7.5 for it's stunning graphics, amazing soundtrack, plentiful of content and the fact that it's still Smash Bros. However, this game simply does not stand up very well against Melee and definitely won't have the same legendary status as it's predecessor.
About the author
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- Help Wanted 3
- Team Combinations 104
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- Help Me Please. 1
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