Review by Scared89
"Master of Puppets, Obey Your Brawl Master"
In 1999 the world of epic 3D fighting was violently turned upside down. Nintendo did one of the most brilliant things they could have ever done. They took all of the characters that gamers have come to love in Nintendo games and threw them all together in one enormous fighting game. Donkey Kong, Link, Mario, Pikachu, they are all there. The game known as "Super Smash Bros." received rave reviews for being a friendly fighting game that was excellently executed.
Then, Holiday Season 2001, Nintendo released the sequel to Super Smash Bros. "Super Smash Bros. Melee" was unleashed on the GameCube and instantly became a best seller and received even greater reviews than its predecessor. The game added even more characters like Mewtwo, Marth, and Bowser.
Now the year is 2008, it's been almost seven long years since we have been given a new Super Smash game. Finally, "Super Smash Bros. Brawl" has arrived. All faithful fans to the series knew it was going to be awesome. However, the question is not if it is good, but how good exactly is it? Is online good or a disappointment? Is Fox still ridiculously overpowered? Does it have a reasonable story mode? All of these questions and more are answered in this here review.
The meat and potatoes of a video game is not the graphics or storyline, but rather how the actual game plays. Is it tedious or is it fun? Those familiar with the franchise know that the game is much simpler than a Mortal Kombat or a Soul Caliber fighting game. There are no long tedious combos, but instead simple specialty attacks and loads of characters to choose from. Each character has a variety of smash moves and special moves. Overall, what makes the gameplay addicting and fun is the fact that the game is so simple. While it is simple, it is not a brainless lucky contest between characters. The game is simple enough to learn, but very difficult to master. Fans of the more detailed fighting games will enjoy the difficulty of learning different types of characters while casual gamers will love to master their favorite fighter. Really the only noticeable differences from Melee is the inclusion of the "Final Smashes" which can be obtained from a Smash Ball in a match. These are devastating attacks that commonly finish your foes right then and there. These add new depth to characters as now a lot of characters have weak smash attacks, but they are high DPS characters. Therefore, they heavily rely on these smash balls to finish the job for them. Also, tons of new characters have been added. Most notably, highly anticipated characters Sonic (yeah, Sega's Sonic is in a Nintendo game, weird isn't it?), Solid Snake, and the very awesome Wario along with lot's of other fighters. Otherwise, the gameplay is fairly the same. Get your opponent's percentage high enough so you can knock them off the stage. The same formula we have grown to love. Don't fix what isn't broke in the first place!
I'll just start with this, this game pushes the Wii to it's current limit. The stages and characters all look beautiful. The effects in this game are just gorgeous to look at. the details on each character is just absurd. You can make out the stitches on Mario and see blemishes on Link's sword. A game packing such a graphical punch would be forgiven if it had decently long loading times right? Well no need to forgive, the game doesn't have long loading times. There's just a long load at the beginning which is EASILY forgivable. The game down right looks awesome and doesn't lag one second while in gameplay. That just proves that a lot of testing went into this game to make sure the experience was as fluid as possible. Thank goodness gameplay wasn't sacraficed for graphics. However, I cannot in good conscience give it a 10. While the graphics are amazing and possibly the best we have seen here on the Wii, they don't even come close to a Bioshock or a Call of Duty 4.
Wow. This game is packing some serious toons. With over 200 songs this game is packing a ridiculous musical punch. Sometimes you can take a trip down memory lane and sit and listen to your favorite games' songs. Also, the music adds great effect for matches. The songs fit the stages perfectly. For a Pikmin stage, goofy music plays in the background appropriately. However, on the Fire Emblem stage, epic music complete with a choir and an excellent orchestra plays in the back ground. The music in this game is probably it's strongest point. Nintendo wasn't pulling any punches with this one. They made sure all original songs from the previous game made it in and added tons and tons more. They went back to original recordings from old games and brought those songs in just so gamers could choose how frequently certain songs appeared on stages just to diversify their game a little more. Now that's what I call looking out for the gamer's best interests. Other than the music, the sounds in the game are spot on. The voice acting is fairly good and all of the sounds of carnage on the battlefield sound excellent.
This is a first, a storyline part for a Super Smash review. Yes, Super Smash Bros. Brawl actually does have a story mode. I'm talking a long story mode too, not just "Adventure Mode" from Melee. This one will take around 8 or so hours to down, but on to the actual story.
Mario and Kirby start the story off brawling each other. Mario wins and Kirby turns into a trophy. (All defeated foes turn into trophies) Mario "Resurrects" Kirby and they shake hands. However, a strange ship appears and kidnaps Peach and Zelda (why can't they EVER stay out of danger?). You are forced to uncover this mystery that features interesting twists and turns as you play as just about every character and battle through "SubSpace Emissary."
I appreciate what Nintendo did here. This isn't your typical Street Fighter storyline where you battle a bunch of random jobbers and then fight a boss bad guy at the end. This actually has a storyline which I applaud it for. However, with that being said, what you have to do toward the end of the game is just ridiculous and a lazy cop out to make the game longer. That alone knocks a few points off. Besides that, the story mode is fantastic, just wish I didn't have to go through hell to get top the end.
Nintendo went all out here as well. There are four different control schemes. You can play with the Classic Nintendo Wii Controller, the Wiimote on it's side, Wiimote w/ Nunchuk, and finally, yes, the GameCube controller. You have no idea how ecstatic I was when I heard the GameCube controller would be allowed in the game. On top of four different choices for a controller, you can also completely change the controls to be whatever you want them to be. This is something that should be in almost every game available and it is great to see this game feature this. So, with that, all I need to say is, the controls cannot get any better for this game.
I think we all know what this category will be receiving. This game defines the saying "Get more than your money's worth." With a story mode, tons of brawl options, stages, trophies, stickers, CD's, and even an online mode, you won't be putting this game down until the next one comes out. What made Melee lose it's touch was that sometimes it got difficult to find people to play with. Well, Brawl's online feature completely changes that. You can hop online and play with people all over the world. They even added a stage editor mode so you can make your very own Super Smash stages. Yeah, you will be putting "World of Warcraft" like hours into this game.
Here is where I am torn. Believe me, I love the fact that this game has an online mode. It makes things much easier for myself and others who can't exactly always have friends over to play with them. In online mode you can use all of the features available to you in offline play. There are two servers, those for friends matches and a server for those "random matches." Here's where I start to get negative. You add friends by giving AND receiving a fairly long friend code (that is separate from your Wii's code). Why couldn't Nintendo make it so people that are on your Wii friend list are automatically transferred to the Brawl friends list. Why do you have to have a completely new list on top of the Wii one? To me that is just ridiculous. Also, there are NO leaderboards. To me, that is almost downright unacceptable in today's online world. I know they want the whole "you go online to have fun, not to show off" type of thing and I know it's also to avoid cheaters and cheesers. Still, you have to have leaderboards. Nintendo really exposed their amateurness with online in Brawl. No leaderboards, no voice chat (another MUST HAVE), and no easy friend system makes the online a weak one. Also, in the "random matches" you have no idea who you are facing and if they drop, you have no clue. The computer replaces them without missing a beat. This is a problem because I would like to ignore droppers and add people that I enjoyed playing with like I can on X-Box Live. You simply cannot do this in Brawl. I understand this is Nintendo's first attempt at online consoles, but I would be a vast understatement for you to say I was disappointed in the online in this game. It does it's job. It's a great way to play with your friends when they are not with you. It's a great way to play humans when alone, and not just computer players, but this is bare bones. It could have been so much more. I expect better next time round.
This is easily one of the best game available on the Wii. Yes, it belongs with Metroid Prime 3, Resident Evil 4, Mario Galaxy, and Twilight Princess. This is my personal favorite fighting game ever made. Super Smash revolutionized the genre and continues to do so to this day. This will go down in history as one of the best fighting games, and overall games in history. I already can't wait to see what they will do with the next installment. The online is what they need to focus the most on for the next installment. I'll be waiting, whether it's two years, or another seven.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 03/13/08
Game Release: Super Smash Bros. Brawl (US, 03/09/08)
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