Super Smash Bros. Brawl Wii Review
The Super Smash. Bros series has always been a love letter from Nintendo to its fans (particularly of the long-time variety) filled to the brim with nostalgia and fan service that could bring a tear to the eye of many. The third game in the series (and the first entry on the Wii) continues this tradition, but, of course, extends the nostalgia levels for avid Nintendo fans with a handful of new characters and stages themed around beloved games, each of which is accompanied by famous tunes.
For those not in the know, the Super Smash Bros. series is a simplistic fighting game more comparable to the likes of Power Stone than it is to Dead or Alive and Soul Calibur. The objective is simple: hit your opponent/s with all manner of simplistically executed moves, by doing so, you’ll increase a percentage. In simple terms the more you hit your opponent/s, the further they will fly after launching them into the sky, making it easier to send them hurtling off the screen, resulting in sweet victory. Mechanically, Super Smash Bros. Brawl is largely untouched, though there are all new character specific ultra powerful final smash moves and, of course, the introduction of new characters, along with refined versions of existing personalities to better balance the game.
In regards to characters, all the favourites, such as Mario, Link, Samus and Fox have returned for more pummelling action. But this already bloated character selection has, of course, been further increased with a smattering of new characters. Ike from Fire Emblem has joined the fray and is personally, with his powerful sword strikes, one of the most satisfying of the new characters to take charge of. Wario makes his first appearance, as does Pit from Kid Icarus and Diddy Kong from the Donkey Kong series. Also joining them are a couple of non Nintendo personalities, not least of which is Sonic the Hedgehog, long-time rival to Mario. Now you get the chance through a good old fashioned bout of fisticuffs (the more gentlemanly pursuit of Olympic sports is too polite for these two bitter rivals I feel) to see who really is the most powerful of the two. Then there’s the famous Solid Snake of Metal Gear fame. Character balancing is as it’s always been, an issue. Some are powerful, whilst others are seemingly ineffective, though sometimes it’s a case of just having to learn of the best opportunity to make use of their moves.
The single player offering has in regards to quality, always been secondary to the hugely entertaining multiplayer modes. But with the all new Subspace Emissary mode, no one can deny that there hasn’t been some effort spent in this area. The mode is essentially a throwback to the 2D scrolling fighting games of yesteryear and can be played in two player cooperative. Stickers can also be collected and assigned in a simplistic RPG style character upgrade system. It all works as a pleasant enough means to unlocking things, though there’s often better, more enjoyable ways to do so, namely partaking in some multiplayer brawls.
Multiplayer remains as the most enjoyable way to spend some time with the game, especially when opponents are of a similar skill level. Here more of the subtleties of the fighting mechanics will likely be explored such as the nifty evasion move and the defensive shield, as you’re trying to outwit a fellow human as opposed to artificial intelligence. All manner of options can be tweaked, granting you a generous degree of control to play how you want.
A first for the series is the chance to play online, which in comparison to the offline modes is scarce in its options, though all the basics are there, which to many will be all that matters in the end. It perhaps would be unfair to expect much more, especially since it’s the series’ first online outing.
Also new to the series is the stage builder, a tool that allows you to knock together (of which you hadn’t already guessed) your own stages. At first it seems a bit limited but as you play the game you’ll unlock more parts, giving you more options and transforming it into a rather robust feature. Completed stages can be shared amongst friends and, of course, used for your own sessions.
Obviously, with all the features that I’ve mentioned, Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a hugely generous game. To just simply play it can be rewarding, unlocking all manner of unlockables, be it characters, stages, music, trophies and even bite-sized demos for virtual console games, it‘s quite simply a game of an seemingly unending array of rewards. There’s hours of fun to be had across a variety of modes and options, it’s a game that just keeps on giving.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a mishmash of contrasting character designs and musical compositions, but, as odd as it can be, it’s a hugely likable concoction that’s steeped in nostalgia. Whilst it may be far from the deepest of fighters, it’s just fantastically fun to play. All of which results in a game that can quite easily sit alongside the cream of the crop as one of the Wii’s best games. It’s also a great reminder that Nintendo haven’t yet completely forgotten its loyal followers, in favour of the emergence of a new breed of gamers.