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A Hardcore, Smash Hit For The Wii
Written: Mar 25, 2012 (Updated Mar 25, 2012)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Extensive single player modes, huge variety of everything, graphics
Cons:Wi-Fi is extremely laggy, almost unusable, stage creator is limited
The Bottom Line: One of the best games that the Wii has to offer. Everyone should check this out at least once.
When I first bought my Nintendo Wii, I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of games such as Super Mario Galaxy, Mario Kart Wii, Animal Crossing: City Folk, etc., but Super Smash Brothers Brawl was easily the game I was the most excited about. Although it faced a few delays along the way, when I finally got to play it, I was extremely satisfied with the result, and very impressed by the amount of work that was put into this game.
As Brawl is the third installment in the Super Smash Brothers series, there is a plethora of new additions, but along with this, there are many classic elements that have remained the same. Gameplay for one, has stayed true to the formula. For those unaware of how SSB works, you battle it out on an open arena of your choice, where the goal is to knock your opponents off the stage. This is done by racking up their damage percentage, which makes opponents lighter and therefore easier to boot off the stage. However, this task is not so easy when there are level obstacles, randomly appearing items, and so on to further complicate your task. Then, there’s the newest addition to the foray, the smash ball, which randomly appears and floats around the stage. The first person to break it can unleash their final smash move, an ultra move with devastating power, and is almost always a lethal match ender. Unleashing one of these demons turns the match into a chaotic frenzy to reach the ball first, and opens up the opportunity for more strategy. The game is certainly a bit of a madhouse, but a fun one at that.
One thing that impressed me about Brawl was the sheer amount of modes that were available, just for single player alone. There is the main, “campaign” mode, dubbed “The Subspace Emissary”. In this mode, you progress along a storyline, traversing across every stage, controlling every character and facing off against original and character enemies, and bosses as well. The Subspace Emissary is easily the most complex mode in the game, and it serves as a good smorgasbord of what Brawl has to offer. It’s a pretty long lasting one too; if I recall correctly, I think I spent around 15 hours completing this mode alone.
In addition to Subspace Emissary, there are smaller game modes such as All Star Mode, where you face off against every character continuously, and Classic, where you face off against random characters within a set battle formula (for example, on the first level, you will always face 2 characters). These modes aren’t terribly exciting, but they do help you earn coins for other things (more on that later).
Along with these single player modes, there are Events and Stadium Modes. In Events, there are 50 unique scenarios involving several pairings of characters. The goals in each event vary, some require you to race characters, kill characters in a different order, unleash a final smash move, or just simply defeat the opponent(s). Events are quite fun, even if a few of them are quite challenging. As for Stadium Modes, they consist of Break The Targets (take a guess at what you do in this mode :p), Home Run Contest (the goal is to try and smack the sandbag as far as you can using the infamous baseball bat item), Multi-Man Brawl, and Boss Battles. Multi-Man Brawl involves facing off against computer controlled drones dubbed alloys, where the goal is to massacre as many as you can before you are knocked off the stage. Some variations of this mode, such as 3 minute, 15 minute, and Cruel brawl test your endurance, and how long you can remain on the stage, while 10 man and 100 man brawl test your ability to quickly knock foes off the stage. With the exception of the Subspace Emissary, Multi-Man Brawl is one of my favorite gameplay options, because of it’s intensity and challenge (however, new players might have some trouble getting a grip on these modes). Boss Battles is a completely different endeavor, where you are tasked with consecutively killing ten bosses featured in the game in random order. This mode is fun, but a bit more unforgiving, as it doesn’t offer the option to continue if you die like the other modes do (I can only play this mode on Easy or Normal for most characters).
If you’re working so hard to complete all these single player modes, there has to be some incentive, right? The answer is yes, and these incentives and rewards all lie within The Vault. Throughout your single player adventures, you will encounter a wide expanse of different goodies such as stickers, trophies, hidden music tracks, unlockable content such as characters, stages, events, pieces for stage creator, etc, and even demos of retro Nintendo classics. Pretty cool, huh? The game even has an achievement system of sorts, which is essentially a big wall filled with unlockables and their corresponding objectives. Or, if you're sick of grinding for achievements, you can always try your hand at the trophy launcher, a mini-game where you shoot coins you’ve earned through playing single player modes at trophies that scroll across the screen. My favorite part of The Vault is probably the stage creator mode, where you can build your own custom stages. In this feature, you are provided with numerous different blocks, obstacles, and platforms which can be arranged in whatever fashion you desire. As much as its fun to create your own stages, this mode is a little bit more restrictive than I would’ve liked. For one, the variety of parts is good, but a few more would’ve been nice, and maybe including more parts in a DLC pack would’ve been a good idea. Also, the stage creator has a limit of how many parts you can actually throw onto the creator, so that means no gargantuan-sized stages can be made. The mode is a bit primitive, but I’m sure it can be improved if it is included in a future installment.
So it’s all fine and dandy that the modes are good, but what about the characters, stages, and items? Luckily, all of these deliver in a stellar fashion. Brawl features a grand total of 35 playable characters. There are series veterans such as Mario, Link, Kirby, Fox, etc. along with 14 newcomers such as King Dedede, Wario, Meta Knight, etc. At the time of its release, many people were excited about Brawl because it was the first SB game to feature non-Nintendo characters such as Solid Snake and Sonic. As for the stages, there’s plenty of them. There are 31 completely original stages, such as Delfino Plaza, Warioware, and Pictochat, and there are 10 retro stages from previous games, such as fan-favorites Big Blue and Hyrule Temple. Items are a great offering as well, with old favorite items such as the beam sword, star rod, and the infamous hammer, along with fresh items such as the cracker launcher (a bazooka, essentially), the devastating smart bomb, and the 3-piece dragoon, which once all the parts are collected by the same player, grants the opportunity to instantly KO an opponent. I am truly impressed with the variety here, and I tip my metaphorical hat off to Nintendo for their effort.
Although this game is stellar for the most part, one thing that I was certainly disappointed with was the wi-fi connectivity. At first, I was thrilled that I would have the chance to battle other people online, and that was one of the big reasons I bought the game in the first place. However, the mode is crippled by enormous amounts of lag and is extremely prone to freezing. I’m pretty sure this issue wasn’t caused by my connection either, because other games that incorporate wi-fi worked perfectly. I will cut Nintendo some slack here- this was one of the earlier games to incorporate wi-fi, and honestly, I don’t think they truly perfected it until later games like Mario Kart Wii. The fact that the wi-fi is virtually unusable was extremely disappointing for me, but luckily the massive single player modes make up for it.
And lastly, graphics and sound. Nintendo put a lot of effort into both these areas, and it shows. All of the character models are well detailed, right down to the textures of clothing and other minute details like that. The models all move fluently as well- not one of them looks awkward or unnatural. The backgrounds are fairly good as well- the stage movements look nice along with scenery details looking great as well. The backgrounds admittedly aren’t very detailed at all, but they really don’t have to be, because you don’t really interact with them. Sound is way more extensive than it has been in past games. Each character has their own unique set of noises and sayings that go in accordance with their moves, and the items do as well. What really impressed me though, was the sheer amount of songs there are- most stages have at least 3, some as many as 9 or 10. Along with this, you have the option to select how often certain songs get played on stages, so you can customize what you want to hear. I was really impressed with this aspect of the game.
At the end of the day, Super Smash Brothers Brawl is a fantastic game. It has one of the longest single player experiences I’ve seen in awhile, the vs. mode is still fantastic, and more importantly, the overall gameplay is still as awesome as it always has been, but now has better stages, characters, and items to make the experience that much greater. Super Smash Brothers Brawl is one of the greatest games in the Wii’s catalog, and I highly recommend that you play it at least once.
Animal Crossing: City Folk for Wii
Mario Kart Wii for Wii
Mario Party 8 for Wii
Super Smash Brothers for Nintendo 64
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