Game Review: Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Platform: Wii Published: Nintendo Developed: Game Arts Genre: Fighting
This is the third installment of Nintendo’s fan service game Super Smash Bros. Loaded with many Nintendo characters, and even some guest characters, this game pits them against each other in a unique fighting system unlike any other. In this iteration many fan favorite characters make a comeback such as Mario, Link, Pikachu, and many others, as well as newcomers like Pit, Wario, Lucario and even some non-Nintendo characters such as Solid Snake and Sonic.
Like its previous versions, Brawl uses the same game mechanics as before. The way to defeat your opponents is to throw them outside of the viewport. The way to accomplish this is to make use of Super Smash Bros.’ percentage system. The way this works is that instead of having health, like in most fighting games, Super Smash has a percentage on each player. The higher the percentage a player has, the further the player flies away from the platform in which they are fighting. While Smash attacks, which are charged up attacks, are the best way to finish off someone, regular attacks are used to increase the percentage on the player’s opponents.
The modes available in this game are the same as its previous versions with the addition of a new one called Subspace Emissary. The modes include the Classic Mode, which involves having the player defeat a series of random enemies until the player reaches the end where they face the dreaded Master Hand. On the way there, they are able to play some bonus stages, such as “Break the Target” which has the player destroying targets under a certain amount of time in a maze with obstacles. Other modes include Event mode, which sets up scenarios for the player to overcome, Stadium mode, which has mini-games, and the Vs. Mode which is a battle between two or up to four players.
While previous games made no attempt to explain how all of these heroes and villains are linked together in the storyline, Brawl has a new single player mode called Subspace Emissary that tells the story of how all the characters have met. The story was written by Kazushige Nojima, the famous writer of many of the Final Fantasy series which shows in the quality of this story.
Another new feature to this game is the online versus mode. This feature allows players to go online and play against their friends or unknown players. In order for the player to play with his/her friends, the player must have their Friend Codes in hand the first time they play the game. Playing with unknown players is done by randomly assigning the player with someone online. This system for setting up matches is not very robust and can be frustrating to the player. The fact that players can play with their friends is a good idea, however the Friend Code system is convoluted at best since it assigns a new Friend Code for each game, therefore, to get the Friend Codes for all your friends, the player must contact everyone to obtain their codes. The online play with unknown players has the disadvantage that it doesn’t even try to match players with other players of similar skills.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl is an excellent sequel to its predecessor which adds interesting new characters into the mix without affecting the already balanced roster. The new Subspace Emissary mode is one of the greatest new additions to the game. The story is well planned out and shows the player an interesting story of how all of these characters meet to destroy the enemy that they all have in common. The music of the game is amazingly filled with music of all of the games in which the characters have appeared with both original music and new remixes. In addition, the renowned Nobuo Uematsu, the Final Fantasy series music composer, was also brought on board to compose the game’s main theme. The new characters are fun to play with and add to the already great gameplay. The only real down side to this game is its online feature. Its problem to setup matches and the laggy games that take place when playing makes the online feature more or less a bust. Perhaps if Nintendo had a better interface with online matches, half of these issues would go away. A ranking system would be an ideal way to set up players with other players of similar skill. The lag in matches could only be solved through more optimized code.
In conclusion, Super Smash Bros. Brawl makes great improvements on all previously existing modes yet creates a new problem with its networking. Perhaps the next time around they’ll dedicate more effort on the networking issues. Overall Brawl is a fun way to show your buddies who is the strongest Nintendo hero or villain of them all and even, for all old school players, can decide who is better; Sonic or Mario.