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Platform

Wii

 

Genre

Fighting

 

Publisher

Nintendo

 

Developer

Sora / Game Arts

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

March 9, 2008

 

 

- A huge roster of characters and levels in the best-looking Smash Bros. yet

- Multiplayer is as fun as ever

- Technical fighters and button mashers come together

- Subspace Emissary mode is crazy but fun

 

 

- Online multiplayer is awful

 

 

Review: Super Smash Bros. Melee (GC)

Review: Rumble Roses XX (360)

Review: NeoGeo Battle Coliseum (PS2)

 

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Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Score: 10 / 10

 

smash bros brawl          smash bros brawl

 

Super Smash Bros. Brawl is all about having fun, particularly for long-time Nintendo fans since just about everything from Game & Watch to WarioWare to Kid Icarus to Pokemon to the 16-bit rivalry between Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario is included.

 

Rather than get drawn into the “But Is It a Real Fighting Game?” debate, it’s much easier to sum the game up as pure fun.

 

Besides the fighting, the other main mode is titled, “Subspace Emissary”, which is just a crazy conglomeration of Nintendo characters, like Luigi, Samus, Yoshi, 

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Pikachu, and Capt. Olimar, (and a dozen others) along with guest stars Solid Snake and Sonic the Hedgehog attemping to triumph over a threat to the “Smash Bros.” universe, which involves the evil machinations of Ganadorf, Bowser, Master Hand, and some guy named Tabuu.  It’s a light platforming experience throughout and shouldn’t pose too 

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much of a problem for anyone willing to put in the time to fight through the whole “plot”, which you will want to do as it’s a good way to unlock characters.

 

Before many of the stages in Subspace Emissary and depending on what strand of the plot you’re playing through, there’s a chance to choose the characters that will tackle the level, so teaming up Yoshi and Link isn’t out of the question.  Even better, you can play alongside a teammate during co-op mode.

 

smash bros brawl          smash bros brawl

Some things never change: inflict damage to your opponent by beating them senseless or knocking them out of the fighting arena.

 

Like the previous Smash games, Brawl features a ton of playable characters and many, many different fighting arenas that are callbacks to previous Smash levels and some completely new ones, like Luigi’s haunted mansion.  The variety and different combinations feel overwhelming for Nintendo fans, of which I am one.  Do you play around with Zelda or use Diddy or Donkey Kong?  How does Starfox play?  What about Meta Knight?  Wario?  The Ice Climbers?  Marth?  Figuring out the strengths and weaknesses of each character and balancing that against the design of each level should take even experienced players a long time.

 

This is to say nothing of the realm of the randomly dropped power-ups.

 

What are the advantages of grabbing the laser sword over going for the Pokéball?  What does the hammer do?  90% of the time, the game is almost too frantic, too busy to really bother with strategy or consider what is going on.  Usually, it’s totally based on reacting to your opponents rather than playing to control the flow of the fight. (At least, that’s the way I play it.)  But that’s okay, because it’s fun and moves at an awesome speed.  

 

“Variety” is a theme throughout Brawl, even the music. (Reportedly there were 36 composers involved in development of Brawl’s soundtrack.)  Besides that, players have a host of options to control the fighters, including support for the GameCube controller.

 

And then there’s all that extra stuff that really has nothing to do with the game, like collecting trophies and stickers then looking at them.

 

smash bros brawl          smash bros brawl

 

One addition that I really liked was the inclusion of a utility that allows players to pause the game, reposition the camera, and take a picture or two.  It doesn’t have the same functionality as something like Halo 3’s replay feature, but it’s a neat feature.

 

Possibly the only downside to Brawl is the spotty online play.  Setting up a game with a friend – through the use of Friend Codes – provides better results but just dropping into a match is awful.  When you can connect, the lag is game-killing.  You’ll find yourself on firm footing one second then sailing out of the ring the next.  I didn’t have this problem with Mario Strikers Charged, so why can’t this work?  There’s also the lack of voice chat, which is more the fault of the Wii hardware than the game.  These failings can almost be completely absolved – Smash has always been about having three friends over and having fun (nevermind that the N64 and GameCube lacked online support).

 

Brawl’s only failing is the online multiplayer component, which is fortunately a small part of the overall package.  Otherwise, it’s the absolute pinnacle of the Smash Bros. series and a fun game to boot.

 

- Omni

(March 27, 2008)

 

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