Nintendo has recently released it’s latest in the Super Smash Bros. series. This time including a series first by also releasing it for their handheld system. Haven’t played Smash Bros. before and are wondering if it’s worth it’s price? Debating on which version to pick up? Don’t want to read another review with an arbitrary review score attached? If so read on to find out more!
New To Smash?
If you haven’t been introduced to the series yet Super Smash Bros. is a fighting game in which Nintendo series mascots and guest characters duke it out in a battle royale. Launched in 1999 on the Nintendo 64, this game series has been released on each home console from Nintendo. This is the fourth in the series.
The most highly regarded game in the series by many is Super Smash Bros. Melee which launched for the GameCube back in 2001. It is because of the GameCube controller’s layout and Melee’s popularity and entry into the Pro gaming world that Smash Bros. Brawl on the Wii(2008) included support for these controls through the ports included for GameCube backwards compatibility on the Wii.
Why is this important? This leads us to today and the limited run of Smash themed GameCube controllers and the GameCube Controller Adapter to allow them to be used on the Wii U that you may have seen online or in stores. This is because the GameCube controller is considered by many to be the way to play Smash Bros. The adapter has proven to be so popular that currently (as of 2014/11/30) you cannot find them in stores and only online through limited retailers. Although available online, they are listed for much higher than retail price. I haven’t been lucky enough to purchase one and do not want to pay higher than retail price so I have settled on the Classic/Classic Pro controller as my input method of choice.
Smash Bros. is a different type of fighting game. The controls are easy to pick up and learn with moves consisting of a standard and special attack. These two types of attacks are each mapped to individual buttons and are combined with directional presses of the joystick to change how they attack. Also, each can be charged by holding the attack button and directional press to deal more damage. There are no complex button combinations to pull of special attacks which leaves the game accessible to all. This gameplay, although simple, is extremely satisfying letting players focus on strategy and timing instead of memorizing powerful combos.
In addition to the simple fighting mechanics, the goal in this game is not to deplete an opponents health bar. Instead you must build up enemy damage percentage which helps them fly further and ultimately off screen for a KO. These two mechanics make for a refreshingly different fighting experience and one that is unique in the genre.
The current game contains a large roster of players, the largest of any Smash Bros. clocking in at 49 total fighters. Although a select few of characters are very similar in fighting style and attack moves, each varies in speed, power and defense. This leads each fighter to be unique and usually each player finds one or a handful of fighters that they play with on a regular basis. However, there is always something new to try and the number of fighters means there are plenty of fighters to rediscover when you tire of your favorites.
Previous game modes return in Smash, Classic and All-Star Modes giving veterans the classic smash they are accustomed to. Other game modes return as well including the Home Run Contest and Multi-Man Challenges. In addition to these game modes the Subspace Brawl has been replaced in both the 3DS and Wii U versions with different game types. The 3DS is a timed mini adventure moving around a large map fighting enemies for power ups to gain advantages for the final battle. The Wii U version is a board game where moving over spaces gives you stat boosts and conflicts or player collisions lead to battles where all players duke it out for the item/stat on the space.
Both versions of the game have online play. The 3DS allows you to play with anyone in casual or ranked matches while friend battles are separated out leaving you unable to team battle with a friend against anyone online. However, although friend matches are separate you can then customize match settings. The Wii U version allows the same online modes and customizations, however allows two players locally to play 2v2 team matches with others online. The online play is much better than Brawl and I have played several matches that were completely lag free. I have recently ran into many matches with a lot of lag, but I haven’t been able to determine if it’s my new router configuration or an issue with the Nintendo network. Either way the online experience is one of Nintendo’s best yet and is not a mode to skip if you tire of fighting the AI or if you don’t have any friends available locally to challenge you.
Compared to prior versions of Smash the fighting system is beautifully tuned and refined. Animations and transitions are fluid and impacts are more visual and extremely satisfying. This expert animation is also carried over into the menus. The backgrounds and selection item transitions contain slight animations that make the game much more visually interesting all without feeling out of place or in place just for show.
Music is also a large part of the series and you can adjust how frequently certain tracks play in the Wii U version. Both versions contain a Sound section where you can listen to all the tracks you have unlocked. The music spans all era’s of the fighters history and include original’s as well as artfully mastered remixes.
Trophies are back as well and this time a store is available in both game versions to allow you to purchase them with coins earned in battle. This is a nice departure from the coin game from Brawl and random chance in Melee. Although I personally enjoyed the coin shooting mini-game from Brawl, at least this way I feel that I am more likely to be able to unlock all of the trophies.
Screenshots can be taken at any time during battles as before in Brawl. These can then be viewed later in the games album section. There is also Miiverse integration allowing you to post screenshots from either game directly to Nintendo’s social network. All are nice touches and it’s great to record rare/funny moments in game that you can share with friends.
If you have played any of the games prior and enjoyed them, Smash Bros. is one of the latest reasons to own a Nintendo console. Due to the unique fighting gameplay I can see that this game would not be for everyone so I wont go as far as to say it’s a reason to buy a system without playing it first. I always encourage you to try before you buy. If you are looking at purchasing it on your 3DS there is a demo available in the eShop so you can try it first. Otherwise it is a worthy successor to the franchise and I find to be fully worth its $60(Wii U)/$40(3DS) USD price tag. This is one of the most well polished and truly enjoyable experiences I have had in gaming in a while.
Note: This is by no means a complete overview of all the features and modes in the game. If you would like to know more information about Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS you can visit the official site: www.smashbros.com
Do you own Smash Bros. on Wii U or 3DS? What are you thoughts on the latest game in the franchise? Let us know in the comments below! Also, if you liked this article, please like, subscribe and share!