Super Smash Brothers Brawl is the third in the long running Super Smash Brothers series which began on the Nintendo 64 and saw a second installment on the GameCube in the form of Super Smash Brothers Melee. When the announcement trailer for Super Smash Brothers Brawl debuted at E3 2006, Nintendo fans everywhere rejoiced, gazing at what would surely be one of the Wii’s best titles. Unfortunately, those same fans had to wait a bit longer than originally thought, as Brawl has certainly seen its share of delays, delays which finally ended upon the game’s release Sunday, March 9th.
After a long day of work on that very Sunday, I was finally able to sit down, Wavebird controller in hand and take the game through its paces. I started, as many likely have, by hopping into the Classic mode to unlock a few characters (including my Melee favorite, Captain Falcon) before venturing into the online arena. Alas, as soon as I started my first match (with Samus), something felt…off. The controls for some reason felt strange, almost slippery, in comparison to Melee. The control scheme, while identical to Melee, took some time to acclimate to but before I knew it, I was up and brawling with the best of them.
As I played through the Classic mode for the first time, there was something I was just itching to try out, something that piqued my curiosity from the very sight of it in the announcement trailer. I’m talking about the Final Smash, each character’s coup de grâce finishing move, which almost always results in a KO, should it hit home. As soon as a Smash Ball floated into the arena (alongside an accompanying gasp from the “crowd”) I rushed to break it open and, upon doing so, unleashed Samus’s Hyper Beam upon my hapless opponent, who was sent flying off the stage in an electric blue blaze of glory. Using each character’s Final Smash is an immensely satisfying and effective feat and one which was implemented incredibly well.
One of the faults that has plagued the Super Smash Bros series since the beginning is the lack of a worthwhile single player mode. In Super Smash Bros, the classic mode is fun but it’s essentially the same thing over and over again with different characters, which can grow tiring. Melee’s Adventure mode was a step in the right direction, but ultimately suffered from the same problem, it was hardly any different (if there was a difference at all) when using different characters. Thankfully many of these problems are addressed in Super Smash Bros Brawl in the form of the Subspace Emissary mode.
Subspace Emissary is an attempt to take the classic Smash Brothers formula, turn it into a side scrolling action/platforming title for up to two players co-operatively and wrap a story around it. This attempt works out remarkably well, creating an addictive and entertaining experience with no shortage of stylish and attractive cutscenes, interesting level design, and, most importantly, fast-paced action. Along the way, you’ll run into just about every character in the game, unlocking several of the secret characters as you go.
As with every Super Smash Brothers game, the emphasis is on the multiplayer action and Brawl once again delivers in spades. There is a great deal of four player fun awaiting you in this title, even more so now than ever before. Super Smash Bros Brawl does something never before seen in the series, and takes the multiplayer experience online. That’s right, in addition to the classic four player action centered around the same console; you can now join three of your friends take on random opponents from around the world. While the online experience isn’t quite as smooth as I’d hoped due to connection problems when trying to play with random opponents and scattered latency issues, I can’t say I’m not enjoying it, and the many online matches I’ve played with my friends have been some of the most fun I’ve had with the franchise in general.
Another thing that impressed me about the game was the sheer amount of content on the disc. Throughout the game’s development, Smash Bros Dojo kept us current on new content with a slew of updates on a consistent basis. I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to Halo 3, another title which was practically bursting at the seams with content. From secret characters to new music and extra arenas to a custom stage builder, there’s no shortage of things to see, do, and play around with in this title and the unlockable trophies and stickers (the latter of which can be applied to characters in the Subspace Emissary mode for enhanced abilities) will keep you busy for quite some time.
Super Smash Bros Brawl has certainly impressed in my short time with it and I don’t see things slowing up any time soon. I can see this is one Wii title that I’ll be playing for quite some time. I can’t get enough of the online throwdowns and there’s even more content just waiting to be unlocked. To put it simply, if you own a Wii, this game should be in your collection. While this is far from an official review, my opinion of the game thus far is very favorable.
Super Smash Bros Brawl has been a long time coming, but I highly doubt the vast majority of Wii owners and Smash Bros fans alike will be disappointed with the results.