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Saturday | August 15, 2020
Super Smash Bros Brawl

Super Smash Bros Brawl

Super Smash Brothers Melee was the Gamecube’s biggest selling title, shifting an amazing six million copies when it was released in 2001. This game was so popular there are dedicated groups of fans still playing it. The combination of rampant, exhilarating level design and hot multiplayer action has assured its place in the annals of gaming history.

Brawl you will be pleased to hear keeps the games histrionics intact while delivering even more value for money. There are now 35 characters (compared to 26 in Melee) as well as over 40 different themed levels lovingly hand crafted.

Masahiro Sakurai is once again the director in charge of Brawl and with the Sora development team they have gone all out to bring the latest game in this franchise to life. Stunning attention to detail is the order of the day. It is in fact quite difficult to be critical about this title because it really is that good. The music score alone is worth the price of this game as it features over 40 musicians with epic masterpieces from famous game artists such as Masafumi Takada  (Killer 7) and Akihiro Honda (Metal Gear Solid 4).

If you have no idea what Smash Brothers is about, it is a multiplayer based series of fast action 2d fighting games that feature the characters from the Nintendo world. If you are one of those geeks who likes to argue with friends making  comments like “Mario would kick Fox McCloud’s ass in a fight, are you kidding me ?!” then this game will be a dream come true. Nintendo have expanded their plethora of characters this time and we even get guys like Sonic the Hedgehog and Solid Snake. They all have their own signature moves and attacks as well.

If you tire of games like Tekken which require you to master 14 button presses to achieve a simple kick then fear not, because the joy of Super Smash Brothers has always been the simplistic nature of the combat. To win you have to knock your enemy out of the arena with one of the many smash attacks at your disposal. The amount of damage your character receives is measured in a percentage system and the higher this is the farther you will fly when you are hit. These battles are immensely fun, fast paced and they can often turn into epic marathons with the sweat literally lacing your controller by the time it is over. I would like to say however that just because the combat is simplistic in nature it doesn’t mean it is shallow.

Each character in Brawl has their own strength and weaknesses and you will need to master how each of them fight before becoming a true master of the game. You need to learn how to protect yourself just as much as you will need to learn how to dish out maximum pain. The game is so much more enjoyable if you know the weaknesses of your opponent as it will often end up in a cat and mouse scenario with each of you ducking and diving, waiting for an opening so you can land that killer blow. There is actually a huge amount of strategy involved to win a game against a skilled opponent, this is NOT just another button masher.

The level design is equally masterful with some amazing ideas emerging from the creative development team, quite often you can use the terrain to your advantage if you are skilled enough, equally so, it can be used against you ! During combat there will be a wide array of items appearing on the battlefield, able to be used by the person who reaches them first. These items range from defensive or healing objects, to offensive guns or swords. Cleverly if you are aware of Nintendo’s game past these items will be recognisable. Many of these were in the last Smash Brothers game however there are new items such as the super spicy curry which allows you to breathe fire for a short time. There is also a new feature called assist trophies which let you summon non playable characters to aid you in battle.

The first issue raises its ugly head however as a few of these items ruin the game as they inflict far too much damage. Thankfully Nintendo have wisely let you toggle all the items on or off in the options beforehand, so you can tailor the game to your exact requirements. I always turn the warp star item off, if you buy this game you will see why !

Brawl is immensely customisable, you can alter the gravity, the character size, the game speed, the powerups and you can turn the characters metal or even invisible. If you are playing a person much more skilled than you, you can also set up handicaps to even the balance a little.

Team mode is great fun and again has a huge array of options open to the players. You can set up timed games, last man standing games and even coin collecting games. Tournaments are trouble free to set up, modes are already preset for up 32 players on a single console and a rotational playing mode.

Brawl is the first game in the franchise to let you play online. If you only have a short time to play you can find a game online and the system will help you find three competitors to play against. Everyone gets to pick a character and a preferred level and once the game starts the stages will be picked from these player choices at random and the brawl erupts.

If you have several buddies you wish to play with online, you do so by connecting with the friend codes method. These friend game modes unlock even more options with local play modes available as well as a few other bonus types. You can add more local players into these online games, such as a family member or friend beside you. Unfortunately some of the games I played online could suffer from lag, so it might be a little hit and miss. When you get a good connection it is like playing locally, however if you don’t, it just ruins the whole game experience.

Another pretty cool option is the ability to save a full replay of an online match for viewing later (it is limited to 3 minutes), there is also the option to save snapshots from these replays. I tested this by playing a friend online, taking a snapshot of me pwning his a$$ and then using Wiiconnect24 to send him the screenshot. It certainly brought a smile to my face !

Brawl includes a vast selection of unique and cleverly designed battlefields, however if you find them becoming tiresome you have a map/stage creator tool so you can design your own. The interface is easily accessible to young kids with size, background picture and theme song options all prebuilt. Once these are chosen you can add various objects from the library into the level and save it for later use. You can even share these home made levels with friends via Wiiconnect24.

It is a break from Gaming Heaven tradition to focus on multiplayer first, however the game really is all about the multiplayer, right? Well not entirely because believe it or not the single player challenges are also a lot of fun. Classic mode pits you in a sequence of battles, then two bonus stages and finally you battle “Master Hand” the eerie looking hand that has been a mainstay of the franchise. Classic mode changes every time you play it so it really has some long term playability options. Event mode is a different take on the single player experience as you have a series of individual challenges forcing you to complete specific objectives to win the game. There is even a training mode so you can hone your skills before heading into single or multiplayer game modes. Stadium mode is a race against the clock to destroy objects scattered around an obstacle course. Multiman Brawl is a fun experience, you are forced to fight multiple enemies at the same time, and it can prove a hell of a challenge.

The meat and bones of single player mode however is the adventure mode called “subspace emissary”. all the characters join together in an epic battle against unknown forces. You take control over various characters in this mode and their storylines become interwoven as the game progresses. It is worth mentioning that the cutscenes in this game are of the highest quality possible and I was literally rolling around in laughter in my chair watching some of them.

Subspace emissary is a side scrolling platforming style game filled with the usual moving platforms, enemies, ladders etc and all of these are modelled on the games many of the characters come from. It is again, an enjoyable way to kill time and lasts around 10 hours, so it is certainly not just a hashed in addition to the multiplayer game experience. You can even play the subspace emissary mode cooperatively with a friend.

There has been much debate about the graphics on the Wii, mainly their lack of high definition and the comparisons with the graphically capable 360 and PS3. Brawl however really shows how the Wii can shine if properly coded for and the game is one of the most impressive visual feasts available for Nintendo’s latest console. There are no dips in frame rate even with a screen full of characters and each of the characters has been lovingly modelled and animated to the highest standards I have seen. They have the full gamut of facial expressions often lacking with character development, so when you see one of the guys taking a hard punch, his face will clearly show it!

As I mentioned earlier the audio sound track is simply delightful, with over 100 songs from the world’s greatest game composers and is performed by over 40 individual musicians. I really cannot compliment it enough.

If you have read all of this review and already own a Nintendo Wii, then there is no hesitation in me recommending this game, it is one of the handful of must have titles on the Wii right now, right up there with Super Mario Galaxy. The simple control method is a pleasure to use and will reward beginners, yet have enough depth to appeal to the pros. The variety of modes both in single and multiplayer as well as options to save and share replays, screenshots with friends and even build your own levels just further add value for money to sweeten the deal. It really is one of the best multiplayer designed games on any console.

What on earth are you still reading this for? Get online and order it now !

Truly one of the greatest multiplayer experiences ever. A must have game.
Pushing the Wii right to its limits, detailed characters and beautifully designed levels.
One of the best game soundtracks ever created for a game. Great sound effects too.
Incredible long term gameplay, sure to be played 5 years from now.
(not an average)
One of the best games ever coded. Even worth buying a Wii for !


About Author

Stuart Davidson

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