* Awarded Extreme Gamer's Best Wii Game of '08
Nintendo seems to pump out a few “essential” classic franchise remakes every year, in 2008 we have the Wii release of a new Super Smash Brothers along with the future hopes for a little racing game called Mario Kart. In this bleak wasteland of quality Wii exclusives, Super Smash Bros. Brawl is not only a river of hope looking to revitalize Wii gaming, its actually one of the years most anticipated titles, period. Welcome to our long winded review of Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl (SSBB) makes its long await return on the Wii. This is one of the big games for the console and gamer’s palms have been sweating in anticipation to get their hands on this updated franchise fighter. In basics, Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a simple fighting game that lends itself to the multiplayer party game genre. With friends hanging around or even online with the Wii, SSBB is a fun excuse to burn away a number of hours fighting classic Nintendo characters against each other. If you want a more deep experience surprisingly SSBB can play that role as well. Even as basic as Brawl looks and feels, this simple and easy game can be a tough nail-biting experienced with or without experienced players.
And the contestants are...
The roster in Super Smash Bros. hasn’t changed too much in its three alliterations. This year Nintendo increases the number of characters from the Nintendo Universe and then adds a few special appearances from other games outside of Nintendo. Since, SSBB attention is focused on its combatants lets take a look at 2008s roster of brawlers in SSBB. Characters who have been featured in all three Smash Brothers games include Captain Falcon (F-Zero), Fox (Star Fox), Jigglypuff & Pikachu (Pokemon), Kirby (Kirby), Link (Legend of Zelda), Luigi, Mario & Yoshi (Mario), Ness (Earthbound) and Samus (Metroid).
The newcomers this year include Diddy Kong, Ike (Fire Emblem), King Dedede and Metal Knight (Kirby), Lucario (Pokemon), Lucas (Earthbound), Olimar (Pikmin), Pit (Kid Icarus), the robot toy R.O.B., Snake (Metal Gear), Toon Link (Zelda), Wario (Wario Ware), Wolf (Star Fox), Zero Suit Samus (Metroid) and Nintendo’s long time rival, Sonic the Hedgehog. Along with the old cast, long timers and new entries your dream matches can happen in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The thought of Sonic vs. Mario is an interesting match up along with others classic showdowns like Wario vs. Mario, or the provocative dream match of Samus vs. Snake. In total there are 35 characters to do battle with, 14 of them that are unlockables.
From One to Four
Unlike other some other fighting games, Smash Bros. is accessible to all levels of gamers. Battles take place with two to four players fighting in a themed stage. You can win the match by knocking your enemies out of bounds or dealing enough damage to them that they instantly cruise off the board. The more damage you do to your enemies the farther they move when hit. This makes each fight totally different taking into account the unique stages and the out-of-bounds formula. Battles can go from more methodical move/counter move actions to all out frantic button mashing episodes.
Besides the main “Brawl” mode you can do battle in a Group Mode with more than one player or start up a Special Melee game which allows players to customize the rules of a match. There is a standard tournament mode renamed as Tourney and a spin-off mode called Rotation that lets up to 16 players fight against each others with the fighters going in a rotation. If you want some solo time with SSBB there is a solo mode that can be played in a Classic mode or the Adventure mode. The solo mode puts you in a number of randomly generated matches with different difficulties with over sixty events in total. If you want the action without the drama, you will want to explore this option before the adventure mode.
For more substance, or what substance Super Smash can offer there is the Adventure Mode called The Subspace Emissary. This mode follows a loose storyline that incorporates the multiple levels in SSBB along with a few captivating boss battles. Take it or leave it, The Subspace Emissary only way to pull a storyline out of SSBB. To help convince players that this is real flushed out single player campgian its filled with stunning cut scenes to push along the plot. The story goes like this, a new faction lead by the Ancient Minister called the Subspace Army invade a match taking place staring Mario and Kirby. The army drops an incapacitating bomb that pulls part of the world into subspace. This leads the worlds’ greatest heroes to step up and fight the army head-on. The storyline has a few surprises, but overall it is nothing too shocking. At best it provides another way to enjoy the action within Smash Bros. with a few beautifully put together movies to watch in-between bouts. Even better then going solo, you can play this mode with a friend picking which character to use as you track down the latest threat in the Nintendo Universe.
It's a brave new ONLINE world
For the first time in the games history, Super Smash Bros. heads online with Brawl. Quick matching into the action you can participate in team or solo vs. matches to test your skills against the world. Hooking up online with friends takes a little more time because Nintendo uses the friend code system, but once you get friends involved you’ll have can customize things just how you like them and even invite other local players into battle. One important factor in the success of an online fighting game is lag, or lack of lag, and I'm happy to report, SSBB lag is very minimal. Besides the fighting you can also save replays and screenshots and send them to anyone on your friends list. This is a nice option to include so you can saviour that perfect win against a rivalled friend.
Pick Your Controller
The controls in Super Smash Bros. Brawl are dumbed down with only two attack buttons. This gives the gamer one dedicated button for normal attacks and the other to use a special move. Also factored into the equation is the Nunchuck and Wii-mote that can accent attacks when moved a certain way when pressed with the button. If you’re not into the Wii-mote/Nunchuck deal you can plug in your Classic Controller, old Gamecube controller, or just use the Wii-mote to game in SSBB. Using any of the different controls are more of a personal preference deal, although I was surprised that Nintendo didn’t try and capitalize in the unique functionality of the motion capabilities of the Wii.
One good point towards the idea of a basic control scheme is that new fighters can take down veteran brawls with a little luck. You can be in a room with a bunch of gamers with varied skill levels and have fun without being ashamed of being beaten down to often, or taking it easy on a new gamer. In the battles a quick mind doesn’t have the advantage over quick reflexes. Smash Bros. and its combatants are all on an equal playing ground with slight advantages and disadvantages, but in the end everything comes out perfectly balanced.
Boxers, Pixels and Moles
Slightly unbalancing these perfect bouts are items that spawn around the levels that can be used to get an advantage over your opponents. These include health items and weapons such as the rare Golden Hammer or the Beam Sword or Home-run Bat from previous games. There are also power alternating items like Mario’s Super-sizing Mushroom, Super Spicy Curry, or the Franklin Badge that makes you invulnerable to projectiles. There are also assist trophies that can call in help from non-playable characters. In the case of the trophies you won’t know who will arrive to help until you use it. Appearing in all shapes and sizes from the Nintendo Universe you might see Little Mac from Punch Out! Mr. Resetti the mole miner from Animal Crossings or even more odd the pixelated motorcycle that could from Excite Bike.
More... More... More...
There is definitely a lot to Brawl then you would expect. Along with all the above mentioned details the outstanding ability to create customized battle zones with the stage-editor tool. From scratch this intuitive interface lets you put together a suitable stadium to jump online and share with friends in battle. They have also included a number of mini-games that diversify the action even more. After you’ve completed the Subspace adventure, SSBB validates itself than more than a rental with all the gaming it provides.
The graphical content in Brawl is one of the best games we’ve seen on the Wii. The frame-rate is a rock solid and the quality of the characters is above their normal standards. There is a lot of value wrapped into the storyline mode with perfectly matched cut-scenes animating your favourite characters. Brawl makes it believable through its art that this world and all the characters seem to fit with each other even though their origins are all mixed up. Really, a plumber fighting a huge inflating pink puffball isn’t anything we could imagine in the real world.
Rounding out the presentation aspect in Brawl is the audio department. This is where smash falls into the typical Nintendo-ish sound with a highlight on the soundtrack. There are a lot of songs included into the mix ranging from new compositions and tracks from other Nintendo games. In total I believe SSBB boasts over 100 tracks which is more than enough of a selection to accompany the battles.
Nintendo has done it again, creating another “must-have” Wii game built on an old franchise. Super Smash Bros. was due for an update and it seems the timing has been perfectly worked out to showcase Nintendo’s value in the gaming market with Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Nintendo’s simplistic approach, content filled brawler goes above and beyond expectations and then goes a step further adding some much needed online gaming to the mix.
If you’ve ever enjoyed a Nintendo product in the past then you owe it to Wii to check out Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Even if you don’t enjoy typical fighting games you might find a few smiles locked within Brawl. Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a fun and easy going experience that can be enjoyed by alone or with friends. If you’ve ever debated a fantasy “who would win” scenario, Brawl takes some of the most legendary video-game characters and throws them in a ring to crown a true champion.
Gameplay:9, Graphics: 9, Sound: 8, Innovation: 8, Mojo: 10. Final: 8.8 / 10
Extreme Gamer's Wii GOTY 2008 / Runner-Up: Best Fighting Game 2008
This action-packed fighting game features a ridiculous number of characters that have appeared on Nintendo platforms, from Mario to Link to Pikachu ... to Solid Snake and Sonic the Hedgehog! As they square off in famous locales drawn from the rich history of Nintendo, literally anything can happen - and usually does. With limitless customizing options, items and weapons that boggle the mind and a wealth of modes, this game has truly infinite replayability.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl features a sprawling adventure mode called "The Subspace Emissary" that's a full game in and of itself. Players jump and brawl their way through enemy-packed side-scrolling levels, meeting up with other characters, watching incredible cinematics and taking on massive bosses. It can even be played by two players cooperatively.
For the first time, this celebrated series is going Wi-Fi, allowing up to four players to brawl, no matter where they may be. Not only can you brawl with friends or strangers, but you can also send custom-made stages or screenshots to pals.