i think i’ve been putting off writing this review b/c it means i have to sort through all the links i’ve accumulated since the game was first announced, but here it is. by now, the majority of people reading this have undoubtedly already played through a good part of super smash bros. brawl. the game certainly has enough additions to melee that it can be wholeheartedly recommended. however, since i didn’t have the 6 year gap between games that the fans who have played the other two incarnations into the ground have had (having only played through the other two games in the series last year) my experience was fairly different from many. still, despite being less starving for a new smash bros. game i devoured this installment with almost as much gusto.
as with melee, just mastering all of the additional characters will keep you busy for a long while, esp. since the developers made a point of adding characters that have noticeably different fighting styles than anything that has come before. the most extreme examples are snake and olimar who force you to use hit-and-run tactics much more than ever before. long-time fans will of course also be kept busy noting which characters and moves have been down or upgraded and be kept even busier arguing over which character is “the best”. at the core of any successful fighting game are balanced characters w/ balanced movesets, and brawl’s roster is certainly up to the high standard of the other games in the series. after the endless speculation the final roster is certainly a worthy one (wikipedia has a nice table showing how the roster has evolved), and although i’m sure everyone was disappointed not to see their favorite obscure character included, the addition of 3rd party characters for the first time (snake and sonic), assist trophies, and a few complete surprise choices definitely help ease the pain. an early favorite was ike (not surprising, considering how good he is in general and how much of a fire emblem freak i’ve become), but other favorites included snake and sonic b/c they both felt new in terms of gameplay and strategy, and zero-suit samus and pit who are both a bit weak but are just frickin’ cool.
the biggest addition to the game was the completely expanded adventure mode. the whole “fighter as platformer” setup still doesn’t completely succeed, but the variety of enemies and boss battles and searching for hidden stickers and statues kept me interested for a fair amount of the way through. also, the adventure mode is full of FMV’s (which are prob. the closest we’ll ever come to a nintendo movie) and really kept me playing. nintendo seems to be embracing FMV’s in general a lot more than they ever did before, which to me can only be a good thing.
i’m still somewhat ambivalent about the final smashes. it’s great that they change the game dynamics and they look great onscreen, but getting one does seem a bit too much based on luck at times. i suppose having a longer match would help balance this out. this is def. one of those cases where casual players will prob. like it and use it more than the more hardcore crowd.
my only big complaint was the online multiplayer. the lag made online play pretty much unusable, and even weeks later it still hasn’t gotten any better. a serious oversight, although there’s still time for this to be improved. we’ll just have to see. but the game is so packed full of extras that it should still tide us over to the next installment pretty well. some of the challenges seem more pointless than others, but in any case the number of characters and the amount of nintendo love crammed into every inch is sure to make nintendo fanboys like me goofily happy for a good long while.
now for some brawlin’ links:
– at the top of the list is the official site, which teased us with the latest tidbits of information that we consumed so eagerly that it even helped stave off the disappointment due to all the delays
– this secrets list at the official site will help you keep track of all the unlockables and this FAQ at gamefaqs.com will help you figure out which challenge to tackle next.
– there are a ton of videos floating around, but these collections of highlights are entertaining.
– on the metal gear stage snake can call for info on his opponents. the official site shows how to do it, and someone’s archived them all on youtube. they’ve also been transcribed here.
– complete trophies list (most w/ images) at brawlcentral.com. the official site also has a complete list of the stickers.
– totally, totally, totally awesome caramelldansen video featuring all the characters from brawl at youtube.com.
– and to end, here’s a youtube video of all the final smashes.