Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Complete Score: 28 / 42 = 67%

Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the third entry in the beloved Nintendo fighting franchise and the first iteration for the Wii. It is a fighting game that brings together many popular and obscure Nintendo characters for a brawl fest on multi-tiered organic stages.

It has that “OK, only more game…” quality

In the newest installment, Nintendo decided to include popular characters from other companies, the main additions being Solid Snake from the Metal Gear franchise and classic Sega character Sonic the Hedgehog. With few gameplay changes, the game manages to keep the fighting as fast and intense as the previous editions. But can it stack up to the deep fighting experiences of games like Soul Caliber IV and Virtua Fighter 5?

Value

At $50, the game is priced the same as many of the Wii games on the market today. However, with the amount of unlockables in the game, the replay value is very high. The single player story mode will take most gamers about seven hours to go through. The game also features 35 characters and over 30 different stages to battle on. On top of the single player story mode, there are also numerous challenges to complete in order to unlock character art, game music, and trophies that encompass nearly every game in Nintendo’s library.

To go along with the single player, the multiplayer mode supports up to four players simultaneously. Adding four players to the levels can become overwhelming with the amount of objects on screen at once. However, this adds to the intensity when four people are huddled in a room yelling at each other every time a player gets knocked off the stage. Multiplayer is incredibly addictive and gamers with a good group of friends could challenge each other for months. For people who don’t have friends, there is the stripped down online mode where gamers can challenge anyone from the world. There is enough packed into this game to keep people busy for a long time.

The only reason this game doesn’t receive a perfect score in Value is because gamers who don’t have online or people to play with locally could easily become bored with the game. The carrot on a stick grind that the single player is based on could turn some people off.

Score: 4 / 5

Bowser smashing some fools
Bowser smashing some fools

Quality

The first thing that you notice about Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the presentation itself. It is the best looking game on the Wii, barely edging out Super Mario Galaxy. The colors are bright and vibrant with excellent character movement. The game sometimes slows down, but usually stays at 30 FPS. This is incredible when you see the amount of different characters and objects that can fill the screen. Also, the sound is amazing and will make many Nintendo fan boys tear up. The music ranges from popular games such as Zelda and Mario, to more hardcore beloved games like Excite Bike and F-Zero. The presentation is excellent and much credit goes to the game’s developers.

While there are many different characters and stages packed into the game, the most important aspect is the actual fighting gameplay itself. There are no health bars, but instead a percentage on the lower half of the screen. The more a player gets hit, the higher the percentage bar increases. The object is to weaken a player to the point where they can be knocked off the level and lose the match.

The levels can get crazy, with many moving parts to each stage. For example, one level is on an airship where different sections are falling off, forcing the player to jump onto different platforms. For a gamer new to the fighting genre, this can be fun and unpredictable, creating a different experience each time.

Speaking of new players, gamers who are picking up a fighting game for the first time will love Super Smash Bros. Brawl They can easily mash away at buttons and slowly ease their way into the fighting game genre. However, more experienced players can use the stages and certain power moves to their advantage to knock the players off the level.

The nature of the ever changing stages creates an imbalance that leads many cheap deaths, frustrating more experienced gamers who are used to pulling off precision combos. When stacked up against a game like Virtua Fighter 5, Super Smash Bros. Brawl is child’s play. The button mashing happy gameplay can become real shallow, real quick. After a couple of hours of play, I began to tire of hitting the same one or two buttons over and over, no matter what character you use.

Score: 3.5 / 5

The Princess punishing fools
The Princess punishing fools

Innovation

Super Smash Bros. Brawl feels like a minor tune up from Super Smash Bros. Melee more than a true sequel. Nintendo decided to keep the gameplay intact, instead focusing on overloading gamers’ senses with more character, trophies, and stages. If you have played any of the other games in the Super Smash Bros. series, you will feel right at home with this game.

The only major addition to the game is the Subspace Emissary story mode in single player. The story mode feels more like a platforming game with fighting game elements mixed in. While much more creative than the story mode in Soul Caliber IV or Virtua Fighter 5, the story isn’t that great, especially since none of the characters speak. It’s your typical evil villain tries to destroy the world and only the game’s characters can stop it. It is not enough of a change to make it feel new, only slightly refined.

Score: 1.5 / 5

Social Benefit

Super Smash Bros. Brawl is one of those games that can bring people together and keep them glued to the TV for hours. This can be a problem because it can prevent people from going outside and catching the occasional rays of sun light that the world has to offer. Fresh air is a great thing, and this game can prevent people from getting it.

But then again, you can get many people together in a room to play and have hours of fun. On weekends, this could prevent people from getting drunk and driving, leading to possible fatal accidents. It is also a good stress reliever and a good way to vent frustration, especially with friends. A heated argument between friends could easily be resolved with a game of Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Score: 3 / 5

Mario vs. Zelda, the ultimate Nintendo brawl
Mario vs. Zelda, the ultimate Nintendo brawl

Freestyle!

Personally, this was a difficult game to review because I had so much fun playing it. Fun is a word that seems to pop up over and over again in this review, but the only time I really had fun was when I was playing with other people. I’ve had some sessions that lasted for more than three hours when I had a good group of friends playing. It has that “OK, only more game…” quality that many games lack.

However, the single player gets very boring very quickly. Part of the fun of this game is the competitive nature of trash talking and psyching out your opponents. If that element is missing you begin to realize how simple the gameplay is. Online play could have remedied this problem if it wasn’t limited due to the lack of voice chat and an easily accessible friends list.

While many Nintendo fan boys are already itching to respond to this review with nasty responses even before I’m finished, what I am saying is true if you really think about it. It’s a shame because you can tell that so much love and hard work was put into the game by the developers. I only wish that they focused more on creating a deeper fighting experience rather than throwing in more bells and whistles.

Score: 16 / 22

Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Nintendo Wii is available at Amazon.com. (Note, Amazon.com is our affiliate).

Note, all gameplay images are via the Nintendo web-site.

Complete Score: 28 / 42 = 67%

One thought on “Super Smash Bros. Brawl”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *