The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet


The cliché should be "you don’t want to open that can of bees."

March 17th, 2008 Posted by | Bullshit | no comments

Super Smash Bros. Brawl: Second look

I’ve now finished the adventure mode, I’ve played Classic a few times, done a bunch of events and training matches, Brawled against CPUs (many many times), and played with the coin shooter and the level builder. So I have a bit more to say now. This might also get mildly spoiler-y about unlockables, but I’ll try not to be too awful.

First off, Brawling is hilariously fun. Even just against three CPUs, it’s a blast; I only have one controller (and they’re a bit hard to find at present), but I’ll try out the internet play shortly and report on that then. But even just to pick up a controller and throw down against three CPUs is, as I say, a good time. There are a generous ton of characters to choose from (I have 33 presently and there are still more I haven’t unlocked), a whole lot of levels (I think I have 37 with many to go), and a huge number of items.

Speaking of the levels, there’s a massive amount of variety. Some of them are the bizarre scrolling platform-type levels that I don’t really care for, some are more traditional “arenas,” some have destructible features (floors, walls, you name it), and so forth, but they all have two things in common: they all have some scripted weirdness that’s going to happen sooner or later, and they’re all fun. Well, I imagine they’re all fun for somebody, anyhow; I personally hate the stupid upward-scrolling jumpy level just as much as I hated Icicle Mountain back in Melee, but I’m sure somebody likes it or it wouldn’t be there. Fortunately, if you don’t like a level, you can just toggle it out of your rotation and still use “random levels” without ever having to play on it. That’s my kind of thinking right there.

The Smash Ball is hysterical. It appears and floats around the screen, and you have to break it by attacking in order to get it. Whoever has it can use a “final smash,” which is a very powerful attack that varies by character. But if somebody other than you picks it up, you can make him drop it if you hit him enough before he’s used it. It’s great when the game becomes a scramble for the floating ball, and the final smashes themselves are a lot of fun; my character of choice (Ness) has one of the better ones, and I’ve caused all kinds of havoc on the poor CPUs with it.

The adventure mode is keen, but (as I said in the comments on the previous post) I didn’t really get into the boss battles. The last one in particular had a few attacks that kind of made me call bullshit, and the mechanics make it difficult to fight an opponent who doesn’t flinch when hit, since you effectively flinch every time you attack. It’s a kind of odd experience to be fighting a standard platform-type boss with a fighting game character. There are lots of cutscenes to watch in the adventure mode, but they’re mostly enjoyable; short little vignettes that actually tell their story very effectively given that there’s no screen text and exactly two spoken lines the whole way through.

I like the bonus modes a lot this time around; they provide a lot of variety, and it’s nice to have difficulty settings available on the events. I’m fond of the Big Wall of Unlockables, since it’s good to have some hints about what to do to unlock more stuff (that don’t come from the internet), and the trophies are still fun. Stickers I like a bit less, mainly because I don’t really understand the thousand picky little categories of attack power buff that they’re good for in adventure mode. For example: is PK Fire a fire attack, a Psi attack, a Magic attack, an Energy attack, a Specials: Direct attack, a Specials: Indirect attack, or some combination of the above? I don’t know and it doesn’t want to tell me.

The level builder is barebones (don’t expect to be able to make any of the levels the game ships with), but fun, and better than not having a level builder. I don’t really understand why it doesn’t use the pointer, though; this sort of task is a great environment for point controls, and it saddles us with back-and-forth D-pad nonsense instead. I’ve made a few crap levels so far, and they’re fun to fiddle around with, though I’m not sure I’d wish them on other people. Fortunately, through the magic of WiiConnect24, I don’t need to wish: I can force them on other people! That’s awesome.

I’m still not done exploring the different play modes in Brawl, which is a good indication that there’s a shitload of them. So expect another post at a later date with yet more babble, and then probably a review following that. I can at this point wholeheartedly recommend the game to pretty much anybody, though, since I’m very much surprised if you don’t have a hell of a time with it. And that includes even if, like me, you’re completely terrible at it.

March 17th, 2008 Posted by | Games | no comments