The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

Super Smash Bros. Brawl: First look

I’ve put a few hours into Smash Brawl now, and so far it’s holding up pretty well. Mainly I’ve just played the new single-player "adventure" mode, called “The Subspace Emissary.” It’s pretty much a full-featured action-platformer in its own right, and much less like a weird little bonus mode than Smash Melee’s was. Various characters are introduced in story cutscenes, and then you choose which one you’ll play as (or the order you’ll rotate through them if you die) and go run and jump and punch and kick.

It plays pretty well, though the controls seem a little stiff; that’s probably because they’re fighting game controls being twisted into a platformer, and as such they’re a bit more punishing than seems appropriate sometimes. The different characters play noticably differently from one another (though you’re more than welcome to treat all of them as “run around and mash A” if you so desire; Smash is traditionally a great button-masher), and from what I’ve experienced of the new ones, they’re definitely fun. The returning characters play much like they did in Melee, with a bit of tweaking and the occasional different special attack; sometimes this will get you in trouble if you’re a veteran of Melee, since you’ll expect to be able to do the Mario Tornado to back off some punks steppin’ all over your business, and all you get is this wacky squirt gun instead. Some attacks that used to be very weak (such as Yoshi’s… everything) have been beefed up a bit, and some attacks that were overpowered (yes, I’m talking about Pikachu’s Thunder, you jumpy fools) are toned down a bit.

My favourite of the new characters so far is the Pokémon Trainer; the only Pokémon I’ve gotten to play with so far is Squirtle (you need to unlock the different types in the adventure game), but I like the way he plays. And it seems that the ability to switch up my play character would be a pretty strong one. Mind you, I’ve not played with all the new characters yet.

There are hidden characters, even though the web site made it sound like there wouldn’t be; I’ve unlocked one already, and I’m aware of five more besides that I’ve yet to find. No doubt there are more than just that, also. There are lots of trophies and stickers to collect as well, though, sadly, the game appears to be missing the “bonus superlatives” that I found so enjoyable in Melee. Or if they’re there, I can’t find them.

So we’re off to a good start, and the game shows a bunch of promise. I’ll have more to say after I’ve spent more time with it and checked out the other modes.

March 14th, 2008 Posted by | Games | 2 comments


  1. After playing it with some friends for a few hours, I’m in agreement with you — especially regarding the bonus superlatives. WHAT HAPPENED TO THOSE, NINTENDO? They were like the highlights of my matches. Winning or losing weren’t nearly as important as my coveted “Opportunist” title.

    Anyway, I had a chance to both play some brawls and some of the adventure mode. The adventure mode is an interesting diversion, and surprisingly fleshed out, but I agree that the controls are not quite what one would hope for. The best bits are the boss battles, where it’s like playing a regular round on steroids.

    The new characters I played around with seem like a good addition, but mainly I’m STOKED about what they’ve done with Samus. My favorite character is pretty much unchanged in her basic form, but then she has a ridiculously powerful final smash attack — the downside is it destroys the power suit and transforms you into Zero Suit Samus, who does not seem as powerful (in particular she’s missing the awesome spin jump attack). You can go back to Power Suit mode by getting another final smash, but that’s hardly simple.

    Some of the new items also seem groovy, like that little thermonuclear explosion.

    One thing that is kind of lame is the WiFi stuff. Unless you’re playing a friends match, only one person can play per Wii (no idea why this is the case), which sucks because it would be ideal if you had 2 or 3 people to be able to grab an extra player or two from the Internet. The play also seems a little laggy — it’s not unplayable, but it’s very apparent. And of course there’s no ranked matches or anything like that, and Nintendo doesn’t make it easy to make new Wii friends via its online service.

    Still, I’m hopeful that when I get my own Wii (I looked in a dozen stores and they’re all sold out) and can set up some friends it will be a worthwhile addition.

    Comment by Stephen | 16 March 2008

  2. *Minor spoilers ahead*

    I’ll go into more detail on this in my next Smash post, but I’ve found the Final Smashes to be hilariously fun so far. I’ve only Brawled against CPU opponents to date, but even in those situations it’s great when everybody suddenly stops and goes after the Smash Ball. Also, my favourite character (Ness) has a damn fine Final Smash himself, which doesn’t hurt my feelings any.

    It’s taken me a while to get adjusted to the little “tweaks,” though. Like Samus, Ness hasn’t received any major changes, but the timing and radius on PK Flash was tweaked, the control on PK Thunder is a little tighter, and I think the range on PK Fire has gone up (also I don’t remember being able to Fire at an angle — that could be just me being a fool, though). The Flash changes in particular caused me a bit of consternation, since it messed with my standard Flashsassin approcach (I could never land the damn thing) until I got used to it. Now I’m back up to speed. :-o

    Oh, also, it’s odd that you liked the boss battles the best in the adventure game, since I thought they were the weakest part. Maybe that’s just because I kept expecting the bosses to flinch and launch like characters do, and instead they just stand there like… bosses in platform games. The more I got used to that, the more I enjoyed them; incidentally, I had the same problem with Master Hand and Crazy Hand in Melee, since you get to the end of the Classic mode and here’s one more fight except the rules are different from every other fight in the game.

    You were always looking for Opportunist? I was a big fan of Wire to Wire and All Aerial, myself.

    Comment by Darien | 16 March 2008

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