Super Smash Bros. Brawl Review

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Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a game that’s virtually impossible to dislike for anyone who’s been around the block in the gaming world, or anyone who’s just a sucker for nostalgia. While Brawl is an obligatory player’s choice on the Nintendo side, gamers from all demographics will indubitably find charm in this Brawler.

Veterans of the Smash Bros. series will find no surprises on the game play side of Brawl. Like its predecessors, Brawl sticks to chaotic four player battle contentions, and simplistic two button fighting mechanics. Combining these two attributes creates a very accessible party game anyone can enjoy. While it may seem to be a minor issue, and a common dispute people have with the Smash Bros. series, it must be restated that after spending just a few hours with Brawl, you’ll find tiers of characters. Some characters like Meta Knight are obviously over powered, and since this isn’t a serious fighting game that’s an aimless statement. However, it’s common knowledge that Smash Bros. is a common figure in competitive gaming.

Anyone who picks up a Gamecube controller (controller of choice) for the first time, will find no difficulty in learning the basic gameplay formula of the two button combat, and trying your best not to fall of the edge. More time will be spent training yourself to cope with the chaotic action, and depict where your character is on screen, while managing to fight off three other guys, also successfully dodging at the same time. 

Long term fans of the series will be in awe over this iteration’s character roster. Your typical guys from the Nintendoverse are here, Mario, Pikachu, Link, Samus, Fox, and so on. But characters like Diddy Kong, and Wario finally make it to the fight. While Nintendo faboyism will smile at any roster with these classical gaming icons, 3rd party characters like Sonic and Snake enter the fray, adding to the astonishing thirty-plus roster. 

Playable characters almost seem secondary considering all the arenas you’ll be unlocking throughout playing. Some arenas are straightforward typical Smash Bros. environments, but some others are totally rad. Stages, such as the Metal Gear Solid arena will take you to Shadow Moses Island, the beginning area of the Playstation classic, or Twin Snakes since we’re talking Nintendo here. The PictoChat level is crazy, because while you’re fighting, the level is constantly being redrawn. The WarioWare stage is the most chaotic of the bunch, as it occasional breaks into WarioWare-esque mini games, and failing to do so results in some minor harm to your health, adding to the overall chaos, and fun. 

With all these playable characters, and stages, comes with a soundtrack that would make Tommy Tallarico cheer as a triumph. Fans are served with audio on a platter, with musical scores both new, and old, covering all the characters in the game. 

To the excitement of the entire world, Smash Bros. will finally be playable online to play with strangers, and friends who share a long-ass code. To much surprise the online works fine, but feels empty. The lack of a voice chat option really hinders the experience, and really takes away from the Smash experience, which is a collection of dudes in a room yelling, swearing, and laughing. Even if Brawl had a more constructed online, and voice chat, I don’t believe it could duplicate the experience of the local multiplayer. Gather your friends, order some pizza, crank out the unhealthy energy drinks, and Brawl until the sun rises. That’s where Super Smash Bros. Brawl shines the brightest. 

In addition to regular fighting, and multiplayer madness Brawl also has an adventure mode that is the personification of nostalgia, the Subspace Emissary. In reality, the Emissary is just a side scroller that has a co-op option. Those who aren’t familiar with the Nintendo family, or simply don’t hold sentimentality towards the 1st party franchisees will find little enjoyment here, but those who love the characters will find plenty of novelty in the Emissary. Some levels feel tacky, and trivial, but seeing Fox and Diddy Kong team up against a giant Pokemon is awesome, not to mention uncovering R.O.B. the robot to be a villain. After twenty years, who knew!? It seems the game play in this mode was an afterthought, and the true purpose was to provide players with awesome cut scenes with unvoiced (thank God) Nintendo icons interact with each other, and fight against a common enemy. 

Recommending Brawl comes down to three simple questions. One of course would be, do you like videogames? No, Brawl isn’t to that degree, but if you’re a fan of Nintendo novelty, and can appreciate Nintendo’s rich history, a Brawl purchase is a no-brainer. If you have the ability to gather together a good set of buddies, and you never sold those Gamcube controllers, Brawl is a game that should be in every Wii owner’s library.

 

-Steven Beynon

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