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20120126
Here's a review from a few years back. My opinion has changed a bit and I'm not exactly proud of the review in its current state, but I figured I should put up something appropriate for the site. Not that my other reviews are "inappropriate"...but uh, anyway. Here we go.

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One of the most anticipated releases for the Nintendo’s famous Wii console was the latest entry in the Super Smash Brothers franchise, Super Smash Brothers Brawl. The series is well-regarded mostly for allowing players to duke it out as one of many famous (or sometimes obscure) Nintendo characters. There was a great deal of hype surrounding this title, due mainly to the merit of previous installments. Does Super Smash Bros. Brawl come close to satisfying the outrageous expectations or is the game worthy of being ‘smashed’ itself? Read on to find out.

The concept of the Super Smash Bros series is one that brings much-needed diversity to the fighting genre as a whole. Instead of simply winding down your opponent’s health by punching and kicking, Smash Bros. uses a percentage system. Whenever an opponent attacks you, your percentage will increase. As this damage percentage increases, your character will fly further away when attacked. The goal of the standard single and multiplayer modes is to knock your opponent out of the stage, being careful not to fall off or get smashed down first.



Furthermore, each character has his or her own move-set that stays true to the franchise they originated from; Mario will shoot fireballs, Sonic will perform homing attacks, and Yoshi will lick his opponents into eggs. Aside from a few minor niggles, the game is incredibly balanced—especially considering it features more than 35 fighters to boot. Hardcore series veterans may wish to turn off items and stick to more traditional stages, and Brawl fortunately dishes out more options for custom brawls than most fighting games. To complicate matters further, items are thrown into the mix, such as weapons, healing items, and trophies that will temporarily fight for you. A struggling opponent may look done-in, until a “Smash Ball” appears. This is one of the major additions to the series, as these balls trigger Final Smashes—character exclusive attacks that can change the flow of battle completely.

One of the more hyped features is the brand new adventure mode, The Subspace Emissary. This is essentially a game within a game—a sidescrolling beat-‘em-up complete with cutscenes, a map screen, file selection, and basically what you’d expect from some retail games. Playing the story once is quite satisfying, but you will notice that the fighting game’s roots are firmly implanted into it. Some characters in the Subspace Emissary just weren’t meant to be playable in a sidescroller without some retooling. Unfortunately, this retooling never took place and as a result, most players will feel reluctant to complete the eight hour campaign multiple times. Luckily this isn’t the core of the game though—this new mode far surpasses the previous adventure mode from Game Cube predecessor Super Smash Bros. Melee and is several hours longer. Overall, this mode is not something to purchase the game for, but something extra that is fun while it lasts.


Music-wise, this game features quite possibly the most diverse and plentiful soundtrack in the history of videogames. There are hundreds of songs and plenty for the player to unlock.  Songs range from vocal tracks to 8-bit beeping and medleys that sum up the franchise they originated from. Brawl even features a “My Music” function that lets you pick what tracks should be played most often on which stages. Hardcore Nintendo-music enthusiasts will want to purchase the game for the stunning amount of tracks featured and their quality.

While the main longevity to the game is derived from its simple yet deep combat system, there is much more to the game than just the combat. Trophies are collected from doing virtually any accomplishment in any mode, and include a brief explanation of what they are. The “Masterpieces” mode lets you experience demos of old Nintendo games, although this is a rather bland addition as it seems as if it were inserted merely as an advertisement to sell more copies of classic Nintendo games on the Wii’s Virtual Console service.

More interestingly, the game includes a stage builder that allows users to create and brawl on their own customized stages. Unfortunately, these stages cannot be used on Brawl’s online mode—also a new addition to the series. While a fun distraction, it can be littered with lag and difficult to find other players, even if there are many online. The process of registering friends is tedious and archaic (does entering 1234-5678-9101 sound fun?), thanks to Nintendo’s Friend Code policy. There are many new modes and features but discussing them all would be pointless as they are better experienced firsthand. All in all, the extra modes add numerous hours of fun to the game and will encourage you to keep turning it on for months after your initial purchase.



Is Super Smash Bros. Brawl the stellar hit that gamers have been clamoring for? Yes. Could this game have been polished more in order to achieve complete dominance of the genre? Unfortunately, yes. Some of the additions like the “Masterpieces” are unnecessary and instead of that “wasted” space, Sora Ltd. could have inserted more stages or characters. The Wi-Fi brawls can be lag-filled and adding friends is a nuisance thanks to Nintendo’s strict Friend Code system, but online friend battles can still be satisfying given your connection is good. Don’t be put off by the criticism; Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the Wii game to own, fighting game or otherwise, and one that both you and your friends, (regardless of distance) can enjoy immensely.

9/10

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Comments

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Never understood all the praise for this game and the whole serie. I thought it is greatly overrated. Enjoyable sure, but nowhere near the 9's and 10's I've seen everywhere. I enjoyed the Wii on more because of the solo mode with all the FMV.
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I guess it's because there's not much else like it. It's a fighting game that anyone can jump into without mastery unlike, say, Street Fighter. It's the ultimate multiplayer game in that you can change any setting to suit your needs, and everything has an impact on gameplay. Plus, you're playing with your favorite characters, which adds something when you're facing off against friends. Really, the sense of excitement almost feels unprecedented at times.

While I feel I overrated the game in this review, I still think the series is a terrific concept. I hope the new entry brings more meaningful additions, rather than filler for the sake of adding sheer content.
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Yoshi, are you from NL? I've been meaning to ask.

Also, spot on review. I love this game. Great with friends and parties. Been playing since the midnight release and has yet to get old. So many stories. Smile

Okay, okay I'll share one. My friend Andy was getting cocky. My other friends and I usually dominated him, and he always freaked out and made a scene, which was hilarious. I picked Pit, he picked Pit (trying to best me with at least one character), and my other friend picked Ike or something. Halfway through the match, I look at Andy to say something funny and my character falls off the map thus dying.

I felt dumb for doing that rather than focusing and while Andy was joyously laughing and carrying on, I realized HE was the one who died. He said "Hey Joey why did you fall off?! Hahahaha!" I turn to him, smile, and say in the most smart ass way "...I didn't." (He was the one who somehow fell off.)

You should have seen his face. Very Happy
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Wow nice review Yoshi. Wink
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