Five years ago, gamers rejoiced at the release of Super Smash Bros. Melee. It was considered to be the highlight of the Gamecube platform itself, and has accumulated massive response from the players. The mechanics of the game were studied- advanced techniques were found, tournaments created. People played the game almost religiously.
Brawl is expected to have even more effect.
From Nintendo and Game Arts comes this new smash hit (Pun not intended!) for the Nintendo Wii. In the late January release to Japan, one million copies were sold within the first week. This may have been the most anticipated game all year for the Wii, and many people are finding that it was well worth the wait. It’s true that Brawl had to suffer a few pushbacks to March 9th. While not flawless, many aspects were enhanced in this time.
Now if you’re new to the Smash Bros. series- you may be wondering what this game entails. Four player battles set on various stages are what you’ll find, orchestrated to vivid music. Smash isn’t like usual fighting games though, where you just beat the other person until they run out of health. Each character has a percent under their name when fighting. After every hit, blow, swing and slash that percent will rise higher and higher. The higher your percent- the easier attacks will hit you off the stage, ending your stock life.
That’s the general concept of Smash Bros. There are two major types of attacks that every character has access to. The normal attacks, used with the A button; and the special attacks associated with the B button. If you push the control stick up, down, left or right while holding A- you perform a smash attack. A smash attack is a higher damaging move that can be charged up. These attacks vary for every character, each with their unique moveset. The B attacks are the character’s signature moves. Usually more flashy and situational, Up B moves tend to be stage recovery and so forth.
Luckily for those who spent so much time on Melee, you can still use your precious Nintendo Gamecube controller to play Brawl! Four different control schemes are supported in the game, and nearly every button of these can be customized to whatever function you wish. Aside from the Gamecube controller, you may use a Wiimote and nunchuk combination, the classic controller, or even just the Wiimote held sideways. Find the one that suits you best, then start practicing.
The first thing I want to mention about Brawl is the new adventure mode: The Subspace Emissary. If you don’t have friends over to start up multiplayer, this will probably be the first thing you start in Brawl since completing the SSE unlocks every character. The highlights of this heightened adventure mode are the cinematic sequences and the chance to test every character through it. Lasting anywhere from 8-12 hours, The Subspace Emissary can seem repetitive after the first hour or so. SSE is a side scrolling adventure to race to the end and find the doors completing the stage- while collecting stickers and trophies, and defeating the same five or six monsters again and again.
The trophies are the same as the last game- collect them by getting certain achievements, or just finding them in the world. Now there’s a system using stickers to boost your character’s attributes in Subspace. It’s unnecessary, you can still do fine without the use of any of them.
And of course, the multiplayer..that’s the shining beauty of the Smash. Bros name. With improved graphics, grand masterpiece music playing in the background, and 35 characters in total to choose from- fighting against your friends has never been better. Now, we all know that we can’t spend every waking minute with someone to play video games. Nintendo made an effort to solve that with Brawl’s WiFi capabilities. That’s right- you can still play your friend even when you’re at your separate homes.
The Brawl WiFi is split into two categories. With Friends and With Anyone. Every copy of Brawl has a unique twelve digit number known as the friend code, used to swap with a buddy for exclusive fighting. Some are turned off by the thought of tediously entering in numbers to add a friend, as apposed to a Gamer Tag used by the Xbox360. While this is true that it’s a slight bit more work if you will, it allows more privacy than granted through Xbox Live.
Of course, you can always try to pick a fight with random people online too. The only problem currently is that Nintendo’s servers can’t quite handle all its customers trying to use this function at once. The matches that you can try are two minute timed matches, and can even be fought in teams. Two minutes is arguably short for a Brawl match- but that’s why you get the people you really want to fight as friends.
A major issue with WiFi is the lag that users are receiving during online matches. Based on your internet connection, and your physical distance from the other players, delay may worm its way into gameplay slowing down movement. Whether this is a permanent issue or not has yet to be said, but there still are plenty of lag-free matches occurring. I’ve personally found that players on the east coast of the United States bring in more lag than the ones from California may- and the friends who live within ten or twenty miles play almost flawlessly.
Playing with friends is very similar to being with them in person. You can choose the type of match, pick the stage, determine what items can be used at what frequencies. You can’t use custom stages made by yourself though. Yes that’s right, I seem to have forgotten to mention that you can build your very own stages now! There’s a lot of possibility with that one, and in time I’m sure that great battlefields will be invented.
For many people out there this was the very reason that they bought a Wii. It was a valid investment for such a game- this may be the most well known and popular game the Wii will see.