Title: Super Smash Bros.
Developer: Sora Ltd, Bandai Namco Games
Release Date: Oct 3th, 2014
Platform(s):Nintendo 3DS, Upcomming Wii U (November 21st)
Reviewed On: Nintendo 3DS
Super Smash Bros. has long been a favorite series of mine, as many of you know from my recent Throwback Thursday review of the original Smash. The series is a fantastic combination of platforming and a unique fighting game engine that other titles have imitated but few have successfully copied. What does the new Super Smash Bros. offer the series? Does it live up to the expectations long-time smashers like me have for it? Lets just go ahead and dive right into the fray.
When it comes to a Super Smash Bros game, many people immediately look at the roster to see if their favorite characters from Nintendo’s formidable history have been included. At 49 characters (not including the customizable Mii classes), there is a good chance that your favorite character is playable. The roster is simply immense. I dare you, I double dare you, to find a fighting game (not called Mugen) that offers up as much diversity as this entry into the Smash series. Several of these 49 characters are even third party entries from other companies; Sonic, Mega Man, and Pac-Man are there to represent other important video-game franchises from the long line of gaming history.
As an added bonus, many characters in the roster have multiple costumes, and by that I do not just mean different colored outfits. Robin (from Fire Emblem: Awakening) and Wii Fit Trainer both have a male and female versions complete with different vocal tracks for their animations, taunts, and victory screens. Bowser Jr.’s alternate outfits are the Koopa Kids (Bowser’s other children), once again with their own soundbits. Little Mac has a “Wire Frame” alternate form with its own costume pallets and Wario can choose between his biker outfit or his classic Mario-esque overalls. There are other examples scattered throughout the character selection screen, such as Link’s Fierce Deity look, but these are mostly one-off outfits but are nonetheless excellent and much appreciated additions to the character selection screen.
I am not perfectly happy with the roster, despite its huge size. For example, I am not convinced that Dr. Mario, Dark Pit, and Lucina (compared with Marth) should have really qualified to be their own characters, especially with the above mentioned entries. I understand that they do have some slight variations to their move sets and stats, but with such little differences and the inclusion of Robin and Wii Fit Trainer’s gender swapping forms I can’t find it in me to really like them by themselves. Especially Dark Pit. I really don’t like his inclusion in the game and feel that there is far too much influence from Kid Icarus: Uprising than is warranted in a game that is trying to celebrate such a sweeping history as Nintendo’s. Furthermore, I feel like the characters I mentioned above could have been included with those that share their general moves like Pit, Marth, and Mario; and that those slots could have been used to include more characters like the fan demanded return of Mewtwo (with Mega Mewtwo Y Final Smash) or other characters from Nintendo history like Ridly from Metroid or even Ashley from Warioware. Still, this isn’t that big of a complaint with how many other unique characters that have been squeezed in.
Gameplay is as fantastic as I remember it being. Players who have logged in time in Super Smash Bros. Brawl will immediately be familiar with the flow and controls for the newest entry in the series. I was actually surprised how similar it felt, honestly, because Brawl feels very different than Melee and Melee is a huge change from the original Smash. However, this isn’t really a bad thing. The fact that Brawl is still $50 in most stores attests to how good that gameplay is, so I am sure that the development team thought “Don’t fix what isn’t broken”. But thinking back on Brawl, weren’t a few things broken? MetaKnight comes to mind.
Now, I am not a major tournament player (though I have placed highly in several Smash tournaments over the years), but I have quite a bit of experience. I can tell that many of the characters have been rebalanced for the new game. Metaknight has been slowed down some and has lost his glide power. In fact, gliding, swimming, and tripping have all been removed this time around, so other flyers like Charizard have gotten their wings clipped, too. I like these changes, though the lack of swimming took me by surprise (and cost me a match) because there are several stages with water just sitting there, not looking like a bottomless pit of death and endless win-stealing despair. I exaggerate. I love this game. I really love this game.
Some characters have had their moves changed. Here and there a smash is different than before or there is a new special move that wasn’t there before. This is especially noticeable on Pit who didn’t have a recent game to draw inspiration for in Brawl (Kid Icarus: Uprising was released a few years after). I think that these move changes are for the better, in general, and it is nice that certain characters got new down-B moves because of the lack of transformation moves. Oh yeah, there are no more transformations. Charizard is his own character now (Pokemon Trainer is not in this game); Zelda, Sheik, Samus, and Zero Suit Samus are all their own characters and do not change into one another any more. For some players, this might be a problem because the change in character allowed for a larger diversity of moves and strategy in the heat of battle. For other players that only focused on one form of these transforming fighters, their favorite fighters will have gained a new move that would have before changed their form (except Samus, whose Final Smash remains the same except it doesn’t remove her suit). So rejoice gamers in group B! Sorry guys in group A.
One more paragraph on characters, I promise! This one is about the customization options. I really like this addition to the game. Every character has three different (more or less) moves to choose from for each of their special move slots. For the most part these moves are variants of the standard attack, but some of these moves are actually pretty different in their own right. In addition, there are equipeable items that can be unlocked through gameplay that allow the player to mess with the fighters’ stats and give them additional “abilities” that vary from beginning a match with a specific item to messing with the fighter’s physics. This allows players to tailer their fighters to their own play styles and needs. Speaking of tailoring characters, the Mii Fighters are fantastic and fun characters that are flexible and formidable fighters in their own right. Whats more, the special move options for these characters are quite diverse and have more options than most other fighters. You can also change you Mii Fighter’s looks with different costumes and hats that you can unlock as you play.
There are many game modes to choose from in the new Smash. As always in the series, there is a “Classic” arcade mode that pits you against opponents in pre-set conditions based on the path that you choose. There is even a new boss if you can reach it! Good luck on fighting it, though, it is tough! The only thing I don’t really like about the new Classic Mode is that you have to wager coins based on difficulty. This can be frustrating when you want to play a high difficulty run but don’t have the gold to drop on it. All-Star mode returns as well and it is mostly the same as it has been, though now it gives you a few more healing items due to the larger roster. The All-Star mode has you fight every character in the order that they first appeared in a game, which is a fun trip down gaming history. Classic one-off matches are still easy to set up but sadly have less options for custom matches than Brawl did, most notably a lack of Special Brawl rules like Metal or Invisible. You can easily connect to the internet and set up matches with other people, so that is nice. It is pretty hassle free so far in my experience and the lag isn’t too bad, especially for a fighting game. I imagine that it will be much smoother on the Wii U when that version comes out.
There are some new modes as well. Trophy Rush is pretty fun and a good way to brush up on your comboing skills with your fighter of choice. The Smash Run mode (exclusive to the 3DS) is also pretty fun and is a lot like a condensed version of Brawl’s Subspace Emissary storymode, except it doesn’t have any plot or story to it. Basically it places your fighter (and several AI or local human opponents) into a large labyrinthine map and has them race around it collecting power-ups and treasure along the way, ending in a final round match of various rules between you and the other fighters. It is a nice deviation from the “FIGHT THIS DUDE” formula in the other modes and lets you fight some random enemies from throughout gaming history.
Many of the stages in the new Smash Bros are taken straight from Brawl. I would have liked to see more stages, honestly, and I was disapointed to see that they did not include a Pokemon Stadium level (though there were two Pokemon stages). The new stages are pretty fun, but I was surprised that so many of them are moving stages, which are typically much more difficult than other stages because their scrolling nature forces the fight to move the entire round. Some of the stages, such as Find Me and Doctor Wily’s Castle, have enemies that spawn and cause trouble, but usually they can be defeated by an aggressive player. Sometimes beating an enemy will get you a stat boost, too, so that’s cool, but they can be really nasty, especially the Yellow Devil on Doctor Wily’s Castle and the Flyingmen in Magicant.
There are many small unlockables in the game, too, like Trophies and music. While these aren’t the biggest reward for many players, it can be satisfying to get new stuff for your massive hoard. Of course, there are all those costumes for your Miis to unlock as well, plus the stat-changing equipment scattered all over. There are also challenges you can try to complete which reward you with more of the above mentioned collectibles. You will soon be swimming in a sea of equipment, coins, and trophies!
That’s about all I have to say for the new Smash for now. I am having a blast playing it, and let me tell you it was hard to rip myself from it long enough to write this beastly review. While it might sound like I have some gripes with this game, make no mistake that those are me nit-picking things I wish they did. This game is great and I love it. 10/10 for sure, and will buy again for Wii U next month (and likely write another review about that version). I give this the official APG Nation Seal of Approval. Go forth and smash some faces, Nation!
What do you think of the new Super Smash Bros.? Have you unlocked all the stages and characters? How do you like the customization options? Let us know below in the comments and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @APGNation and to keep following us here for more reviews, news, and more!