Final Impressions of Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Hands on with the finished Japanese version of the game.

Posted on February 4, 2008 at 12:33 am by Matt Simmons

Super Smash Bros. Brawl went on sale in Japan on Thursday, January 31st. Since acquiring a Japanese copy of the game 36 hours ago, exactly 24 of them have been recorded playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Meaning that 75% of time physically owning the game has been spent non stop playing it. Still reeling it all in This is some impressions of the final game. Beware of Spoilers!

The game is gorgeous, horrible compressed footage on video sharing sites simply do not do this game any justice at all. The music is simply the greatest single game soundtrack ever. Maybe a little unfair as its really just a best of compilation and remixes of many classic games, but the sheer amount and quality of the music is staggering. As soon as the game is loaded a crystal clear reason for the delay and/or shortages becomes immediately apparent. Besides the please-do-not-hit-fellow-gamers warning, there is a message detailing that the game may glitch and freeze during gameplay and to simply press the restart button. As strange as it sounds, Nintendo has released a game prone to freezing glitches. The reason is simpler then you might think. This is the first Dual Layered DVD Wii game. Simply inspecting the bottom of the disc reveals that. This means that the game is somewhere in the neighborhood of 7.5 GB of data. To put this in perspective, Twilight Princess was 1.5 GB of data or less. So as you can imagine there is a quite a lot more going on in this game then the average Wii disc.

When Zentendo first got its hands on of the game back in October, there were only two choices, Wii remote only, or Classic Controller. While anyone could tell you the Classic Controller was a better option, I personally still longed for the GameCube pad. The first thing you might notice is that this game runs perfectly with the GameCube Controllers. I used a Wavebird and the experience was much, much easier to get into. This game is still different from Melee though. Brawl makes use of the Havok physics engine, and this can be seen by the way boxes and items react to slopes or inclines on levels, it also means that if someone is hit into the air and collides with another player falling, the collision will affect the speed of the person being hit out of the ring and usually save them from dieing. The game is more air combat focused, and you will notice your jumps go higher, and last longer. You will also notice it takes a lot more to put someone down. In Melee it was reasonable to assume a moderately well placed hit could K.O. an opponent at around 80% health. In brawl expect to last till 120% before opponents start getting tossed out. In a weird sort of counter to the stamina increase is a fully charged smash attack from a heavy hitter such as Ike or King DeDeDe can K.O. a character at only 30%, however such a perfectly executed attack is rare, and it requires absolutely no obstructions.

The Sub-Space Emissary adventure mode feels like a full complete game on its own and will keep one or two players busy for a long time. I did not spend much time in this mode. The Coin Launcher mode is more fun then it really should be. Instead of a slot machine to gamble for new trophies,like in Melee, Now you fire coins out of a turret at a game board to obtain trophies. Reminiscent of classic arcade shooters such as Space Invaders or Galaxian, you fire away at incoming enemies and missiles while at the same time shooting down trophies that appear in order to "capture" them for your collection. What was surprising was that like Galaxian, enemies that filled the board attacked in sequenced order, and each hit resulted in a musical note, successfully destroying a wave of enemies resulted in a musical jingle. Almost like a simple version of Rez. All throughout the game you will see this sort of polish and added effort into really maxing out the experience no matter how simple the mode may be.

I'm going to give out some bulletin points on characters and stages.

Fox: Yes he is Nerfed, but he is still a formidable fighter, still a lot of fun to play as, still fast. His upward smash attack is still devastating.

Marth: Also Nerfed, his normal B attack is a forward stab instead of an arching slash, Expect to relearn what you know about him. His sword dance is much faster and he does not flash different colors for each hit.

Falco: Not a slower Fox clone, his Smash attack is different, his aerial side attack is different, his reflector move is also different, he throws is out like a boomerang. still plays like Fox but much more pronounced differences this time.

King DeDeDe: He seems to get played a lot, I honestly have no idea why. I played as him once and hated him. Way to slow and cumbersome for my tastes.

Snake: Very bizarre, his smash attacks are weapon based. He almost feels like he has 8 special moves and no smash attacks. He definitely is going to be a character that requires a lot of work to master. The key to snake is being tactical, planting mines and C4, throwing grenades and firing Nikita missiles. Snake really adds a whole new play style to the game.

Ike: Slow, but godly in four player, His smash attacks are almost to powerful, but his serious lack of speed keeps him from becoming overpowered. It goes without saying that one on one against a fast character, Ike is at a disadvantage.

Sheik: Much less nerfed then Fox and Marth. Aerial smash attacks don't seem to hit as hard, but then again it takes a lot more to finish someone off. Veteran players will feel right at home with her.

Ice Climbers: Seem almost identical to the first game, except their hits are much more impacting and harder.

Ganondorf: Get ready for a big change, along with the new games speed, Ganondorf has also been changed drastically. many of his moves are different and what moves are similar to Melee have completely different timing. His Smash B attack is no longer an uppercut, it is now a head grab, where he will infuse an explosion of black magic into the skull of whatever opponent he grabs. If the move is pulled off in the air, Ganondorf grabs the persons head and immediately slams it into the ground. This looks ridiculously brutal from high in the air. Can't wait to try it on Toon Link.

Final Destination: The best looking fighting stage in any game, ever.

Mushroomy Kingdom: Frantic but a whole lot of fun, much less frustrating then the Melee Summit.

Port Town: Like Mute City on steroids,lots of steroids.

The Summit: So much better then Melee, fun to play, fun to watch. Almost all the ground is slippery to walk on, and the Balloon Fighter fish can instantly kill you in the water.

Shadow Moses: One of my favorite stage, no falling death and the cage match like feel is neat. The metal gears appear very rarely strangely enough.

Pictochat: Weird goofy fun, the ever changing nature of the stage makes very random and very fun with four players. Wind will knock you off like the old Kirby stage, flames will burn you, missiles will explode on contact, etc.

Frigate Orpheon: With the new Norfair and this, I finally have not one, but two Metroid stages to like.

Distant Planet: Very fun level to watch, the changing weather and Bulborgs add a lot to it. The rain water on the slope can wash you away instantly.

Mario Circuit: Feels like an F-Zero stage stuck in one place. The Shy Guy drivers can be attacked which is actually kinda funny.

Green Hill Zone: a bit underwhelming, it is only about the size of the Mushroom Kingdom 2 in Melee. I don't mind but I'm sure others will be wanting more out of it.

Spear Pillar: Are Pokemon stages supposed to look this epic? Very cool either way.Legendary Diamond and Pearl Pokemon appear in the background and cause all kinds of warps to time and space and sometimes jump into the arena to attack or fire an omega beam down onto it!

Luigi's Mansion: It sounds like the composer of Castlevania did the remix for this stage, even though it wasn't. The mansion itself is totally destructible adding to the fun of smashing an opponent at crushing the whole house in the process. This level gets mad bonus points for having high quality Game Boy Tetris compositions on it.

75m: What that stands for is the third level of the original 1981 Donkey King arcade game, or the second level of the NES port of it. This is the level with the elevators and bouncing trampolines. the bottom floor is transparent so much of the match is played on the elevators, ladders, and top level of the map.

Flat Zone 2: Smaller then the first, a little to easy to get knocked out of.

Even after so many hours, the surface has barely been scratched at all. I'm not sure I have ever seen a game so packed with content and modes, and yet so polished and perfected in almost every aspect. Nothing feels shorthanded in the presentation. This game is a love letter to all those who have grown up with video games, and Virtual Library for those who are seeing what so many people have fallen in love with over the years. It is a wonder just to watch, and a joy just to hear. Most importantly of all it is more fun to play then ever before. Whether with just one friend, a group of friends, or alone, their is tons of things to do, each tailor made for every play style. From creating a stage, to taking pictures, or sending videos to friends, there is always something to see and do.

This may well be one of the best video games I have ever played.