All right, it’s time for another big Nintendo review! We just got through playing with Hyrule Warriors and that game gave Nintendo another 9 star title. Now, the next Super Smash Bros is upon us and I can safely say that this one is worthy of the 9 star rating as well. There is a lot of content within this title and you’ll find yourself with things to do for days to weeks to months. For reasons that I will explain soon, it cannot really beat Melee or Brawl, but that’s the Wii U’s job anyway. Nintendo made the right choice in deciding to go to the portable market. Now, let’s see what this game is made of!
It’s been a long time since Brawl so we’ve all been pretty psyched for this game. It’s the first title that I’ve ever pre ordered and I’ll make sure to do the same for the Wii U version. That means that I took a break from the 5 dollar bin for once. At 9 stars, you can tell that this game is a cut above the rest. There are tons of positives, but there will also be some negatives or things that I think the game could have improved on. Before we get into the detailed topics, let’s take a look at the gameplay.
It’s a little harder to describe this game if you’ve never played a Super Smash game before, but it’s essentially a 2D “sprite” brawler. I’m using the word sprite to remind you of the classic GBA games. Mario, Sonic, Mega Man. Picture that style of running and jumping and then add combo attacks from a classic fighting game. Each character can attack 4 different way as you input their standard attacks with the control pad. Right, Left, Up, and Down. This also applies to their 4 special attacks and 4 smash attacks. There are many different combos for each character and you’re guaranteed a unique experience every time. There has never been a game quite like Super Smash Bros although many other titles have tried and failed. (TMNT Smash Up and Playstation All Stars come to mind. They weren’t bad of course, but they’re just not as good as Super Smash Bros.)
Typically, many of the stages will have gimmicks to make the battles more fun. Some stages may have enemies that attack or a stage that is constantly moving. There are dozens of items to also impact the battle, but you will still want to be skilled at close quarters (Or long range) combat for when there are no items to protect you. The game is very fast paced and it’s as strategic as it is action packed. Super Smash Bros is as deep as a game gets when it comes to gameplay and that’s why it’s a title that always ends up getting a lot of play time. Melee got well over 300 hours and Brawl had reached 999 at one point before my system data crashed. These games are built to last!
The graphics never really looked impressive online, but the 3DS isn’t meant to be viewed that way. The games always look better on the actual screen and this title is no exception. I don’t use the 3D because it hasn’t really helped any game, but it doesn’t need that affect. It’s very flashy and the effects definitely look like a 2014 title. It’s not overdone to the point where your eyes hurt, but everything does make sure to pop out at you so you won’t get bored of the scenario. Each level has been done with a lot of detail and the stages are very pleasing to compete in. None of them can really be called boring.
The soundtrack definitely earns a 5 star rating from me. (Out of 5 of course) Some of the themes aren’t as climatic as the ones from Melee and Brawl, but the large selection ensures that you will still find a lot of great tunes. I like the level theme from the Kid Icarus Uprising (The Reset Bomb level) stage. Now that is what I call climatic and it would have been very cool to hear that play during the final battle against the Master Hand. The Final Destination theme just isn’t as intense as I would have expected from the other games. Metroid and the Legend of Zelda likely have the best themes overall, but Pokemon and Kid Icarus definitely give them a run for their money. (The 3 big guest stars also have some great themes, but they aren’t quite as numerous, which is why they aren’t at the top. If it was just a contest for best theme in the game, it would be pretty interesting!)
There are many modes to play so let’s start with the most popular one. I’m referring to Classic Mode! Unlike the previous games where you went 8-12 levels, this one is only 6 battles long. I really don’t mind that though since beating 12 levels with 40+ characters would likely get tedious after a while. Classic Mode has really changed here as there are 2-3 paths per battle. You can take the easy way, medium way, or the difficult path to really test your skills. Moreover, you can decide how difficult the mode will be as a whole from the start. You can start at level 1 and go all the way to level 9! (I haven’t completed level 9 yet, but I’m working on it! Level 7 is currently my record) The final boss with Master Hand really gets difficult as you increase the difficulty setting. I was pretty surprised at the final boss so I’m not going to spoil it here. Although, SPOILER ALERT, I will be mentioning all of the secret characters in the game later so you have been warned. Let’s just say that the final boss has multiple phases like a Final fantasy game and the boss fight is so dark and disturbing that you may think that you have wandered into Resident Evil or Slender Man! Nintendo definitely outdid themselves there.
We’ve also got All Star Mode. (The mode that was always stuck in Classic’s shadow) It’s still pretty fun and the gimmick is that you are fighting all of the other characters without gaining health. (Although you are given 3 items to replenish your power) It really didn’t feel like you were fighting the rest of the characters though since it’s over very quickly. Perhaps that part was changed here. You can switch difficulties here as well and you fight the characters by their order of origin. That’s pretty fun since you can see which characters originated before the others.
Stage Builder has been taken away, but it has been replaced by a character customizer. Each character will have a few attacks that you can customize so that you really get your “perfect” version of that fighter. You can also equip badges and other items to make the fighter stronger. This is mostly useful in Smash Run, which I shall talk about shortly. There is a shop to buy trophies and it seems to be updated either once a day or every few hours. It’s a good way to pick up a few trophies from time to time and luckily they have all been new so far. There is also a Trophy Block Smash mode where you break Trophy blocks as a timer ticks down. It’s a fun minigame and it’s a good way to spend some coins and quickly earn some trophies. You usually earn most of your coins back as well so it’s a very good investment to make.
We’ve also got some classic minigames like Target Test and the Home Run Contest. They’re both pretty fun to play and it’s a good way to learn how to deal maximum damage as quickly as possible. I do prefer the old target test though. This one is not luck based per say, but it’s a little harder to aim for your very best since it’s very hard to aim your Sandbag with precision. There is also the Multi Man(Mii) Brawl, where you face many weak or skilled opponents. For example, 10-100 Man Brawl has you face that number of Miis. One hit will typically finish them and the mode is really about seeing how quickly you can dispatch them. On the other hand, we have Cruel Brawl (I keep saying Brawl, but that may not be the exact title anymore. Either way, it’s close enough) where the opponents are extremely hard to defeat and their attacks are devastating. Just defeating one of them is a pretty good feat in itself.
All right, let’s talk about Smash Run! Smash Run is essentially this game’s version of Adventure Mode. It’s really meant for group play, but it’s still good on your own. You are given 4 minutes to go around and find as many power ups as possible. They are hidden in treasure chests and you can also get some by beating the local minions. Finding a boss will net you some huge rewards as well. After that, you are faced with a Final Battle. It may be a standard fight or it could be a ground race. Maybe even a tree climbing race. I’ve tried this one 3 times so far and I got two regular matches and one race. It’s decently fun, but it’s not really a great substitute for Story Mode or Adventure Mode. It’s nice and short, which helps the replay value, but the other ones were a little more fun. At least the scenery in Smash Run changes each time you play it.
I think it’s time that we talked about the characters. Again, I will be mentioning the secret characters so you’ll want to skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know about them. This will be the only place where I shall mention them so skipping this paragraph and any of the ones coming up with a SPOILER ALERT sign at the front shall keep you safe. Some of the character decisions were intriguing. They can make you a little sad, but not so much because of who made it in. You’re really just sad about who didn’t make it. So, first let’s talk about the newcomers to this series.
SPOILER ALERT. There are 14 newcomers to the series not counting Miis and Pallette Swaps. First up would be Bowser Jr. It may seem a little disappointing to have another Mario character in the mix, but you can’t deny that his control scheme is very unique. He’s not the greatest character to play as, but I don’t mind his controls. I doubt that I’ll be playing as him much on the 3DS, but who would have thought that you would end up fighting in a Clown Car during a Super Smash game? I was surprised at the addition and I’ll give him a B rank overall. I haven’t tested out his final smash, but I’m sure that it’s solid.
Spoiler Alert. Dark Pit is next and he’s essentially a clone character as is Lucina. Lucina is a clone of Marth and Dark Pit is naturally a clone of Pit. Both of these play like their normal counterparts so there isn’t much to say about them. I give Pit a B+ and Marth an A so these characters stay true to those ranks. I am pretty glad to see both of them even if they are clones. Fire Emblem needed more reps and Lucina seems like she’s a good character. Likewise, Dark Pit was one of the big positives about Kid Icarus Uprising and he deserves to be in the game. My stance on clone characters is that they’re a good idea as long as they aren’t keeping other characters out of the mix. It’s like if James bond was in the game and James Bourne was a clone of him. That would be great for me since I refuse to play as James Bond.
Spoiler Alert. Duck Hunt is probably the most shocking addition to Super Smash Bros. I really can’t get into his attacks so far. He has the potential to be good and I’ve played an online opponent who used him already. He can definitely make for a good fighter, but his attacks don’t seem to be my style so far. He would probably rank in the bottom tiers for me at the moment, but maybe I’ll get used to him. I would give his gameplay a D for now, but the actual addition is very good! We needed a solid throwback character like this.
Palutena is a pretty good fighter. I can’t really say that many of her attacks really stand out to me at the moment. I would give out a C+ or a B- until I really start playing as her. Her moveset seems to be acceptable, but I don’t see myself becoming a Palutena pro anytime soon. It’s good to have more Kid Icarus fighters joining the fray though.
Rosalina’s moveset is pretty interesting since it’s like playing as the Ice Climbers if they had a completely different moveset. I would also give her a C+ or a B-. I haven’t really played as her in an official match (Home Run Contest or Target Attack I believe) but she seems to be decent. I may need to get used to her as well and she’s a little on the slow side, which can be a little dicey.
The Wii Fit Trainer got a lot of hype since she was just randomly revealed after some big events when Sakurai played as her. She seemed like another random addition that nobody could have expected, but I thought that her attack set looked pretty sweet from the get go. I love hand to hand fighters and that’s exactly what she is! I would definitely give her moveset a B for now. I almost bumped it up to a B+, but she does seem to be a bit slow so I’ll have to check on that. Nevertheless, The Wii Fit Trainer is a solid character and a welcome addition to the game. (I may as well say now that they are all welcome additions to the game. Most Nintendo characters are likable, which helps a lot)
Shulk is one of the best new fighters and I would easily give him an A. I love sword fighters and his controls are pretty easy to just pick up and play. Learning all of the signs and maximizing the use of his sword will take more time, but his attacks have a good reach and they deal a lot of damage. He seems like a really good all around character and that’s always good to see. He’s a character that I will likely use a lot.
Villager is unfortunately one of the most disappointing newcomers when it comes to his attack set. He’s not great at scoring KOs and I found it pretty difficult to win with him. He’s very slow and his attacks have a very small range. Trying to hit anyone with his cannonball smash is tough. It’s only good as a way to stop people from climbing back onto the stage and you need to have had the advantage to try something like that. I’ve got to give him an F at the moment. He’s seriously the worst character to play as, but I can think of it as a challenge. I’ll just have to learn how to crush opponents with him!
Mega Man is easily the biggest newcomer to join the fray and he lives up to his name as the Blue Bomber. Just about all of his attacks are long range. It makes me a little nervous to use him online though since any fighter with a reflect attack can have a field day. You have to use a lot of strategic thinking to use him in that scenario. Of course, I loved using Snake for this reason and Mega Man has even more projectiles at his disposal. Really getting good with Mega Man could take some time, but he is definitely a lot of fun to play as. He’s definitely getting an A.
Pac Man’s another solid fighter whose array of attacks is befitting such a legend. I would give him a B+ or an A-. The reason why he scores a little lower than some of the other high tiers is because I love some of his attacks, but I don’t like some of the others. It’s a bit of a give and take with Pac Man. His Pac Charge and his aerial maneuvers are very useful, but I’m going to have to be careful when using him since he’s just tricky to play as. It’s hard to explain, but I feel like his attacks leave him a little more open and it’s hard to finish off an opponent. Definitely another great character to add to Super Smash though.
Now it’s time for the best newcomer to Super Smash! I’m talking about Little Mac and he instantly gets an S. He may just be my 2nd favorite character to play as behind Fox. I’m probably still better with Mario, (My old number 2) but Little Mac is insanely fast so playing as him always give you a rush. His KO attack can come in handy as well if you time it right. His grabs are a little weak, but I suppose that it’s to be expected since we wouldn’t want him to be too overpowered. If I really get used to his physical attacks, he can definitely replace Mario as my backup fighter. I look forward to using him a lot in the future.
As far as the Pokemon fighters go, Greninja is a decent fighter. As with Palutena, I find that his attacks don’t really stand out that much. He’s quick though and his Water Shruiken is a great long range technique. I’ll give him a B rank for now. Being quick is always a plus and his attacks don’t really leave him open for long. He’s certainly not the Pokemon that I would have chosen to add, but he’s a solid addition nonetheless.
Finally, we’ve got Robin. I’ll give him an A since he’s another really good sword fighter. His Thor attack is really powerful like ROB’s laser and charging it up is pretty easy. He’s not lacking in close combat techniques either so Robin is a real threat in all situations. I haven’t played as him that much yet, but I can see myself playing as him pretty often.
All right, there are still some characters who really should have been in it. I’m talking about Mewtwo, Lucas, Roy, Dark Samus, and Ridley. These guys have proven time and time again that they deserve a spot here. Each of these fighters could have beaten most of the newcomers that were not included. Of course, it also gives you someone to wish for the next game so it’s not all bad. It’s pretty sad that the Ice Climbers didn’t make it though since they were one of my best fighters in Brawl. One move that makes up for most of these instances is the return of Dr Mario. Now, that’s what I’m talking about here! Dr Mario is awesome and a nice twist from the regular Mario. Have you seen his final smash? This is one of the guys that I missed the most from Melee so it is good to have him back with us.
There’s not much to say about the old characters. Some fighters like Pit and Link were changed and I like their current controls. Other like Zero Suit Samus and Sheik are now recognized as their own characters. I think that was a good change and now Zero Suit has a really awesome Final Smash to use. Meta Knight’s final smash was definitely nerfed, but it’s hard to tell whether his attacks are less overpowered or not. We likely won’t know until the Wii U version comes out.
I’ll admit that it’s been hard to get in stride with Fox so far. I can’t rely on his drill kick to up smash combo anymore since the drill kick launches an opponent upwards. He’s still a great character, but I’m going to have to consider the chance that Fox may not be my best character in this game. I’ll still use him the most with honor, but that would definitely be a pretty big twist.
There are a good amount of stages to choose from and they’re pretty great. The Boxing Ring is like a new version of Final Destination and the Reset Bomb gives you plenty of options for how you want to attack the opponent. The Living Room is super spacious and it feels like Temple or the Bridge from Brawl. I definitely don’t have any qualms with the stage selection and Final Destination is still the best and that will likely always be the case.
There are many other factors that I haven’t even touched upon like the new Pokemon, Assist Trophies, and Items. Those are fun to experience and there’s not a whole lot to say about them. It’s always thrilling to see a new one and some are more thrilling than others. I do think that a good amount of the Pokemon are a little too easy to dodge, but the Assist Trophies help to make up for that since they can be pretty tough. Ghirahim is definitely a really good one. From the new items, my favorite is easily the cannon that fires a giant laser blast. You really can’t beat that!
Negatives? Well, there are definitely some to be mentioned, but they are pretty minor since the game is still getting a 9. Some are decently major, but not in the sense that I would take away a point for it. One is the lack of a Story Mode. It’s definitely a step back and I’m sure that they could have squeezed it in if they really wanted too. Just take out Target Test and the Multi Man modes if you really had too. I wouldn’t even mind if All Star Mode was thrown out or the Smash Run.
Not really a negative, but I dare say that the game was a little more similar to Brawl than Brawl was to Melee. By that, I mean that several of the Assist Trophies have stayed the same as well as the Final Smashes. Some character models like Zelda and Ganondorf really feel ripped from Brawls. It just seems like this game took a few shortcuts so that it could come out sooner. I’m fine with the Assist Trophies, but I do think that they could have put some more effort into the character models. Maybe played around with the abilities some more and also given everyone a new Final Smash. Even if it’s the same, change the animations around. Final Smashes are one of the big things that we all look forward too after all. I won’t even mention the alternate costumes since that is a given. They could have done so much more with it.
Super Smash Bros is definitely a lot of fun and I don’t know why the waiting line was so short. When, I went to Gamestop the second it opened, there was only one other guy waiting for the title. They must have been at the Nintendo Center for the midnight screening. Well, I ended up playing that game with my bro nonstop from 9:30 all the way until around 8. It was an epic 10 hours and there are very few games that I could play for 10 hours straight. Both because that’s a lot of time to spend on a title and also because most games would start to get a little repetitive or tedious by then. Not Super Smash Bros and that’s all I really need to say for the Replay Value factor. There are few games with as much content as this title.
Nintendo finally added some online rankings, but I can’t say that it’s the best addition. You can now play real ranked matches in the “For Glory” section, but you don’t get a rank. You can Global Smash Points of course, but it only shows how many people you are better than, not how many are ahead of you. In this day and age, they really could have put in the effort to have a real rankings system so that was pretty disappointing. I’ll still be playing online a lot, but Nintendo really dropped the ball there.
One final thing to mention are the challenges. As with Brawl, there are many challenges. When you complete one, you unlock a stage, a trophy, or something else. There are 105-108 challenges in the game and we’ve completed around 70-80 at the moment. Completing them all will definitely take some time because you have to complete various modes with every character in the game. Still, they’re pretty fun to do so you won’t find it to be a drag and it adds to the replay value.
Overall, This is one of the greatest games out there and it’s easily the best portable game of all time. Due to the 3DS being a lot smaller, the controls can be a bit of an issue. Because of this, I don’t see myself reaching elite status as quickly as in Melee or Brawl if at all. I’ll definitely play it a lot and I aim to be a master of course, but it’s definitely not the same as on a home console. That’s why this game is still not quite as good as Melee or Brawl. The Gamecube controllers are really a must at this point and you have to be careful with the circle pad since there have been so many reports of it breaking for people. It’s great for what it is, but this still won’t be replacing the Wii U Super Smash Bros. Either way, I highly recommend this title to all gamers. It will really keep you busy for a long time and I’m not exaggerating when I say that it’s the best game that has come out for the portable market. The only thing that can really surpass it is if a sequel were to come out soon. Now, get ready to Smash and I accept all Challengers!!!