Note: This isn't quite a "review" or anything of the such, it's actually something more of an open question to the community here :) I've got a few burning questions, and glaring faults here that I'd like to bounce off you guys, your feedback would be great here!
Not a week ago, Nintendo finally released Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii, after much delay- you'd have to have been blind to miss it. There were a lot of expectations for it, and everyones hopes were very high. What comes next is a something of a mixed surprise to me.
Shortly after the Japanese release, we learned of a certian issue with consoles failing to read the disc, Nintendo gave it some fancy name, and blamed smoke, and other pollution for the issues- let's be honest. Nintendo shipped out dud drives, that aren't strong enough to read a Dual Layer disc, the least they could have done was be honest and admit this. I've had CD based products for a long time now, and have two Sega CD's (one first gen that sits under the Gen. and one of the side loaders), both of which have been under heavy use since I've had them (the second gen for over 10 years now...) and have had absolutely no issues booting up Snatcher, Shining Force CD, or Sonic CD. Hell- I have a 15 year old Laser Disc Player that has no issues reading my copy of Blade Runner or Char's Counterattack. Granted, neither of these technology depend on a dual layer reader, but for Christs sake- they're over 10 years old, and have been exposed to dust, and everything else my Wii has been exposed to. To add insult to injury- the Sega CD's lens is completely exposed, as opposed to the Wii, and I've not had a single issue with my Sega CD's lens. Nintendo shipped a bad product, and everyone seems willing to turn away just because it's Nintendo.
On the issue of "defective" systems, the Wii hasn't been exactly perfect, there have been accounts of early firmwares bricking systems (Mine bricked after the second one), Launch Titles not booting, sounds kinda like the Xbox 360 Launch, doesn't it? I remember people flipping shit over the later. Oh, and the Wifi Switch? The reason it won't work on populated channels is because of the fact that it's underpowered, I don't remember Nintendo giving me any reason that my Wireless Router needs to be on Channel 10-11 to connect to the Store in a timely fashion (granted it already ran on that Channel :P). I'd be lieing if I said that I didn't go and test the Wifi switch against different access points in my area that my PS3, PSP, 360 and Laptop can connect to in the exact same location. It found two, my home router, and my neighbors, wherein my 360 and PS3 found an additional 10 APs. Weird isn't it?
Let's actually talk about the game now. It's Smash Bros. what did I expect? It's a party game and nothing more to me. My real cup of tea are the King of Fighters series. That aside, let's look at the Story Mode. Firstly, putting aside that I feel that the story was stripped right from Fanfic.org, let's look at the core gameplay. The game trys to pass itself off as a platformer, by giving you incredibly wonky controls, and a camera that is too close to your character to actually see something. It feels like Megaman 7, you know, the Megaman game where the sprites were too big for the screen? Only Megaman 7's Multiplayer mode (yes, it has one) didn't punish me for trying to move. Trying to play this mode with two players is a huge pain in the ass, with the second player never safe from unnecessary damage from trying to move and go off screen. Oh- this is still the greatest game ever, isn't it? I'm sure if any actual platformer featured such a rediculous system they'd be reamed for it.
The other two issues I have are the controls and the Online Play. The control stick (on both the Classic Controller and Gamecube Wavebird) are entirely too sensitive, and I wish to god I had access to to map my D-Pad to move. This is a small issue, but let's compare it to Ratchet & Clank Future for the PS3, people wouldn't stand for it. Online Play, our first encounter with you was Jim Sterling's absolute disgust in the lack of any voice chat, and the limitation of preset text. This is the least of my concern, I would have to be able to connect to a game without lag for any of that to be in the least bit helpful, or hell- even connect to a game period. If Halo 3 was released with this much lag (which I can assure you it wasn't, because I was playing the game in Online Co-op an hour after I picked my copy up), there would be people seriously pissed.
But with Smash Bros. it's different? I've seen a sickening amount of "Oh, well... no one gets everything perfect!" in reviews for the broken features that other games would be absolutely destroyed by, and I fail to see how this game escapes that gravity. It's the same game that we got 7 years ago, with a few more characters and different textures (note how I said they weren't amazingly different.) Are people really content with changes that are as marginal as going from Madden 06 to Madden 07? Because as I see it, this game is nothing more than a roster update, with a few bug fixes that break the same amount of things in different areas. Did I fail to mention that the game was pushed back a few months? read