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Brawl, let me count the ways I hate thee

I know this is just going to get me flamed to hell, although I am genuinely curious if there's anyone out there who agrees with me. Also, if you're a hardcore fan of the game I simply wouldn't read any further because I don't really want to step on anyone's toes. As if you couldn't tell from the title, I don't have many nice things to say.

I never played Melee, so my only experience was with the 64, which I honestly can't remember if I enjoyed or not. I think it was pretty fun to play with my cousin and friends though.

Anyway, I figured millions (?) of people can't be wrong and that Brawl should be good. However, it seems to go against every core principle of game design not only set in stone today - but ones that were invented back in the old days that this game seems to want to keep paying homages to. If you're going to pay homage to the old days, why aren't you at least making sure not to repeat horrible mistakes?

I'm talking about Cardinal Fucking Sins of game design here. From having different things be too graphically similar (is that a MegaTomato or one of those stupid red things that blows up and kills everything one around it?), to not informing the player nearly enough when important things are going to happen (oh sorry, we figured you would just know that the entire level was about to suddenly fly upwards and that if you're not on the right platform, you're screwed), to simply having horrible, horrible control over things like jumping or facing the right direction. I know that the floaty "jump, jump, special upwards, grab the ledge" is one of the core styles of SSB's style, but it's just bad gameplay and should've been abandoned.

Past that, the balance is just awful. I can easily see why "no items final destination" is such a common phrase because the items are horrible (and, as touched upon, the levels are newbie-punishers - this is a party game, you're supposed to be able to just jump in and play, not jump in and die repeatedly due to idiotic level design). It makes me rage beyond all control when I work my ass off trying to get someone to 75% or something only for them to get an item that does the same amount of damage in one shot, or, god forbid a final smash (which seem to be entirely random in their usefulness - some may just hurt people, some will insta-kill someone in front of them, and some will literally kill every single person on the screen - where the hell is the balance?).

Past that, they should've kept it as a simple party fighting game because the Embassy mode is goddamn awful in every way, shape and form. The light RPG mechanic introduced with the stickers is appreciated, but falls way short of making up for - again - levels that are designed with the very anti-thesis of what gamers have grown up to expect in good level design. Hey, a glowing door. Must lead to the next area, right? Nope, it fucking sends you into a pit of lava. Hey, a bumper that sends you flying forward, ok, this has to be a good thing. Sorry, it throws you into a pit of death. Or even worse if you're playing co-op, every bumper sends the other player off-screen so fast that he instantly dies and takes up a precious life. Awesome. The camera also doesn't give a rats shit about the second player either, and let me tell you, I've been that second player and Embassy mode basically boils down to just smashing start (or plus, as it were) to keep teleporting to player 1.

There are other things I could complain about (the games style not being cohesive at all even though reviewers are apt to say "they did such a good job making the styles fit together" - sorry, Wario and Snake fighting on Pictochat is a mess and you know it), but really, the core gameplay is just so hideously wrong that, for me personally, I don't need to. This is supposed to be a party game. Why is it making me throw the controller in anger? I can't help but think that nintendo simply got too much of an ego with their initial success and made the mistake of not thinking they had to change the formula. This game looks like a Wii game, but plays like a horrible first-generation-3d game. I'm fairly sure if it was named differently and had different characters, we'd be making fun of it and laughing at the horrible scores and reviews it would be getting.
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About twincannonone of us since 10:30 AM on 07.16.2007

Older gamer-turned-developer. Currently working on Dystopia, a Half-Life 2/Source modification.

Xbox LIVE:tncn
Mii code:1617 1124 20-ah, fuck it.


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