Balance, it's something that's typically sought after in various games, especially multi-player games. Balance is something that's clearly very difficult to plan out and it requires hours of play to find that balance and work everything out so that it jells perfectly.
When I played Smash Bros Melee up until my Game Cube died (just a few days ago) I would always play with items off. The reason for this is because items, to me, seemed gimmicky at best and generally could turn the fighting game into a game of chance. Normally when I play with friends, of course, I always turn specific items on and we will try and vote to determine what kinds of weapons we'll allow and which we find to be a waste of time.
With all that being said, when optimizing my smash bros brawl experience, I, hopefully, will be able to turn the final smash off. Because I thought items were gimmicky, but the concept of chance seems to pale in comparison to these:
The Video is linked here. Click at your own risk of spoiling things.
This video is taken from the Japanese version of youtube and it showcases each character in the game using his/her final smash. So far I think Luigi's is actually the coolest, though that's just my opinion.
Another thing viewers might notice about this video is it shows every single character who is going to be in Smash Bros Brawl. Something that many people are actually still arguing about. It's actually rather amazing to me how many posts you'll find on youtube of people saying "Lucario's gonna be in smash!" "no he's not!" and "There's no Starwolf! baaaaw!" Basically this video surprised me because I didn't think Starwolf was going to show up, but I kind of assumed Lucario was going to show up. This video doesn't show the pokemon trainer, though, for some reason. Also: Whats up with Jiggly Puff? I love playing jiggly puff but that final smash seems just plain weird. Also: I hope there weren't any Pichu fans out there. If there were, tough luck to them.
Anyway, enough about character arguments, for all we know there might be some who haven't been unlocked yet but I am keeping my eyes peeled on Japanese Youtube posts about it. Back to my original discussion on balance: Balance is something which is pretty hard to find in the categories of final smashes. While there seem to be similar "types" (IE: Super Sonic and Pikachu have similar attacks) but how can Ness' PK Starstorm, which is easily avoidable, anyway comparable to Mario or Samus's Big energy beam of hurt-you-very-much? Some attacks seem to leave the victims at 75, others only knock them out, others send them flying, some seem very difficult to control (IE: Diddy Kong gets stuck on the edges there).
In all of this I can't help but ask: Are these final smashes in any way actually important to gameplay? Or are they just a gimmick? A random attempt at giving characters their own unique hammer that they can use designed for their character (that's how the guy at Hal put it)? The final conclusion one can only reach after this is, clearly this game is designed by fans of the original Melee and they have worked to the best of their ability to bring us an unforgettable multiplayer experience. Whether we like it or not is really based on our own opinions as individuals. To them final smashes are an important and fun gameplay element. I will mostly be focusing on the classic elements of charging up and smashing your enemies off stage and into the air. Clearly they can't have something for everyone but they sure have more than your typical amount to satiate even the most rabid Nintendo (and even Sega/konami/hal) fan boys. Another thought that crossed my mind: If sonic is going to be in the game will they include any sega-themed smash trophies (not as assist trophies, but like collectible items)?
This game has started a new tradition, though, and it's one which I think is very important: This game is the first smash bros game to EXCLUDE characters. Just like how Melee excluded some of the original Smash Bros. Stages, and how the King of Fighters 2003 had fewer fighters than the King of Fighters 2002, those fighters no one would ever really want to play as (Pichu for instance) have been left out, or replaced by an equivalent (Toon link FTW! GTFO Young Link!). This means that future smash games won't have to strain or emphasize reviving bad or annoying fighters. Fan favorites will be brought back for the next Smash generation, of course, and I think we can all look forward to this launch with fervor and excitement.
On one final note: Personally, I do really like how Ike's attack plays out and I'll mostly be playing Ike 80-90% of the time. My reason behind this is because in Melee I'd always play as Roy. Roy's attacks dealt fire damage and his attacks worked best when you hit with the middle-part of his sword. This contrasts slightly from Marth whose attacks are most effective when you get hit by the tip of his sword. Minor differences like that can greatly change the game mechanics. Marth, I should also point out, is the main character of Fire Emblem I, while Ike is from Fire Emblem II. I can understand why they'd get rid of Roy because he hardly had any role in Fire Emblem I anyway, but it was nice to have a contrast to Marth. My only problem now is: DEAR LORD do they both have to have blue hair? It's hard to tell them apart. "It can't be helped," I suppose would be Nintendo's appropriate response.
With all that being said, my future gaming experiences look to be playing loads of Smash Bros. with my old Nintendo Gamecube Wavebirds, and generally making custom portal maps and possibly working on some new TF2 content (this new push-cart game type coming up might be fun to try and build a map around). Also on my Game play list: No More Heros, Super Mario Galaxy, Guild Wars, & Metal Slug 6.