So with the advent of Super Smash Brothers Brawl on March 9th, the Destructoid blogs most likely became flooded with posts related the game. Truthfully, I have no idea because, well, I was too busy playing Brawl.
Specifically, I spent about the first 9 hours chugging away through the brand new adventure mode, known as the Subspace Emissary. With such a drastic departure from the traditional structure of the franchise ("Hey! You got some Smash Brothers in my Kingdom Hearts!" "You got your Kingdom Hearts in my Smash Brothers!"), it has recieved many mixed reviews - some praise it, others hate it. So what do I think about it? (Like you're all dying
to find out. )
First of all, what the SSE is
: a collection of shiny shiny bite-sized pieces of fanservice that practically puts Advent Children
What it is not
: a deep, innovative platforming adventure with a thought-provoking storyline.
Currently, I'm 97% of the way through. I've beaten the final boss and unlocked all the characters, but still need to find each and every one of those damned little orange boxes scattered through the levels. And I don't care. Frankly, it's very annoying on many levels. Many reviews have said this, but I corroborate with their claims - the physics of Smash do not translate well to platforming. And it doesn't help that there are some sadistic platforming segments in here. The only satisfying gameplay parts were where you would stop and have to battle a certain number of enemies before progressing, because it's familiar territory. Stand on a flat curface, destroy anything that moves. The basic puzzle-solving-platforming-jumping-infinitely-spawning-enemy-stomping elements that make up the rest of it are only little annoyances that you have to fight through to get to the few good parts.
But wait, there's more! Even from looking at it from the shiny bundle of fanservice angle, it disappoints in many ways. First of all, the bosses are a big letdown. There are eight total in the mode, and two of them are original characters, created solely for SSE, and not found in any game. Now, while these bosses are pretty neat in their own right, I'm sure everyone would rather have to battle more well-known baddies. There's a huge difference from "Oh, a giant purple transformer dinosaur. Ooookay....let's just get this over with." to "SWEET JESUS ON A POGO STICK I'M BATTLING <boss> FROM <game> THIS IS SOOO AWESOME!!!"
Also, Sonic doesn't even appear until right before you battle the final boss. And I mean right
before. That's the only time you can ever
use him (unless you've already beaten it once and unlocked him). What the hell?! Then Wolf, Jigglypuff, and Toon Link don't make an appearance at all! If they can find a way to prominently feature Snake in the storyline, they can damn sure fit in Sonic.
The Great Maze sucks. Awfully. It's like the developers wanted to extend the length of the adventure, but ran out of ideas, so they decided to force you to go through everything and battle everyone all over again. That wouldn't be so bad except that the whole thing consists of nearly ONE THIRD of the entire adventure. Lazy bastards.
Oh, and Co-op is a pain in the ass too.
However, despite the amount of cloud you have to fight through to get to it, there is a silver lining. The only reason I went through and finished the whole thing, apart from unlocking characters, is the cutscenes. Almost all of which are completely awesome.
Confused about what's going on? Don't think about it too hard, just sit back and let the awesomeness of all your favorite characters launching an aerial attack against a bigass gun turret commanded by Bowser and Ganondorf sink in. Oh yes. The plot may not make any sense, but it's so pretty you won't care.
And this is why it's worth it to play through this mode once
. Once you've seen all the cutscenes and found all the characters, there's really no reason to come back unless you're one of those OCD gamers that has to collect every trinket in a game. But apart from collecting more trophies and rarer stickers, there's no reward at all
for beating the whole thing on harder difficulties. After you've beaten it, you'll probably never want to pick it up again. So while it's not particularly groundbreaking on its own, it's an interesting application of the game engine. I would like to see Nintendo take these issues and improve on them for future installments, but for now, just beat it once for kicks 'n giggles then move on to kicking your friends' asses in online multiplayer.