As you all may have heard, Super Smash Brothers Brawl was released at midnight this morning and many people went and bought it. I am one of them. I was the first person at my store to get my hands on a copy (along with a nice poster and guide), and was the first one to play it at my house. I played nonstop from 1:00am until about 4:00am, then slept from 4:00 until 10:00, and I have been playing it all day since then. At the time of this post, it is 7:30 EST and I just put the game away for the first time since I got my hands on it. Its addicting.
Anyways, to the full review of the game.
Warning: If you do not own the game, but you wish to buy it and not know any secrets about the unlockable items, characters, stages, etc., do NOT read this review.
To start off, I will talk about the Adventure mode, The Subspace Emissary. Many other gaming publication companies have given out negative comments about TSE, and sadly to say, I am one of them. The Subspace Emissary does feel like a fan-fiction that is way too drawn out. The adventure mode of Melee was more fun than this. Yes, TSE has a somewhat intriguing storyline, that the Melee adventure mode did not have. But that may be the only positive. I feel like TSE was just too much for the game. The monotonous levels (despite the change in scenery and music), the over-elongated length (over 9 hours), and the unnecessary sticker stat boost system all weigh down TSE. The one positive that I got out of completing it is that one can unlock almost all the characters (with the exception of Toon Link, Wolf, and Jigglypuff) on one full run of The Subspace Emissary. But anywho, onto the presentation of the game.
I own a 50' widescreen HDTV. Brawl looks beautiful on it, the picture is crisp and clear, and the character models look superb. The attention to detail graphics-wis e is great, which is evident in the backgrounds and foregrounds of the various stages of the game. Brawl is the second best looking game on the Wii, besides Super Mario Galaxy, but the smoothness in framerate (a STUNNING 60 fps) is beyond what I imagined for the game itself.
One large notch in the stick that is the presentation of Brawl is the "in-fight" music. I love video game music, I have a 300 song folder of some big names on my iPod, and I am still amazed by what they have on there. There are over 200 remixes and rerecordings of songs from famous video games, and the amount of them is still astounding. Some of my personal favorites include the Mushroomy Kingdom 1-1 theme (a jazzy/latin Super Mario Bros. 1-1 remix), and the Ridley Boss Battle music from Super Metroid. The soundtrack is one of the highest points in the game itself, for me.
Next up is the gameplay. The gameplay of Brawl definitely has a different feel than Melee or SSB64, but in this case it is a good thing. Gravity feels more existent in Brawl than in the other titles. Each control scheme actually does work. I have played with all four schemes (Classic controller, Wiimote and Nunchuk, Wiimote on side, and GCN Controller), and have indeed picked my favorites. The GCN controller brings back memories with easy to remember button placements and configuration, while the Wiimote on its side brings back memories of the NES days. I have officially decided to use the GCN remote from now on, though. I use it with my own personalized control configuration, which really helps in a game like Brawl.
Each character has a distinct moveset and final smash. But there are some exceptions. Fox, Wolf and Falco all have a Landmaster FS, and that does get annoying when you are playing with your friends who, in my case, love Star Fox. Luigi does control differently than Mario, which makes me happy, since Luigi is my favorite character. But that is getting beyond the point. The character movesets and final smashes are great and feel different than the way they were in Melee.
When one thinks of fighting game, what do most people think of? They think of the Multiplayer modes. And this is where Brawl really shines.
Events, TSE, stadium competitions, even training can include at least one more player. But the Super Smash series was born for free for all 4-on-4 matches. And Brawl makes that work like no other fighting game before it. The amount of characters (35), the amount of stages (40 someodd), the amount of items (around 30?), and even the amount of Special Brawl categories (about 10) expands an already expansive multiplayer mode new heights. The number of characters in the game is perfect for this game. Not too many, but not too few.
Meanwhile, everyone has their own quibbles about the character inclusion in Brawl, and I have mine. No Megaman? Bummer. No Geno? Shucks. It all doesn't matter because we at least have a GREAT game.
And that is what Brawl is. Brawl is a FANTASTIC game. When I left for the store yesterday to get Brawl, I was expecting an okay game with enough modes to keed me tided over until Mario Kart Wii. What I got was entirely something else. Brawl is not only one of the 3 best Wii games on the market, but it happens to be one of the best multiplayer experiences of our generation. With the exception of Rock Band, no other game has gotten this close to perfection in multiplayer modes.
Brawl is great. Brawl is awesome. I can't even think of enough adjectives to describe it. If Brawl is not a contender for any Game of the Year prizes come December, I have have no idea what else will. Brawl will blow your minds away.
FINAL VERDICT: MUST BUY
FINAL SCORE: 39/40
(deducted 1 point for lack of single player fun in TSE.)
By the way, I will be away from Wednesday the 12th through Sunday the 16th.