It's been hard to avoid the excitement of that many people have shared for the newest edition of the Super Smash Bros. series recently. It has flooded the main pages of Destructoid, IGN, and video game sites all over cyber-world alike, with each new tidbit of information being swabbed up by gamers faster than a hundred dollar bill in a crowd of poor college students. Like many people, I was very excited about this title, as I have played Melee regularly for a full 5 years now, and it was most definitely time for a new title.
However, as many of my friends know, the primary reason for my purchase of my Wii was this title alone. I still own only one title from launch day, Red Steel
(I know: I'm still not very proud of myself on that purchase), aside from the bundled Wii Sports and a few Virtual Console games. The way I figured it, I had my Playstation 3 to keep me entertained for a few months until I started to engulf myself in the world of the newest Smash game, as it was due out in May of 2007. Fast forward over a year later and multiple delays, and you'll find me here, a die-hard Super Smash Bros. fan that Nintendo may have lost forever.
This game has been hyped up, over-hyped from the start, if you ask me. Over the past 7 years, this game has developed a very loyal following, as many people have spent countless hours having Smash-offs, both among friends and competing among other fellow Smash-ites for prizes, or just the title of Smash supremacy. I was one of these die-hard fans that loved this franchise for the many MONTHS-worth of fun that it had provided me with, and the many classes that I skipped and avoided going to to compete with my friends. Needless to say, sad as it may be, here, among my group of friends, Smash wasn't just a game. It was a way of life.
You heard me right: a way of life. So why the sudden change? There have been many factors that have led me to this ultimatum, chastising the game that was the sole reason I bought a next-gen system.
1. First off, and most importantly, is the fact that these delays were getting to be excessive and ridiculous. As a huge fan of the game, I understood and actually approved of the fact that Nintendo wanted to make sure that all the kinks were out, and all of the coolest possible features could be included in this game, hence a delay or two. But here I am, 9 months after the expected release date, and what more does the game have to show for it? One or two lame characters and a super-lame create-a-stage level. Gag me.
2. The fact that they removed advanced techniques, which separated casual Smash players from diehard gamers. Experienced Smash players will know what I am talking about when I say that Jesus-blocking, L-Cancelling, and Wave-Dashing are no more. I understand that the idea of marketing this game is to make the playing field as "level" as possible. But to completely eliminate ALL of the advanced techniques that many good players were able to learn to showcase their skills seems a bit excessive. Color me skeptical, but I'm not too sure if these efforts to "mainstream" these already mainstream games are as great for these series as the developers seem to think it is.
3. The excitement that I had for this game has quickly faded away because of the constant flow of information, the need for every miniscule feature or screen cap to be made into front-page news in the gaming community. We've seen nothing new or exciting developing in this game for MONTHS now, and yet we're expected to remain as excited as ever for this game that will seemingly never come out. PS3 owners like myself also are starting to feel similarly towards GTA IV, which is the PS3 equivalent of Smash when it comes to being the subject of my malcontent and ill will towards the powers that be.
As I have read review after review that has been unimpressed and ultimately disappointed in this game, I find myself torn between my own two personalities: the person who was so excited to have a new addition to the series and see the progress on a next-gen system, or myself now -- the jaded gamer, who can be compared to the kid on Christmas day that excitedly opens up his presents, only to discover that his parents had only gotten him socks and underwear. Just like Sony had dropped the ball with the Sixaxis sans Dual Shock, Nintendo has now dropped the ball with one of the biggest draws of their system. Super Smash Bros. Brawl has officially become known to me as "Nintendo: Operation Sadness." Mission accomplished.
(...At least Dynasty Warriors hasn't been pushed back yet. Thank God for Koei! Sorry, I can't help it: I have to plug my favorite game series as always.)