An Achievement beyond words.
Published by marvman3
Super Smash Brothers Brawl - Review
The Defining Title of the Nintendo Wii era is here. Having won so much acclaim, and awards already Super Smash Brothers Brawl continues to skyrocket in popluarity. With so much to offer, it is a game that will be heard throughout the ages. No review ever can condense the sheer amount of content in this game. Be graced by it's entertainment offering....
Super Smash Brothers Brawl
We waited two years or so for the third installment in the already popular Super Smash Brothers franchise. And it has had no problem finding a home in the hearts of Nintendo fans everywhere. Now that we finally have our hands on this game its time to see how it performs after such a long wait. For those to lazy to read the following review Iíll sum it up for you. Brawl plays okay. There, now if you wish for more detail then keep on reading, slackers.
Normally Marvman would start you off with an overview of the story, but what we have isnít a story-orientated game. Unless you do count Subspace, in which case come here now so Marvman can slap you. This is still a multiplayer beat-em-up and Subspace alone isnít going to justify it having a story. However Marvman will still give you an overview of stuff. The villains are turning the heroes into trophies and collecting them, then stealing them from each other, and then thereís this guy with wings and a big maze. Marvman gives up. Forget describing Subspaceís story, here is the real scoop. Subspace is for every fanboy to drool over their favorite characters teaming up against their favorite villains.
Ridley is mightier than Pikachu, despite what Brawl says.
Storyline in Smash, thatís right. Sakurai went there, or at least he tried his best to do so. You have to consider that Smash Bros. is not a single player game. So Marvman suppose we should feel somewhat lucky that Sakurai took the time to do it.
Having said that Marvman will try to go easy on it, to be fair it isnít Sakuraiís fault it was an under whelming story since it wasnítí his idea. The blame rests on the shoulders of Kazushige Nojima, which is strange because he is responsible for the amazing story of one of the most highly acclaimed games of all time, Final Fantasy VII. Unfortunately we didnít get so lucky with Subspace Emissary. In terms of visuals it works well, the cut scenes are very pretty and easy on the eyes plus seeing Sheik fight Fox only to be broken up by Peach offering them a cup of tea is enough to make any Nintendo fanboy giggle with joy. But it is deeply hurt by the lack of voice acting or at the very, very least text to convey what the characters are saying. Hell, at least Zelda has that feature. But no, Smash lacks that and voice acting and as a result it looses any real hopes at conveying a story of any kind. Letís face it, grunts donít do it but at least Nintendo games support text but for some strange reason they didnít in this game.
This is the primary reason Marvman was so disappointed with Subspace, the story was getting so hyped due to Sakuraiís annoyingly tantalising leaks of trailers and clips only to have us get given a run-of-the-mill storyline that he still is failing to make sense of. Marvman wonít spoil it for you, but when he explained it briefly in the introduction to this review that is still how much knowledge Marvman has on the subject. Marvman means, where the Freakn A did Tabuu even come from? Why the Feakn A was he controlling Master Hand? And why the bloody Freakn A did he insists on making that stupid, freaking maze? None of these questions were addressed to his knowledge. And thus left him feeling no more but ďmehĒ towards Subspace, a disappointing but passable effort.
Of course one thing we can thank Subspace for is the beautiful cut scenes for which Nintendo fans had been dieing to see in their final, complete state. And this aspect of the game in terms of appearance did not disappoint us. The highlight for him was watching Ridley swoop down upon Samus, grab her and scrape her painfully across the wall and clearly enjoy it only to be struck down by thunder (because clearly Ridley is a flying PokemonÖ). It was a Metroid fan boyís dreams to see Ridley in his glory (pity he wasnít playable) and that is what these cut scenes are about.
But apart from the cut scenes the game shines in other areas too, when we first set eyes upon Brawl it looked so good. Too good, considering what the Wii was capable of. Marvman personally had doubts of how smooth it would run, but after having played the game for several days now those doubts have been put to rest. The game runs incredibly smooth considering how much action can be going on at any one time. Marvman means, Final Smashes, immense numbers of items, even more active stages than last time, and plenty of varied characters mean this game has a lot on its plate. But it easily serves it up and does so with style and flair thatíll have your eyes in pleasure town.
A surprising amount of detail has gone into various aspects of the visuals; some stages will absorb you into their world with their depth. And some will just distract you with their beauty. Take for example, Final Destination. It received a minor makeover but itís traditionally trippy background returns as it flies through some truly breath-taking scenery that may in fact draw your attention away from the battle at hand. Other stages just seek to wow you, like Shadow Moses Island, the constant snow the Metal Gears in the background, its all quite a sight to behold.
Captain Falc-....., Ganondorf comes back as bad ass as ever.
The franchise has remained true to its roots in terms of gameplay in the sense that if youíve played Smash 64 and Melee then you will understand how this game plays. Having said that Sakurai has gone from the fast paced action of Melee to a slower game that plays a bit more like Smash 64 but at the same time is still different. At first Marvman didnít really like this style, but itís gradually began to grow on him. As he stated, there is now more emphasis on the aerial combat in the game but Marvman does see the unlimited air dodging as a rather strange idea. What Marvman means is, in Melee you had one air dodge and it was a matter of using it wise especially if mid-recovery, in Brawl you can air dodge all you want until you hit the ground. A few elements of the game have become a lot more casually aimed, this is the blame of Nintendo and their casual march of course, but heyÖ.lets not bring that into this or Marvman will have those who do enjoy Wii Play and Wii Fit breathing down his neck.
Remember how you had to train yourself to time Linkís Hookshot recovery? No need now. Itís completely automatic, right down to the locking onto the side of the stage. Remember how much you had to practice SHFFLís in Melee? Well now they feel almost automatic as you short hop your aerials. Maybe its just him but he felt he was about to get less lag if Marvman fell fast to the ground as soon as Marvman performed it after a short hop. If he's wrong then he'll gladly admit it, but Marvman definitely thought he noticed less lag.
Subspace is an area of the gameplay Marvman wanted to focus on, its gameplay is one of the major letdowns it experiences. Donít get him wrong, Marvman loves an old school side-scroller action game, but there is a time when too much repetition is far too much. This mode is guilty of it; if Marvman hadnít been playing it through with a friend it probably would have been far less enjoyable. The enemies are boring and uninspired, plus there is a lack of franchise specific enemies beyond Goombaís and Koopaís, which he found heavily disappointing. A lot of the stages felt like the same thing over and over again only with a different background and different characters. And the Great Maze was just plain unnecessary, why did it have to be there? It was just a way to stall time. Had it not been in there the Subspace mode wouldnít have lasted as long but if Sakurai wanted it to last the maze wasnít the way to do it. That is the cheap way, that is the lazy way.
Mario and Kirby vs. Bowser and Dedede, dream matchÖ right?
Here we come to the part, which it feels Sakurai put a lot of his effort into, the controls. He has literally catered to every single audience who could possibly be buying Brawl. And itís downright impressive.
If you were a Melee veteran then going from Gamecube control to a Wiimote would be difficult, right? Well no need to fear. Sakurai has taken you into consideration and allowed you to use your war-torn GCN control in Brawl. With the ability to fully customise its button layout, changing them to what you want them to be. Its purely awesome what you can do, and personally one of my favourite elements. Control plays a massive part in Smash. If you canít handle the controls then you canít get a proper grip on the game, hence why Sakurai catered to everyone.
This means those who want to come in swinging with the Wiimote and Nunchuck combo are in fact catered for. As a Smasher fan, Marvman found it hard to see it catching on, but the option is there if your curious. Marvman didnít enjoy it. The horizontal Wiimote option is one of his least favorites though, he tried this one out as soon as he had the game hooked up and it felt too strange for him to handle. With time Marvman thinks he would be able to adjust but it just doesnít seem worthwhile, those who are a fan of old school fighting games might get the most out of this layout due to its simplicity. The final option is the Classic Controller, at first he thought this would work well but he found himself having difficulty with it, still its worthwhile if youíve spent hours on the Virtual Console and have become accustomed to its button map.
A great game needs a great soundtrack, so what happens when you put the stars of several great games in one game? You get one of the most incredible video game compilations ever. Seriously, it nearly has everything. Featuring the memorable tunes by Koji Kondo, a theme by Nobuo Uematsu as well as the epic music by Harry Gregson-Williams. But that is only just the beginning of this soundtrack. This games soundtrack is possibly the greatest compilation ever; Marvman canít credit it as an original soundtrack however. So if youíre a fan of video game music youíre going to be right at home here. With nearly one hundred CDís for you to collect and unlock in the game its pretty impressive, some tracks will randomly pop up in battles (offline or online) and others need to be unlocked by completing certain challenges on the challenge wall (which Marvman will come to later). A magnificent effort really, amongst all the well-known songs there are a few cameos, for example Wii Shop music and Mii Channel music make an appearance.
The well known, Mario, against the mostly unknown Lucas in a stage that maintains the stereotype that all Metroid has is acid or lava.
But besides music the games audio shines elsewhere as well, lively sound effects are another area in particular. Sakurai has gone all out to ensure classic items have their classic sounds. Pokeballs make the bouncing sound from the handheld games when they hit the ground, Stars have the classic ďInvincibilityĒ track playing in the background when you pick of them babies up, Fire Flowers now actually look like Fire Flowers as opposed to that strange version in Melee. The sound effects are heavily improved and your ears will be thankful, especially if youíre a gamer whoís been around since the NES and have come to love the sounds of the classics. The character sounds are for the most part the same, so thereís not a lot to be said about that.
However in this section Marvman will make point of mentioning that the person who wrote the dialogue for characters should not work again. ďI fight for my friendsĒ and ďYouíre not ready yetĒ are horrible pieces of dialogue. Although blame rests with the horrible people in charge of providing those voices too. Disappointing job, guys!
When it comes down to it we canít deny that Smash is ultimately a party game, itís a game people buy for its endless multiplayer value. So naturally the game needs to score high marks in the area of replayability and as you can safely assume, it easily reaches its goal.
Even when youíre done with Classic and Subspace, you have a lot left to play around with. You have a large amount of trophies; stickers and CDís to collect that will keep you occupied for a long time. Essential to collecting all of these is the challenge wall, which Sakurai has copied over from Kirbyís Air Ride. It features a wall full of blue blocks, each are challenges that need to be completed to collect the item behind the block. This will occupy a lot of your time, especially with some of the more difficult challenge like ďComplete 100 Man Brawl with all charactersĒ or ďCollect All StickersĒ and such.
Not a fan of trophy or sticker collecting? Then welcome please one of the most long awaited additions to Smash. Online. Thatís right, now you have a fleshed out online option to use in Smash and although itís a bit rocky now its still better than nothing. Youíll find yourself experiencing disgusting lag if you play someone too far away, but if they are only a few hours away then you shouldnít have too much problems. Disappointing Marvman knows, but considering he prefers to travel and play Smash online will probably be an after thought for himself personally. Better than nothing but still leaves room for massive improvements. No online rankings is painful, the lag is game breaking at times and friend codes are still something that need to be cast away.
Snake, one of the two people worthy of taking on Ridley.
Marvman saved a section of its own for Stage Builder. Okay, he admits he was wrong, Marvman said for so long itíd never happen and now here he sits eating his hat. Luckily itís a chocolate flavored hat in the sense that he enjoys the option, so Marvman got no problem admitting he was wrong. True its shallow and lacks depth, but itís a start. Much like online you will find yourself with very little options, but what options you have will suffice for now. Expect something bigger and better in the next inevitable Smash Bros. game that is for sure. Choose your background, stage size and music and then assemble the pieces. Itís very reminiscent of the days of Tony Hawkís Skate park builder. At least thatís what Marvman thought when he used it, right down to the little bar telling you how much space youíd used. Itís a nice feature that we easily could have gone without, so be thankful Sakurai put it in there. Pity he didnít put more effort into this instead of wasting so much time on Subpar Emissary.
Overall, Marvman enjoyed the game. But it still feels like something is missing. It had a roster comparable to Meleeís, and stages to boot. But we all had high hopes for Subspace. Unfortunately for us all it didnít quite meet said expectations. The online hasnít turned out as good as it could have, but for now Marvman is willing to write this off as Nintendo being too amateur with the idea of online at the moment. Marvman expects that itíll get better with other games. At the same time its sad Smash has such shallow online and it will probably miss out on a lot as Nintendo get more experienced with it.
A staring contest of great magnitude, over a sticker...
Pros +Runs smoothly. +Incredible music compilation. +First attempt at a real storyline. +Even more trophies to hunt down and also stickers now. +Third party representation. +Additional co-op options. +Subspace FMVís are fanboy dreams. +Stage Builder is fun
Cons -Less advanced than Melee at this time, more of a party game. -Subspace is boring and repetitive. -Lack of voice acting or at least text harms any story Subspace wants to convey. -Online is a bit too laggy over great distances. -Stage Builder somewhat shallow and limited -Character clones return despite what we thought Sakurai thought about them. -Too much Landmaster. -Ridley is only a predictable boss, not a playable character like he should be.
Graphics: 9.6 - The cinema scenes are gorgeous, and run at a smooth frame rate in motion. The stages were well done, and well put together. All the characters have extreme attention when it comes to detail. You could even see the revits on Mario's trousers, to watching Bowser's feiry hair waving in the wind. A step up from Melee, but could have used a little more polish. But even after saying that, you could see the years of polish they had done. Grade A graphics.
Storyline/Replay: 10 - As such for a fighting game, there usually isn't any storyline, except here for the Subspace Emissary missions. Which in itself could be it's own packaged game. But in this case, it doesn't really matter because the Replay Value is off the charts! With Nintendo promising Downloadable Content in the near future. It still has alot of depth to its credit. From unlocking, collecting sticker/throphies, and playing online against friends or strangers. You'll be fully emersed in the diveristy of it all. Brawl is stocked with so much content, you'll be playing this game for years to come.
Controls/Gameplay: 9.7 - The game's control feels smoother than Melee's; your less likely to accidentally jerk a quick character off a ledge. The game plays much better now, that there is an option to make jumps button-only. Most veterans will prefer to use the GameCube controller, as to the Classic controller, WiiMote and Nunchuck, due to clumsiness of the feel at first. But they do take time to warm up to. The classic Smash characters play mostly like they did in Melee, as a whole, the roster is more diverse, as each character is unique.
Music/Sound: 10 - The Audio in this game is beyond belief. From the memorable and unmistakable background music for each stage, to the voices of the characters, to the various sound effects in motion. You'll be treated to a smorgasborg of sounds. The fully orchastrated music will captivate you from the beginning, and it really gives a certain mood/life to game unlike any other. The soundtrack consists of THE top Video Game audio composers out there, to make this one of the most talented and rich collaboration ever, that might never be seen again...
Overall Rating: 10 - What is there to say... A masterpiece of game, the benchmark for future fighting games to come, a collobration of the industries most talented musical artists, and perhaps the last Smash we will see for a while. To deny this game a 10, is to purely shy away from giving it the top of Marvman's review scale. That would be a disservice to one of the greatest gaming achievments in years. Rarely has a title delivered so much amazing action, such a wide variety of modes, and SO many hours of replay value. It doesn't get any better than this. A PERFECT 10!
Music is great, graphics can be pretty at times, controls are good (except for just a Wii remote), and story is interesting. But multiplayer is iffy because it seems like all your friends are elite masters of Brawl.
I dunno if I agree with giving it a 10, when I first got it I played for days straight, but now unless I'm playing with friends I get bored really fast, and even with friends boredom still sets in after about 45 minutes.