Super Smash Bros. Brawl Review


Let’s be honest with each other; you probably aren’t reading this review to find out if Nintendo’s new entry into the Smash Bros. series, Brawl, is any good. You already know the game is good. Like with Mario, Final Fantasy, Metroid, Halo, God Of War, Zelda and a handful of other “always awesome” franchises, gamers know right off the bat that not only is the newest sequel going to be good, it will most likely be great and even a mountain of reviews will not sway your opinion in one direction or another. So it goes with Brawl. Even with some minor problems, this game easily one of the best Wii titles available and almost a shoo-in for Game of the Year 2008.

If you are new to this whole scene, here is a little breakdown of what Super Smash Bros.: Brawl is all about. Basically, the game is a “Circus of the Stars (remember that show?)” for Nintendo characters. But instead of throwing knives at Angela Lansbury or tightrope walking with Alan Thicke, you select your favorite Nintendo character and proceed to wail on other all-time favorite characters. Who would win in a fight between Pikachu and Samus? See for yourself. Want to relive the age-old Ganon/Link battles? You can. Want to knock Mario down a few pegs by teaching him a lesson with his brother, Luigi? Go for it. Brawl, and the two previous Smash Bros games (Melee on Gamecube and Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 64), are not only amazingly fun to play, both by yourself and with up to four friends, but they are what amounts to love letters from Nintendo to all the people who have followed the company and its games over the past 25+ years.

Being that Brawl is such an enormous game, providing nearly twice the content of the other two Smash games combined, I’ll tackle the different modes one by one. Let’s start with the main single player mode, which is essentially just like every other fighting game ever created – pick a fighter and climb the ranks, fighting foe after foe until all are vanquished. In other fighting games this mode wears thin quickly, but in Brawl, you’ll find yourself striving to finish this mode with each and every character. Why? Simply put – the unlockable content. We’ll get to that a little later.

The other single player modes change up the fighting game formula a bit. Subspace Emissary is basically a side-scrolling action game. There isn’t a ton of story involved in this mode like some might think, but it remains addictive and fun nonetheless. The only real complaint with this mode is that the controls stay the same for the both the “arcade” single player and the “platform” single player. While usually not a problem, most seasoned gamers will miss a few jumps here and there, not to the mode’s difficulty, but to the instinctual control scheme for every platform game since Super Mario Bros. Jumping by pressing up on the d-pad never really solidifies in the mind as an adequate jump command.

Finally, the last single player mode (of any consequence… there are other solo challenges to overcome, but I’m only hitting the high points) consists of a series of increasingly more difficult scenarios. For example: one mission may pit you against a seemingly unstoppable foe, while another might require you eliminate your opponents without taking any damage. These, more than anything else in the game, will really train you on how to use every fighter, adjust to any circumstance and make you a much better player all around. Like in the last game, Melee, some of these may seem impossible to a newer player, but after some practice (months and months of it), they become not easy, per se, but what once seemed too much to ask becomes possible. These challenges were my favorite aspect of Melee, and having a whole new batch of crazy-hard goals has me on top of the world.