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  • Aug 10, 2009
Super Smash Brothers Brawl came out in March of 2008 and quickly became one of the bestselling games on the Wii.  It's certainly very popular at parties and with friends.  This is where Super Smash Bros. Brawl shines the most.  It's an overall fun game to play with friends, but it can be quite lonely as a singe player experience.  Nintendo has always had a way of making good multiplayer games and Super Smash is no exception.

Super Smash Bros. Melee was a huge game in and of itself. With tons of different modes to play and several characters to select.  Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a lot bigger.  Better?  Perhaps, but that depends on what you mean by "better".  There are tons more characters and stages to choose from but it's a little hard to say it's all better  Super Smash Bros. Melee was a huge step above the original Super Smash Bros.  Brawl, on the other hand, isn't quite the huge step above Melee.  On the other hand, the extra stuff is kind of fun.

There is, of course, the single player mode, which hasn't really changed from Melee at all.  There's the standard "Classic Mode" where you're put up against random combatants.  Sometimes you'll be by yourself against two people.  Sometimes you'll have a partner.  Sometimes you'll find yourself fighting off fifteen of a certain fighter.  For the most part... classic mode is pretty boring  It's worth going through once just for the sake of unlockables and whatnot, but it hasn't changed from the past two games.  There's also All Star Mode where you can fight against all the characters, but again, it's not very exciting.  This is because Super Smash Bros. Brawl is meant to be played with friends.

On the other hand, there is something called the Subspace Emisarry.  This is the game's adventure mode, which actually has something of a story.  There's no voice acting to speak of.  As a result we're given cutscenes that we have to sort of piece together ourselves.  The Adventure itself plays out like a 2D sidescroller.  In particular it's very similar to Kirby.  You'll go in several doors and along the way collect trophies and whatnot.  The basic gameplay is the same in Adventure mode.  There's plenty of items to pick up and use for melee assaults (or range if its a gun) and the more damage you take the higher your percentage builds... close enough to be able to be knocked off screen and die.  You'll also find every character in the Subspace Emisarry. 

At the start the adventure mode is quite fun.  A friend can join in (only one) and you can both go through.  And for the most part it is fun.  Until you get near the end and have to fight every boss and character again... and essentially go through most of the map again.  Then it's incredibly repetitive.  In short, Subspace Emisarry like much of the single player experience... is only worth it once.  But you might want to do it for the sake of getting 100% as you get more unlockables that way.  And there are a lot of unlockables in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.  From stages and characters, to soundtracks and additional trophies and stickers.  Stickers are used in Adventure mode to strengthen up characters.  And there are tons.  It will take you a long time just to collect everything there is in the game.

Along those lines there are event matches where you have to perform specific tasks, and there's the homerun contests.  Both of these can be done with a friend.  Not to mention there's still the 10 Man and 100 Man Brawl, and the Cruel Brawl etc.  There's a TON of stuff to do.  And most of it can be tackled with a friend.

Yet the heart and soul of Super Smash Bros. Brawl has always been the multiplayer experience.  Going into the realm and playing against your friends is by far the best part about it.  Especially once you've unlocked all the stages and characters.  It's a ton of fun because it holds true to the formula while adding a few things.  There are more Pokemon from the Pokeballs and the Pokeball like assist trophies.  The lightning bolt from Mario Kart has been added as well as a Golden Hammer.  Most of this stuff may seem like just simple duplicates of other items, but you'd be surprised.  If you had a choice between the simple normal hammer and the gold one... guess which one you're going to go for?  You'll still find yourself racing for these items to use as if they were totally unique.

The most unique of the New Additions, however, is the Smash Ball.  When a character gets a hold of this they can perform a final smash.  Some of them are really worthwhile.  Samus's blast, Fox's Landmaster, Mario's Firewave... these are all worthwhile attacks.  Much like with Mortal Kombat and its fatalities, you'll want to see everyone's Final Smash at least once.  Of course, your mileage with every character will vary.

There are tons of new characters introduced.  Some of whom are quite unique.  There's Pit from Kid Icarus, for example, Zero Suit Samus can be used, the Pokemon Trainer, Wolf O' Donnell from the Star Fox series, Ike from Fire Emblem, King Dedede, Lucario and the list goes on and on.  Some of these characters are very good.  Of course, the most unique of the cast are Sonic the Hedgehog and Solid Snake.  Snake being the first third party character to be featured in Smash Bros.  Yes, Metal Gear was on the original Nintendo... but Nintendo didn't OWN Snake, that's why Snake is third party and it cost a pretty penny to get him in the game I'm sure, but Hideo Kojima insisted on Snake's inclusion (actually they tried to get Snake in Melee but by that time the game was too far in development... so we were getting Snake in Brawl regardless).  This, of course, has opened the door for people suggesting other third party characters (I'm personally hoping for Mega Man or Zero next).  And Snake isn't just a gimmick character.  Neither is Sonic  They're two of the most unique in the entire game. 

On the other hand, you are getting characters that are basically duplicates of other characters.  Wolf O' Donnell is more or less another reincarnation of Fox.  Ike has replaced Roy (but he isn't quite the same as Marth... he's also incredibly popular), but the point is that while you are getting new characters a lot of them play exactly like either Melee counterparts or like other characters found in Brawl.  Some are very unique.  Lucario, Snake Sonic... these are all great characters and you'll find yourself experimenting with the lot of them.  People will always argue over who is best.  More interesting are the stages themselves.  About twelve come back from Melee, but the stages here are really creative and fantastic to play on. 

Along those lines there are always stages that you can create.  Don't get all excited.  The idea of creating a level is cool, but what you're given just isn't enough.  You get basic blocks and platforms but nothing really interesting to create levels with.  You're not going to be able to create anything like what you actually see in the game by any stretch of the imagination.  For an element like this, it seems behind the times.  When games like Halo 3, LittleBigPlanet and even that Mega Man Powered Up on the PSP gave you access to EVERYTHING in the game.  Super Smash Bros. Brawl does not.  That's not to say you can't make interesting levels (you can find a whole mess of levels created online that you can transfer to an SD card), it's just to say that if we actually got access to everything in the game instead of just "spare parts" this would've been a far more fun and creative endeavor. 

Playing against the computer, on the other hand, is actually very annoying.  You can go to any stage just like when playing with friends, and you can choose different levels to go with.  From embarassingly weak computer controlled characters to overly strong and cheap ones.  By the time you set the computer to about level 7 you'll notice that they become far more advanced than anything.  It's not that the computer is hard to defeat, as it is that they're just... cheap... in a very odd way.  They don't exploit glitches, but they pull of amazing feats.  Playing against three of them is also annoying.  In previous Smash Bros. games, the computer would actually attack each other.  In Brawl they quickly forget about you and gang up on you... even without being on a team.  They get that Final Smash and they head straight for you instead of attacking the closest fighter.  They get the dragoon... they'll go after you (and never miss).  It makes playing against the computer quite... frustrating at times.  And pretty boring.  Nintendo has never really improved just how skilled their AI is in their games.  It's not that it's hard, it's that it's unbalanced.  Sometimes you feel like victory against the AI is more based on luck than it is your actual skill as a player.  In short, you're not going to test yourself this way. 

Super Smash Bros. Brawl also goes online, but this isn't exactly a fantastic thing either. Because Nintendo has to make use of their friend-code system.  Playing in a free-for-all against any random players is no fun at all.  All you can do is go in for a two minute fight.  Nothing more nothing less.  You can't set your own rules.  Play against friends with a friend code, though... and yeah, you can go to town.  Playing against friends who you actually know you can actually make rules and set them.  That's fun, but because of the friendcode system, it takes a lot of work to get set up.  You're better off just getting your friends together than trying to set up online matches.  In terms of taking games online, Nintendo can take a few tips from Microsoft.  The friend code system is a pain and doing a freeplay against anyone is so limited you might as well ask yourself why you bothered to check it out anyway. 

Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a good game.  Just not when playing online or by yourself.  If you do play, get some friends together and you'll have a blast.  Aside from that, however, the single player experience gets old... fast, and online just isn't that much fun when it's limited in the manner that it is here.  It's a fun game for parties, but you might find it collecting dust otherwise.

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August 10, 2009
Wow! Great, thorough review!!! Since you like Smash Bros, you gotta check out this skit from San Diego Comic Con 2008 that I was in.

Nintendon'ts Brawl the Musical

I was Popo! =)
More Super Smash Bros. Brawl reviews
review by . February 21, 2011
posted in Siliconera Bounce
Super Smash Brothers Brawl is what I call the defining game on the Wii. Unlike other games that resort to using motion controls, this game returns to the use of a nonmotion guided control scheme to allow for a wide array of fun. At its core, Brawl is a traditional fighting game with the usual onslaught of combos, playable characters, and modes. However, surrounded by this core is excessively addicting gameplay, collectibles, music, and fan service.      Potentially, this game …
review by . October 26, 2009
posted in The Gaming Hub
Hours and hours of fun. The combat moves are fun, stages visually entertaining, and graphics pretty good. It's like the Gamecube version, but with better graphics and more characters and stages.The one-player is pretty engrossing as well.    Note: This game doesn't make too much use of the Wii remote, but then again that's probably for the best.
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Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #1
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the third installment in the Super Smash Bros. series of crossover fighting games, developed by Sora and published by Nintendo for the Wii video game console. Brawl was announced at a pre-E3 2005 press conference by Nintendo president and Chief Executive Officer Satoru Iwata Masahiro Sakurai, director of the previous two games in the series, assumed the role of director for the third installment at the request of Iwata. Game development began in October 2005 with a creative team that included collaborations with various second- and third-party Nintendo developers. The game was released on January 31, 2008 in Japan, March 9, 2008 in North America, June 26, 2008 in Australia,and June 27, 2008 in Europe.

The number of playable characters that players can control in Brawl has grown from that of Super Smash Bros. Melee; Brawl is the first game in the series to expand past Nintendo characters and allow players to control third-party characters.[ Like its predecessors, the object of Brawl is to knock an opponent off the screen. It is a departure from traditional fighting games, notably in its simplified move commands and emphasis on ring outs over knockouts. It includes a more extensive single-player mode than its predecessors, known as The Subspace Emissary (SSE). This mode is a plot-driven, side-scrolling beat 'em up featuring computer-generated cut scenes and playable characters from the game. Brawl also supports multiplayer battles with up ...

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Number of Players: Single-player, Multi-player
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Game Arts
Console: Wii
Genre: Fighting Action
Release Date: March 09, 2008
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