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Reviews, reflections, rants and other such writings...

Game Review: Super Smash Bros. Brawl

An article by Jomingo

3 June '09

Brawl's Box Art
Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the third installment in the Super Smash Bros. series, and if you're a Nintendo fan the most anticipated title of this generation. It suffered numerous delays and setbacks, but the wait is finally over. Was it worth it?

Well, the biggest new feature you'll notice is the Subspace Emissary. It's a big step-up from the previous game's story mode, and it actually kinda has a story. It's main purpose seems to be to make you try out each character, and it does this very well. There is an excellent Donkey Kong level, in which DK and Diddy must retrieve their bananas from Bowser's minions, and it even has some barrel blasting type segments. They really seem to capture the duo's personalities throughout the story mode. Aside from that, the story can be a bit bland at times but overall is a fantastic addition to the game.

Another new feature is the Stage Builder. It sounds like a great concept, but it is one of the most poorly executed features in the game. You are very limited on what tiles you can place, and where you can place them, you only have three backgrounds to choose from, and most of the time your stages aren't fun and are relatively ugly. More than once an idea will come to you and you will struggle with it for hours until you realize it simply cannot be done with such a simplistic stage builder(but I did make a killer Gangplank Galleon).

The online mode, which is almost a given in today's market, is terrible. There's quite a bit of lag and not as many features as the regular multiplayer. Worst of all, there is no way to communicate with your friend before a match, so you have no way of deciding the match specifics.

The actual gameplay is good. It feels like much of the same Smash Bros. formula, which is a good thing. The addition of Final Smashes is quite welcome, as Brawl didn't add much else to change the core gameplay. These Final Smashes, though unbalanced between certain characters, make the game much more exciting. They do make it much easier to have a come from behind victory; whether or not this is a good thing is up to you. Donkey Kong's Final Smash is based on the Donkey Konga Bongo games, and is very ineffective, though this is forgivable because of all the fan service packed into Diddy's Final Smash.

Other than the inclusion of Diddy Kong(which I thought was a given), the roster is a disappointment, from the unworthy characters and multiple clones, to the lack of several very deserving characters. Some franchises, such as Mario and Pokemon, are over-represented, while others, like Metroid and F-Zero, still only have one playable character. The Starfox series has three of what is essentially the same character, and King K. Rool doesn't have any significant appearance besides a trophy. And don't even get me started on Snake.

DK doesn't understand the
stage selection either
Speaking of King K. Rool, we still haven't gotten a Gangplank Galleon stage. Instead, we get a DK Arcade stage, and a Junglebeat stage! These complaints aside, the rest of the stages are pretty good. They are varied, and entertaining. The balance of series representation is still somewhat lacking, but the stages are still a lot of fun. They even brought back several great stages from Melee, including Jungle Japes!

The items are more of the same thing. The most noteworthy addition is the Assist Trophies. These are essentially Pokeballs, but instead of Pokemon coming out at your command, a certain character from Nintendo's history will be summoned to aide you. This is a great way for characters that couldn't make it into playable form to still have an appearance, though there still isn't any King K. Rool.

Well, what else can I say? The graphics are great, the multiple control schemes work well, and there are a lot of unlockables to keep you busy. This is a fantastic game, but it certainly isn't perfect. It's great, but there are too many major disappointments to give this a perfect score. It gets a hard earned 4 out of 5.


- by Jomingo -

This article was written by a DKC Atlas Forum staff member. All opinions expressed within this article are those of the writer, and are not necessarily shared by DKC Atlas, or the DKC gaming community.
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