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VG Review - Super Smash Bros. Brawl

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Do you have what it takes to fight in the brawl to end them all?! Well, say no more, as I review Super Smash
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Bros. Brawl for the Nintendo Wii, and it is the first SSB title to be released in the last six to seven years, succeeding Melee. Upon release, Brawl has received critical acclaim for the game's entertainment value and mechanics as a whole, despite the loading times. Now let's move on, shall we?

Super Smash Bros. Brawl is published by Nintendo and developed by the "Ad hoc development team", whatever the hell that is. The installment has gone in development since October 2005, being worked on by Project Sora, Game Arts, and even the staff from other third-party and Nintendo teams. I assume the hype for Brawl is fuckin' enormous, and I'm theorizing about the future installment... Since the tagline for Brawl is already ironic! Ha-ha-ha!! Okay, let's move on before I lose my sanity...

Super Smash Bros. Brawl expands quantity in terms of character roster, beating out the roster in Melee: there are 35 characters you are able to select, with most of them returning from the predecessor... But it's not great without mentioning the new peeps! First off, you have Pit from the Kid Icarus series, who has been given a more "bishounen" appearance... I dunno, I just made that shit in. Then you have Olimar from the Pikmin series, which at first, I most seriously hated the hell outta him... But after mastering, he appears to be a pretty decent character in some form... Why didn't I see that the first time!?!?! Wario is also debuting from WarioWare, in which this character has a confusing past; this being that he was to appear in the first game, but was never included... Dunno why that is. We also have added additions from character franchises that have been around in the past: Lucas from Mother 3, Ike from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (who I guess was made to replace Roy, so... Yeah?), and Diddy Kong from the Donkey Kong franchise, who honestly, acts a little more like a stereotypical monkey/chimp than DK, himself... JESUS!!! One problem, however, shows that Mewtwo and Young Link were omitted, to make room for Lucario and Toon Link (an unworthy replacement, I mind you!), and even Pichu, Roy, and Dr. Mario got the axe.... I wanted to see them make another comeback! But hell, we have another upcoming title, so PS can probably make the best out of that. Brawl is the first SSB title to also use third-party characters: Sonic the Hedgehog, the titular character from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, and Solid Snake from Metal Gear... I'll say this right now: they are just amazing additions, but I usually don't like meeting people who constantly have to depend on these two. It's pretty pathetic, in my opinion... But sometimes, that can slide! Other characters in Brawl that have never appeared in previous titles also are as follows: R.O.B., a robot resembling a Gyromite (or is he one???), Meta Knight from the Kirby series, a masked warrior of Kirby's kind who is actually a white Kirby (AND HE'S OVERPOWERED AS ALL HELL!!!!!!!), a Pokémon Trainer from the Pokémon franchise, who has three other Pokémon with him: Squirtle (Zenigame), Charizard (Lizardon), and Ivysaur (Fushigisou), in which the Trainer takes direct control of them whenever you switch out and choose another one, and all that nice shit... Cool. Oh yeah, and I forgot one more: Wolf from Star Fox: Assault, who is a beefed up version of both Fox and Falco... Well, that's what I think! And while Fox, Falco, and Wolf use the same Final Smash, Wolf uses a different sort of Landmaster with a red color scheme; which notes that he's evil (DUUUUHHH!!!!!!!)

One small note: Brawl has up to four different control schemes, such as the Nintendo Gamecube or the Wiimote, alone... Personally, I just go with using the Wiimote by itself, but the Gamecube controller is pretty swell, as well! Heeeeeey, that rhymes!! {coughs} Onward...

Do I need to describe the gameplay? Well, maybe a little! During any kind of game mode you partake in, you'll notice when using a character, they have an updated character model, a franchise symbol, the character's picture, and the name... I find that to be an improvement, don't you? Brawl does include a tidbit that lets you create profiles with configurated buttons with each control method, with the chosen name... Not much to say on that, but okay. "Smash attacks" from Melee also return as well, with one another new variant that you will just find outright awesome: FINAL SMASH!!!!!!! Okay, so here's the 411 on these babies: each character has one Final Smash attack they are able to unleash on opponents once in contact with the "Smash Ball", a glowing, orb-like ball with the Smash Bros. logo that floats around... Depending on the situations, characters such as Sonic or Bowser can use this chaotic power to alter their appearance, while other characters like Ike and Mario can utilize a powerful attack... Personally, my favorite Final Smashes in the game belong to Ike, Ganondorf, Samus, Link, and even Sonic, just for uncontrollable reasons that is! Heh-heh-heh...

Items also make a great return here as usual, and we have a few new ones, with "Assist Trophies" being a nice addition. What they do is that whenever a player or a CPU comes in contact with it, the controlled characters automatically summon it just to reveal a guest character that can either help or become a hindrance... Honestly, I have no favorite assists, but I have disliked ones at that: Mr. Resetti (because he talks way too DAMN MUCH!!!!!), Nintendog (This pup blocks the whole screen, with only one option being to stay at the sides... Who requested this!?!?), and Devil (He has a real bad habit of scrolling the screen... Why couldn't he have been given Fire Breath or anything more useful than scrolling the blasphemic screen???)

If it's two things I can hate about Brawl are the problematic balance issues and online capabilities. First of all, you will find tier lists that are just notorious for having bad reputation, not caring one bit about the player's skill or other tactics... Meta Knight's a prime example of this, for crying out loud! Another thing wrong is that the online gameplay is extremely laggy at parts, and it makes Tatsunoko vs. Capcom way more amazing than it already has been... But if you complain about this situation a lot, saying things like "STUPID!!!! I have Nintendo Wi-Fi at my area, and it works fine, fyi!", well then fine. But then again at the time, Nintendo was trying new things with the Wii in terms of online, and the most badassery there is of course Mario Kart Wii... Which has stellar connection, as far as I've heard!

The "Vault" in Super Smash Bros. Brawl is variable. Returning from Melee are of course trophies, statuettes of video game characters and objects complete with brief description or history about the subjects, especially Sonic and Snake, and other characters and objects which don't appear in terms of gameplay, but are still given the same treatment. New modes such as the "Coin Launcher" were added in replacement of the "Lottery Machine" from Melee, in which you use coins as projectiles to target trophies and dodge hazards such as missiles, which can be shoot as well from my examinations... Personally, I enjoy this a lot more than the other minigame. In addition to trophies, stickers of video game artwork is also now added in, which along with trophies, you can put on virtual backgrounds and take snapshots, later being sent to other players via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection... Satisfying... But one problem: other stickers or trophies may not be unlocked in the Subspace Emissary, Vs., or even Coin Launcher, and might only be unlocked through the Challenges mode: an interactive display featuring other content locked in gridded windows... These will be revealed once you complete an achievement concering the challenge! One other thing because I change subject: Brawl also has demos of older playable games originating from earlier consoles. They use Virtual Console technology, which emulates older games and ranges from thirty seconds to five minutes... Some, though, also use save data to play a certain scenario or level. Chronicles includes a list of previous games published or not published, but still developed by Nintendo... You can browse the history for yourself on this one!

Super Smash Bros. Brawl is even more unique with its own stage roster: 41 stages, with 29 being playable from the start. Several stages have a tendency to change visual-wise when it comes to the standard "day-to-night" system or the changing of the seasons... Take Yoshi's Island for example! Other environmental mechanics such as destructive terrain and the ability to float are also present. Not only all of this is included, but you have about eight to nine to ten (Can't remember!!! ROFL) stages from Brawl's predecessor, Melee... Now that is pure win! SSBB is the first in the series to where you can create your own stages, along with giving them different pieces of music, commenting, structures, and even floors to name a few... The stages can be saved via an SD Card or the Wii's internal memory, and can even be permitted for play when submitting the creations to friends online, or to Nintendo to receive a daily stage from the service... Sooooooo much enjoyment!

The music in Brawl is all awesome and somewhat original. During development of the game, Sakurai enlisted 36 composers to include pieces either ripped from original sources, remixed, or arranged... Out of the bunch, this includes Yuzo Koshiro, Koji Kondo, and even the Final Fantasy lord, himself, Mr. Nobuo Uematsu, who only composed the main theme... AND HOLY SHIT!!!! 36 COMPOSERS?!?!?!?!?! COOOOOOLLL!!!!! Also, another feature is the "My Music" mode, which a player is able to listen whatever songs he or she admires... For stages, you can also choose how often a song will play or not... It's your decision, pal! Make it snappy, snappy, SNAPPY!!! Though one thing that bugged is that you don't use much fan favorites such as "Toot Toot Sonic Warrior" from Sonic CD or the menu screen from the first Smash Bros. title on here... And that was kinda harsh considering the rest of the music is only epicness, but remixes/arrangements like the Angel Island Zone from Sonic 3 don't feel exactly right to me. {Sighs} Wait for the future, Ouro...

Aside from what I explained in this review earlier, everything else has returning in a slight or drastic improvement, overall... The single player story mode, The Subspace Emissary, is a great, but not so keen original. First off, TSE is a plot-driven game mode in which many of the playable characters (save for Ganondorf, mostly) must vanquish the evil forces of Tabuu and his minions, the Master and Crazy Hand... Why is Tabuu, who looks very interesting and rather unorthodox for a design, taking Hands under his wing??? Besides, only Crazy Hand and Ganondorf would do that way more than the Master Hand, who truly isn't all evil according to his backstory. Having a beat-'em-up-influenced engine makes this mode almost perfect to be honest, but I can't help feeling that the story is way too dark and not as light-hearted as it turns out... Hmmm??? But overall, it works for those who like it...

But now comes the finale! Do I think Super Smash Bros. Brawl is better than Melee? Originally, my thoughts were a bit one-sided on that, but now I think so... Since people claimed Melee to be a bit of a mess in terms of technical issues and other things unexplained. Brawl definitely is one of those untraditional fighting games I will enjoy to no end, complete with a solid, but unbalanced character roster, great choice of stages, unique taste of music choices, and overall chaotic gameplay. To the development teams, I owe you a lot for the best! You are some of the greatest out there, in my opinion... You guys rock!! You never bomb, you care for your fans almost, and you never became sellouts like Capcom... And I went there since they keep milking money and in the middle of the month, they cancelled Mega Man Legends 3!! Bullcrappity-crap!!!! But even today, SSBB is just win!! I'm not afraid to give this one a high A+... And I'm not the one who's going to lie, here! See me next time as I take on the last official review..... Of New Super Mario Bros. Wii!

Final Verdict

Pros

  • Even with some balance issues, the character roster is still fantastic
  • Much more improved mechanics in terms of gameplay and sound quality... Me likey!
  • The beat-em-up tone of TSE is wonderful... Everything I imagined
  • The stages are all well-rounded and have great visual changing... Nice one
  • The music selections were highly praised on my part... Except for about three or four songs.
  • The "Coin Launcher" minigame is just badassery, written all over it
  • Final Smashes can work real handy-like!
  • Added in Pokémon such as Latias, Latios, Metagross, and Groudon take the cake... In a pleasure
  • Assist trophies are pretty awesome to work with... Except for Devil, Mr. Resetti, and the Nintendog.... {shivers}
  • Changing the music at points is very flawless, almost all the time... For the menu theme for Brawl, I change its standard music just for the menu screen from SSBM.
  • Boss Battles are always challenging sometimes and are pretty memorable... My favorite battles are with Galleom, Master Hand, and even Petey Piranha, as a good start.
  • No voice acting in the Subspace Emissary was a safe idea. They probably would have messed it up horribly had they done so.

Cons

  • The tone of the plot when it comes to Subspace Emissary is a little too dark for my tastes... Meh.
  • Balance issues are a bit of a problem; this may get reworked for SSB4, just so we can play fair again!
  • Online capabilities are fucked over a bit, and it just gets frustrating for that.
  • Memorable tunes such as "Toot Toot Sonic Warrior" aren't present too much. And that's a bit of a shame for me.
  • Lucario is a great fighter to use (Beecanoe's favorite), but between him and Mewtwo with a new moveset, Mewtwo wins over in that department.
  • Fox, Falco, and Wolf all have nearly the same identical movesets, which seems a little lazy on the developers' part. Would it have killed them to have at least one of them use Arwing for their Final Smash?
  • Stage Editor tends to show potential on a few occasions, but it is somewhat limited, as well.

Final Vote

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