Thursday, March 13, 2008

Preview: Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Super Smash Bros. Brawl (2008)
Developer: Nintendo/HAL Laboratory, Inc.
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Purchase Date: 03/09/2008

To say that SSBB is nothing less than the most anticipated game of 2008 is a major understatement. Who wouldn't want to play a fighting game where popular Nintendo characters are violently trying to destroy each other? I rushed to the store on Sunday to pick it and guess what? The game is a bit disappointing. I have only put around 8 hours of play so far and I am not as addicted to it as I have anticipated the fact that I played the prequels for a long time.


The main problem is the new "Subspace Emissary" that replaced the quick, arcade fun of the prequels' adventure mode. Imagine what Sonic Team did to the 3D Sonic Adventure games and the sequel to Nights and you will understand how I feel about this obnoxious section of the game. In this new mode, you follow along some disjointed story of the SSB crew as they fight an alliance of evil characters, complete with beautiful but unnecessary CG movies between events. Sometimes, you just want to play a simple adventure game that can be finished in one sitting and apparently Nintendo has forgotten about this formula.

Princess Peach knows no shame.

If you have already played the previous incarnations to death, the most obvious and biggest draw for playing this game is the online brawl but it really only works when you fight with your friends because the random matches are plagued with some terribly nasty lag that never even existed in the old Dreamcast online games. Many times over, the whole screen would freeze for a minute before the matches could continue. It is actually more fun to watch, lag free, what must be online friend matches and bet your game gold on who is going to win than playing any of the random matches. I don't mind that you can't voice chat online but it is downright insulting that you can't even attach your identity or text messages to the random matches. It really makes me wish that Nintendo would grow up alongside its diehard followers. Nintendo still believes that their players should not make new friends online.

More fun than any random battles... Sad.

I do plan to get this game fully completed before moving on to a different Wii game. The graphics may not be Super Mario Galaxy quality but the whole look - especially the clever battlegrounds - is colorful and exciting. The orchestrated soundtracks sometimes work but they tend to actually downgrade the nostalgic values when overdone. It's just sad to see that they could have made this the ultimate of the series by putting more characters into the game. With so many unique personalities in the Nintendo universe, why are we limited to these select few? Those who are content with the limited characters are either incredibly foolish or lying to themselves or both. I bet that the next SSB will only add like just 5 more characters into the roster... unless the development team becomes smarter about this and really embrace what this series has the potential for.


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