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Sean's first thoughts on Brawl

Posted by: Sean Colleli at 3/10/2008 9:35 PM
Despite my growing dissatisfaction with Nintendo and a few of the things they are doing, I couldn’t resist picking up Super Smash Bros Brawl yesterday. So far, it’s great. Big surprise, right? Rest assured that the agonizing wait has been well worth it.

The starting roster of characters is pretty big, with a number of new faces and a lot of the old ones too. Some of my favorite characters, namely Samus and Link, have been slowed down a bit, which is a little annoying and takes some getting used to. Yoshi is a lot better than he was in Melee, and I’m sure that my brother will be using him to destroy me before long. A couple of the new guys, Pit and Ike, are a lot of fun to use but Ike is a little cheap if you ask me. Developer Sora has gotten creative with some of the techniques, like the recovery moves, so be prepared to learn new tricks that aren’t purely traditional Smash Bros.

I’ve set to work unlocking the secret characters, and I just got Snake this morning. He and his stage, Shadow Moses Island, have a lot of funny little references to the Metal Gear series, which itself is a very self-referential franchise. I’m just surprised they didn’t include a little round ration as a recovery item.

My brother and I tried the Wii remote/Nunchuk control scheme for a few matches, and while it’s definitely serviceable it also feels somewhat awkward. I tested the classic controller which feels a little more natural, but has the disadvantage of an unused Wii remote hanging off of it, and no rumble. I really prefer the GameCube pad to any of the new schemes. I’ll have to tinker with the control customization, but after playing Melee for nearly 7 years with a GCN controller, I just don’t want to switch to anything new. For old school Smash fans, I suggest you hang on to your Cube controllers, and snap up any Wavebirds you find as Nintendo has stopped making the elusive wireless pad.

I haven’t played online yet but I did take a look at Brawl’s Wifi options. They look a little sparse to me, with a random matchmaker and of course those damned friend codes. It’s nice that we can finally play Smash Bros online, but I’m left wondering just how much better it could’ve been if Nintendo wasn’t so backwards when it comes to online play.

So far I’m really liking Brawl, it’s the hardcore game that the old school fans have been holding out for. I’ve only scratched the surface, and already I can tell that it’s a much bigger game than Melee, which is really saying something. It’s going to take me months and maybe years to find and unlock everything, but I’ll have a review up in a couple of weeks.