My little brother just got Brawl on Sunday, since he pre-ordered. On Sunday I was playing it single-player and with him a bit. The game is very similar to Super Smash Bros. Melee (the GameCube iteration of the series), which is a good thing.
The first thing I did was check out the Classic Mode. I chose Kirby as my character and powered through it on Normal relatively quickly. Classic Mode has remained pretty much unchanged since the first Super Smash Bros. The only real difference was better visuals and some variety to the opposing characters.
I’m glad they have kept the same basic move sets and controls from Melee. I was able to pick up and start playing right away with a GameCube controller without any thought to it. Though I am disappointed that Mario’s whirlwind punch was replaced with the Fludd Cannon.
The next thing I checked out was Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection Mode. It took forever to find a match. When the match finally loaded there was no lag noticeable. There are tons of features missing from online: voice chat, leaderboards, and player skill levels. There are just basic options available of Play with Anyone or Play with Friends.
Later on I played against my brother in the game’s meat and potatoes – local multi-player. The local-multiplayer is also very comparable to Melee. You can even play Melee stages which is some nice fan service.
The main difference between Melee and Brawl are Brawl’s additions. The new powerups, final smashes, and assists trophies add new elements to the strategy. They are also cool to look at and execute. Some may find balance problems. Some of the Final Smashes take up entire screens, some just one side, and some only certain areas. So basically some Final Smashes are an almost guaranteed KO, while others are not. And some gamers might find certain assists over-powered, when using an assist only requires you to be the first person to pick it up. If it is dropped near you, you have a good chance to do some damage.
My brother and I each played as some of the newer characters; Initial impressions disappoint. Most of the new characters have lame B moves, or only one really effective one. Diddy Kong’s, Wario’s, King Dedede’s, and Captain Olimar’s move sets are lame. Pit has basically two moves you can use for damage. On the other hand, my brother played as Meta Knight and completely destroyed me. Digging deeper with these characters might produce better results.
Some of the old character’s moves have changed slightly. Playing against Yoshi seems less annoying, but Yoshi’s moves seem more effective. The older characters still have the right amount of balance.
The last thing we played was a little bit of the Subspace Emissary (the game’s story mode). It is not exactly mind-straining or even button-straining work. People have called it a platformer, but I would consider it more like a Beat ‘em Up. Not too deep, but a fun co-op diversion from beating each other’s brains out.
Yes, I’ve only played it for one day, but I’m really digging it so far. Some may be disappointed that not much has changed from Melee. I think it was a wise choice. The game is a refinement of Melee in many ways and an expansion in others.
I’ve had epic battles and marathon sessions with both the original Smash. Bros. and Melee and don’t expect it to be any different with this game. The game is still strangely addicting, easily accessible, and deeper than it first appears.