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Super Smash Bros. Brawl Japanese Impressions

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Super Smash Brothers Brawl is possibly the most anticipated Nintendo Wii title of 2008 and why shouldn’t it be? This fan service on a disc has a ridiculous amount of content for the Nintendo obsessed. The Japanese version of Brawl known as Dairanto Smash Brothers X was released a few weeks ago and I finally got my hands on it. Here are some impressions after taking it for a quick spin. Note that Brawl is a rather large game with plenty of modes to choose from. So where does one start? Subspace Emissary and classic multiplayer Brawl modes seemed appropriate and thus this preview will just touch on those two modes.

Taking multiplayer as the key consideration, I started the game with my brother. With only one GameCube Wavebird on hand (and an unwillingness to use a wired controller), I opted to try out one of Brawl’s four controller configurations; horizontal Wii-mote mode. One thing that surprised me a bit was how the entire game was infrared-less. I knew playing the main game with the infrared pointer was silly and unavailable, but I didn’t expect it to be completely absent. Not a big deal though.

After fiddling through the Japanese menus a bit, we made our way into the classic Brawl mode. At first glance, this game is gorgeous and among the best the Wii has to offer. Everyone (aside from Kirby) were noticeably more detailed than their Melee counterparts. After a moment or two of gawking and reminiscing of how far Nintendo has come, we put various characters through the paces and tried out as many moves as possible. While everyone had something new to show off, what we wanted to see were the new characters. Oh, and yes the game is playable with the Wii-mote. I’m not a “tournament Smash” player by any means, but I thought the Wii-mote mode was an adequate substitute.

My personal favourite so far would have to be the Pokemon Trainer who is essentially three characters in one: Squirtle, Ivysaur and Charizard. You don’t actually use the trainer himself, but instead control one of three Pokemon who can be switched at will. The trainer himself stands in the background issuing orders like the good Pokemon trainer he is. I found it to be an awesome character to watch and play.

Unfortunately, the lust for new content could not be satisfied by playing the battle mode alone. The single player adventure mode, Subspace Emissary, was needed in order to unlock the bulk of what Brawl has to offer. The mode comprises of sidecrolling platforming levels and battle arenas bookended by plenty of “What if…” CG cutscenes. Characters such as Donkey Kong, Mario and Princess Zelda were made available for play as they smash their way through waves of nameless enemies or duke it out against one of the game’s many bosses. Admittedy, despite the co-operative play available, the few levels we played so far were hit or miss. They either didn’t resonate with us due to unimaginative level design or they were too short to be considered memorable. There were occasions of “Oh snap… This is just like <insert game here>”, but so far the Subspace Emissary has yet to wow us.

I am not certain if Smash Brothers fans (the hardcore and fanatical) will enjoy Brawl, but as a Nintendo and general video game fan: I enjoyed what I played thus far. There’s just too much nostalgia packed in to pass up. I am looking forward to the March 9th, 2008 release.

For all your Smash Brothers info, checkout the official website. It oozes with info!

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