Super Smash Bros. Review

smash title

Title: Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS
Developer: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Game Type: 3DS
NA Availability: 
Retail | Digital

EU Availability: Retail | Digital
Block Usage:  9,320

Cross-over fighting games have been all over the gaming market in recent years.  The PSP generation really helped expand this genre into the portable world.  It had the Dissidia games and Tales of VS. that followed.  The console world always had some franchises of its own.  One of the most popular of those is the Marvel vs Capcom series, which also made a handheld debut on the PlayStation Vita.  On the Nintendo side, there were also cross-over fighters in the form of the Jump Stars franchise on the DS.

With cross-over fighters, though, nothing can compare to the mass popularity of the Super Smash Bros. franchise.  Back when cross-over fighting games were still a brand new type of thing, Nintendo combined characters from its biggest franchises into a fighting game that took the world by storm.  Now, three generations later, the franchise is still going strong and has even crossed over to both the handheld and console worlds.

Super Smash Bros. 4 has hit the portable market, and I will tell you right now, I refuse to call it by its official name.  So, chucking the “for Nintendo 3DS” out the window, here is my official review of Super Smash Bros!

Story

Smash Roster

Story was one of the things left out of this new game in the Smash series.  So, without a story to talk about, the closest we can get is the roster.  I’m including this in the story section mostly because I need a place to put the roster screenshot in this review.  So, just go with it.

The roster of Super Smash Bros 4 consists of returning characters, new characters, and DLC characters.  The majority of the characters are returning characters from previous entries of the series.  However, we can have new characters in the form of the likes of Villager from Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Greninja from Pokemon X and Y, Mega Man from the NES Mega Man series, Rosalina from Super Mario Galaxy, and many more.  In technical terms, there are 17 new characters introduced in this new game.

Apart from the veterans and new characters, there are four downloadable characters, so far.  There is Mewtwo from the original Pokemon games, and someone who hasn’t been in the Smash series since Melee on the Gamecube.  There is also Ryu from Street Fighter, Lucas from Fire Emblem, and Roy from Earth Bound.  With everything put together, the game has a grand total of 53 playable characters.  That’s a rather large increase compared to Brawl’s roster.  There is also the possibility of it increasing with more DLC being revealed in the future.

Gameplay

Smash Battle

Super Smash Bros is a 2D fighting game with elements from a ton of other genres thrown into the mix.  Due to the nature of all of the different game modes you can play through, I can just say it’s got elements in it from several genres other than the fighting genre.  At its heart, though it’s a fighting game.

There are several different sections of game modes you can go through.  At the Main Menu, there is Smash, Online, Challenge, Smash Run, Games, Street Pass, and Wii U.  Past this are several different game modes in the Games section, which will be explained in due time.  First off, Street Pass lets you use the Nintendo 3DS Street Pass feature to play a bumper cars-style mini-game with other players with set characters from the game.  Wii U allows you to connect the 3DS version of the game to the Wii U version of the game.  This lets you transfer characters to the other version or use your 3DS as a controller when playing the other version.

Smash is the simplest set of game modes in the game.  You have Solo, Group, and Rules.  This lets you make your own fights with specific options and circumstances.  It lets you do so either by yourself with CPU characters or with local friends.

The Online section is for online play.  In this mode, there are Friends, Anyone, Conquest, Spectate, and Share sections.  Friends and Anyone let you play online against other 3DS users.  Conquest are events where you can support on various teams that play through tournaments and such.  Spectate lets you watch online matches and bet in-game currency on who you think will win.  Finally, Share lets you share your fighters and screenshots to others over the internet.

Challenge lists all the challenges you can do in the game.  These are like the game’s versions of trophies (think trophies like in PS Vita, PS3, and PS4 games).  They unlock once you complete certain tasks.  These could be simple like using Luigi so many times in Smash Mode or getting new records in another game mode.

Smash Run

Smash Run is a game mode exclusive to the 3DS version of the game.  This sets you on a 5-minute timer and puts your character into a large side-scrolling labyrinth filled with enemies from across all Nintendo franchises.  You spend the five minutes fighting off enemies to get drop items that increase various stats.  When that is over, you go to a final confrontation with three CPU characters or local players.  This could be a battle or a race across the dungeons.  This is one of the most unique modes, because it turns the game from a fighter into a side-scrolling platformer.

The Games section is a set of menus all on its own.  This has Solo, Group, Options, Vault, Custom, and Amiibo.  Many of these have several game modes hidden within them.

Solo has four game modes within it.  Classic, All-Star, Training, and Stadium.  Classic has you going through a gauntlet of fights leading to Master Hand, much like the original game on the Nintendo 64.  However, you have customization options.  You can use the in-game currency to increase or decrease the difficulty of this.  You also have different stages and battles each time you play, and the game can even throw DLC stages and characters into this once you download them.

All-Star has you going through a gauntlet of fights against characters with limited healing items.  Each round represents different age periods and it’s a matter of survival.  Training lets you practice moves with any character you want, like a tutorial mode.  Finally, Stadium has Multi-Man Smash, Target Blast, and Home-Run Contest.  This is a set of mini-games where you can fight hordes of enemies, launch bombs into target buildings, or build up damage and launch a sandbag to see how far you can make it go.

The Custom section lets you customize your Characters or your own Nintendo ID Mii Character to fight in the game.  This customization is based on equipment, powers, and items you’ve unlocked in other game modes.  There are also DLC equipment you can download.  For example, my Mii Fighter is a Sword-type and is wearing the armor and holding the saber of Zero from the Mega Man X universe, thanks to a DLC pack.

Options is pretty simple.  Alter options like controls and such.  Vault lets you view the trophies you’ve bought, battle replays, music and artwork from the game, and has a Tips section.  The expanded part of this is the Trophies section has another game mode called Trophy Rush.  This lets you spend currency to have a time limit where you can break as many boxes and bombs as possible to earn currency and other rewards.

Smash Game 2

Finally, the last game mode section is the Amiibo section.  If you have a Super Smash Bros series Amiibo figure, you can set it on a New Nintendo 3DS or New Nintendo 3DS XL and import your Amiibo character into the game.  You can then customize it similar to other characters and even fight against or as it as you play through the game.

Is he done explaining game modes now?  Yes, I am.  The game has a pretty overwhelming number of options of what you can do.  So let’s get down to actual combat.  In the game, you are playing in stages with the goal of launching your opponents off the stage to explode or fall and die.  This can increase your score in a Time Limit game or decrease their number of remaining lives in a Stock game.

Every character has their own unique moveset but many have the same types of moves.  Everyone has four regular attacks, four smash attacks, a Final Smash, grabs, etc.  However, what character you use determines how you play.  Some are faster than others and they al play similar to how they play in their respective games.  So expect there to be a substantial difference if you’ve been playing as Charizard for a long time and decide you want to try to learn how to play as Princess Zelda.

Do I even need to talk about length?  From the huge list of stuff I just told you that’s there for you to do, it’s pretty obvious this is a very long game.  Each Classic Run could only take you 10-20 minutes, but if you factor in unlocking all playable characters and stages, you’re looking at a minimum of several hours.  And if you do all the challenges?  Let’s just say if you’re a fan of the series, you’re not going to run out of things to do anytime soon.

Controls

Controlling the game is no hard task, really.  It’s pretty simple to learn.  First of all, this game uses all of the new buttons on the New Nintendo 3DS.  The ZL button is used to guard, and ZR is used for grabbing your enemies, much like the normal L and R buttons do that.  The C Stick is interesting as it is used for normal attacks.  The attack that normally requires you to use the Circle Pad to the right and the A button can be done by just flicking the C Stick to the right.

Moving around is purely dedicated to the Circle Pad.  The D-Pad is used, but for taunts instead of actual movement.  As I said above, L and R are used for blocking and grabs.  Jumping is done with the X and Y buttons and attacks are done with the A and B buttons.  A is used for normal attacks and B is used for Smash attacks.  You can also use B to launch your Final Smash when you destroy a Smash Orb during battle.  The touch screen can be used during menus, but not during gameplay.

Presentation

Smash Pres

Here is where the game’s greatest strength but also greatest weakness lies.  Visually, the game looks very impressive for a 3DS title.  Due to the cell-shading and the amount of detail in the character models, it looks really high quality.  Certainly one of the best-looking games on the system.

The performance is the biggest hassle with the game.  Load times and frame rate while offline is done really well.  However, when you connect online, the problems and system limitations begin to show themselves.  When you’re in an online match, it’s pretty rare to find a game that doesn’t have huge frame drops and lag.  At first, I thought I may have just gotten with the wrong players, but I’ve tried a couple dozen matches on different days and I have yet to play a game without huge amounts of lag.

By lag, I’m not talking about the frame drops in the Vita version of Resident Evil Revelations 2 that the Vita community loves to overblow as making the game unplayable.  The first few matches in Smash Online were roughly 3-4 frames per second for me.  Sometimes it would even get to the point where I would press a button and wouldn’t see my character begin the command until a good 3 or 4 seconds later.

Summary

Super Smash Bros has arrived on the Nintendo 3DS.  The main thing to consider is the fact that the online multiplayer has a ton of lag issues.  Outside of that is a cross-over fighter with an overwhelming amount of content that any Nintendo fan is sure to love. 

9/10

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