Sunday, October 12, 2014

Game Review: Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS

4 Player Fighter; 3DS; Nintendo/Sora/Namco Bandai; 2014
OKAY OKAY OKAY! I'll review the damn game, although Smash Bros is on to the most unreviewable games out there. Not because the game defies descriptions, but rather because there is almost no point in reviewing it, everyone and their mother's cousin's nephew's aunt's former roommate not only knows this game exists, but has already bought it and unlocked all the characters within 12 hours and have spent the rest of that time formulating tier lists for those crazy enough to try to play the game competitively. But it is one of the most highly anticipated games ever so here it is: Super Smash Bros 4, I mean Super Smash Bros four Nintendo 3DS, I mean... just read the review.

And Mega Man shoots Link in the face. I'm sure we all wanted to see that at some point.
Story? STORY? This is Smash Bros., even in the game that had a Story Mode, had no story just a premise. So what is Smash Bros. said the only two people who have never heard of this series? It is all of Nintendo's star characters, from across all generations of Nintendo's library of games, fighting off against each other in what can be best described as Nintendo's take on traditional fighting games. Now that may seem like a strange description, but I think it is the most apt way of describing the game as Nintendo's take on other genres (like Racers in Mario Kart or RPGs in Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi) seems to be to take the basic concept, strip away all the unnecessaries, and build mechanics around that core that encapsulates the mantra "Easy to Learn, Hard to Master." In Smash Bros' case, it's to simplify fighters down to two primary buttons: "Attack" and "Specials" in which all of the character's unique arsenal of skills and weapons are executed with nothing more than a direction and a button push. And a unique health system that only determines how far you fly when launched (Noted as a Damage %, that starts at 0 and increases after getting hit) and death only happens when you are knocked far enough off the screen. And finally you have random items show up to explode, shoot, and generally cause chaos which makes each of the constantly changing fights more and more interesting.

"Can't touch this!"
One of the things that makes this review kind of superfluous is the fact that everyone knows this game is going to be good because, well there hasn't been a BAD Smash Bros game; however, what everyone wants to know is what is new or different since the previous game: Brawl. Quite a lot actually. There have been many small changes as well as big changes. Some of the small are stuff like Players can be force off of ledge grabs by another player grabbing that same ledge, Players can jump off of other players, and various tweaks to returning character's move sets. Some of the bigger changes is removing Transformations, by splitting those characters into separate entries, and the complete removal of an Adventure like mode. For single players all of the usual Smash modes return, Classic, All-star, Multiman fights, the challenge board, and of course the Homerun contest. While the lack of a Subspace Embassy mode is dearly missed, as none of the new or returning modes quite compare to that adventure in Brawl, there is still plenty there to keep a lonely player occupied, even if the goal is to beat Classic or All-star mode with all the characters (which will be a time consuming process given there are 51 characters once everything is unlocked). A new mode is Smash Run, which is split into two parts, a labyrinth reminiscent of the Subspace Embassy where each player explores for 5 minutes collecting treasure and fighting enemies from all of the series showcased in Smash Bros, collecting stat boosts all to prepare for a final showdown with the other players. Though what kind of showdown that is randomly generated ranging from straight up fights, to special rules fights, to climbing... huh. However, what is probably the showcase feature in Smash 4 is the customization system. As you play in the Classic, All-Star, and Smash Run modes, you not only acquire the series stable trophies, but also custom parts for your characters. Not only do you have Mii fighters which are by their vary nature a fully customizable character based on 3 different archtypes (Brawler, Swordfighter, Gunner), but each fighter can gain custom specials which modify the effects of their attacks (usually increasing speed while sacrificing attack power or vice versa) but also pieces of equipment that will change the character's balance. Want to make Little Mac slower but pack a bigger punch? You can do that. Want to take Fox and make him really hard to kill? You can do that. Each piece of equipment will add to one stat while taking away from another, or add a special bonus in exchange for a larger stat drop. It is very interesting and makes me really want to play around with it, unfortunately it is unavailable when playing anyone online except for "With Friends."

I think Fox is trying to be Zen.
Speaking of Online, Smash's Online functionality is... Limited. You have "With Friends" play and "With Anyone" however with no means of inviting friends who are online into a game that I can find, it is really hard to set up a "With Friends" match without prior cooperation or a lot of waiting and hoping. "With Anyone" you have two major modes "For Fun" which has all the items and all the stages (except Final Destination) on and is intended for people who just want to play with others for entertainment, and "For Glory" which is only Final Destination stages and no items and all of your wins and loses are recorded. Unfortunately, Online play can be... Hit or Miss. There are times where the game runs SUPER smooth with nearly no delay or lag, but there are times where the game slows to a crawl, you have a full second delay from your input, and everything freezes while the game tries to sync everyone up again. These matches are some of the most frustrating experiences I've had while playing online, and you really can't do anything about it since Smash doesn't allow you to filter rooms based on connection quality or even select which Lobby you want to enter. Fortunately, lately it seems like online play is getting better (or at least it is for me) and even with playing against Japanese players, there is a bit of lag but nothing that renders the match unplayable. It might have been launch issues, or I might just be lucky recently. Other than that there is a lot of "I wish this game had" with Smash 4 3DS. I wish Smash Run was playable over the internet and not just local Wi-fi. I wish I could record my matches and have them saved as video files rather than just as in game data. I wish it was a lot easier to get a With Friends match going. I wish it was easier to set up a Smash 4 tournament. I wish Nintendo would make a patch to add these features into the game. I wish I could play smash all day long and not have to worry about stuff like work. I wish...... I wish I could stop with all of these "I wish" sentences.

Let's face it. I don't have to say anything. You are already playing Smash 4, and for no other reason than that Smash 4 gets a Must Play! Because you already are. And while there are a lot of "I wish the game had" that is only saying that the game is so awesome that I want more of it. And hopefully Smash 4 Wii U will be that more of it that we all want. Until then, we will just have to settle for beating each other up this way. Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS is a Must Play!

Until next time.

-Crescent, If you see this online, you better run for the hills.

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