So, Smash Bros 3DS has been out for a week now and what a week it has been. All around the world people have been running through mazes, hitting home runs, blowing up targets, and most importantly, smashing around Nintendo icons. But of course, anyone with a 3DS is already aware of this, so I’ll skip the history lesson about what it is, and jump straight into the review.
The first question people seem to be asking, is “Does the game play like Melee?” Short answer; No… But really, that’s not entirely a bad thing. Yes, the game itself feels more like Brawl than Melee, but there have been a lot of improvements. For starters, they’ve learned from their mistakes and removed tripping, while keeping some other fun things that Brawl introduced, like Final Smashes (for those who enjoy items) and Footstall Jumping. Not only this, but the game feels a lot faster than Brawl did, but not as fast as Melee, allowing veterans and newbies to the series a nice paced middle ground, for all to smash on. The characters also feel a lot more balanced, and the maps now have a Final Destination option, allowing them all to be a flat, no-hazard arena, so gone are the days of ‘Fox only, Final Destination’ matches, and Meta Knight being banned from tournaments.
Personally, when images leaked to the internet, I was impressed with the Wii U graphics and a bit let down by the 3DS graphics… That being said, however, those pictures must have been from an early Beta version, because this game looks amazing for a handheld. Now I won’t go overboard, because there are some things that look a bit clunky (looking at you, 30fps Assist trophies) but I’m still impressed they could make a game run smoothly when there is all kinds of hectic mayhem going on at any one time in game. Also, for those who dislike, or alternatively love the bold black outlines around characters, you have the option to make the lines thicker or thinner, based on your own personal preference.
Generally, sound isn’t a huge factor for me in video games… I mean, sure, I appreciate it, and a game would probably be quite awkward and lonely without sound, but at the end of the day, as long as I can hear Captain Falcon ask people to “Show me your moves!” while a tune from Punch-Out! play in the background, I consider myself pretty content. And this game has that, so yay Smash Bros!
Now obviously, the multiplayer is where Smash truly shines. It was originally intended as a party fighting game, not to be taken incredibly seriously, and this continues to be one of the best things about it. Even as someone who does enjoy the competitive side of it, I have to admit there’s something undeniably satisfying about occasionally putting items on, and blowing 3 people off of the stage with the new Gust Bellows item (which is ridiculously overpowered by the way) and watching the players faces when they realize you’ve just gotten a 0% damage KO against them.
As for the competitive side of Smash, like I said earlier, the characters do feel a lot more balanced, so we’ll probably see a much more difficult to determine tier list eventually. When playing online, there can be some lag (as to be expected), sometimes to the point of making a game nearly unplayable, but the majority of the time, I’ve found the lag bearable. However, there is also occasionally some lag when playing local wireless, which is less understandable, but also far less common.
New features to the game include customizable characters (from custom Mii fighters, to alternate move sets for standard fighters) and a mode called Smash Run, allowing you to power up your fighter as you traverse a labyrinth, fighting NPCs and eventually 3 other powered up fighters, in a range of different game modes. While it would be nice to have a bit more control over upgrades, and the match type, it’s a fun little distraction that rewards you with more customization options for characters. There is also a new boss at the end of Classic mode, if you fight Master Hand and Crazy Hand at intensity 5.5 or higher, which actually can prove a challenge.
Personally, I’ve always loved the Smash franchise, whether it be from learning about characters I was previously unfamiliar with (Ness and Capt Falcon in SSB, Marth and Roy in SSBM, Ike and Zero Suit Samus in SSBB, and now Shulk in SSB4), answering long awaited questions (who would win if Mario fought Sonic), proving to my friends that I really am the greatest player ever (try to prove me wrong guys!), or just generally watching unscripted madness unfold, it continues to be an outstanding series. Like any competitive game, there are bound to be balancing issues, but in today’s age of patches and DLC’s, if anything ever becomes game breaking (see: Melee advanced techniques) Nintendo now has the power to update and fix things, which we can hope they take advantage of.
All in all, Super Smash Bros. 3DS is a welcome addition to the series, and a must have game for the 3DS. Like seriously, stop reading and go buy it, now.