Review: Super Smash Bros. Wii U
The Good: The Visuals | Improved Gameplay Speed | Better Interface
The Bad: Replays Don’t Include Player Names | No Voice Chat
Sakurai has transitioned the series beautifully into HD and multiplayer matches are clearer than ever before. The sharper graphics allow for better tracking of your fighter. The interactivity of the stages is a nice next step for the series. Each stage has clever art direction that represent their home games well. I have favorites for various reasons, which includes nostalgia. For example, the Duck Hunt level is unchanged from its 8-bit glory, but with a pitfall on both sides of the stage as the game was not made in widescreen in the analog days of TV. Xenoblade’s Gaur Plain is my new favorite stage only because I logged 200+ hours on Monolith Soft’s excellent RPG. The new Star Fox stage entitled Orbital Gate Assault is my new favorite moving stage, while the Wii Sports Resort / Pilotwings 3DS home of Wuhu Island is a close second. Every stage can be counted on to bring you a Nintendo-loving smile. Don’t like the stages? Create your own.
Objects, Assist Trophies, Pokemon, and Final Smashes have also been beefed up with new character additions. My personal favorite is seeing Ghirahim from the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword in there to cause mischief.
Gameplay for Smash has always been about a dedicated buttons for a regular attack, a special attack, and a bubbly shield. Simple, but effective, given that the terrain will vary with their own set of obstacles. While the gameplay has not changed much since its Wii predecessor, Sakurai and company have saturated the game with more assist trophies. Smash also offers more ways to control:
- Wii U GamePad
- Wii Remote
- Wii Remote + Nunchuk
- Classic Controller
- Classic Controller Pro
- Wii U Pro Controller
- Nintendo Gamecube (GCN) Controller
- Nintendo 2DS/3DS + Super Smash Bros. 3DS Cartridge
Mii Fighter. When Satoru Iwata and Reggie Fils-Aime filmed that epic fight scene to kick off Nintendo’s Digital Event at E3 2014, they introduced the Mii Fighter and amiibo. For the former, the Mii Fighter is a welcomed addition for folks who can’t get enough of the Mii avatar. Based on my use of the Fighter in the battle for my living room, I’d say there is some sense of enjoyment seeing your Mii go toe-to-toe with the likes of Link, Shulk, and Captain Falcon.
Amiibo Integration. Let’s get one thing out of the way here: you do not control your Amiibo in battle. Instead, you will train them and level them up. When you first get your Amiibo ready, you’re going to set it up in the game itself. Then, as you’re going through some non-solo matches, you can bring them into the game and they will learn how to be better fighters over time. They actually will level up in RPG-esque fashion after every match and they become noticeably smarter as you continue to battle against them. The pacing of the Amiibo difficulty is a steady progression. Once they’re at Level 30, you’re going to have to outsmart them. In actuality, they have a Magic Johnson effect on you as well. As they get better, you get better. As a result, this will get you ready for those neighborhood tournaments and online matches.
Online. If you’ve played the Wii online version and you have a decent WiFi connection, you’ll notice improvement with a lack of lag. If you have a wired connection, which is what we recommend, you won’t find a problem with the online mode at all. Just like Mario Kart 8 (MK8) before it, you can play with friends or fight randomly with strangers. There’s not much of a voice chat option to complement the dishing out of pain with some smack talk.
5-to-8-Player Smash. We tested the game with 6 characters on-screen at one time (Gamepad, Pro Controller, and 4 Wii Remotes) and the HD visuals help you keep track of a very zoomed out stage. We then tested it with an Amiibo included. The game may feel as if it moves slower at a zoomed-out view, but it really helps with 6-to-8 people. It would be nice if players were given the option to use all the stages and deal with the zoomed-in look for added difficulty. It still remains to be seen if this is un-lockable in some way.
Smash doesn’t try to hold back all of their un-lockable characters. You start off with a large roster of 36 fighters. You can unlock up to 12 more so there’s quite a bit of fighting to do. On Classic Solo or Group Mode, it’s all about choice: the difficulty level is up to you. A moving scale between 1-10 in difficulty is fair and balanced across the board. You won’t switch from 3 to 4 and find yourself in dire straits.
The Smash Bros. franchise has always paved the way for first party Nintendo titles to implement great production value, especially with the CG videos used to highlight each character. This latest installment continues that trend as the quality of the game can be seen, heard, and felt at every turn.
Super Smash Bros. U is the class of franchise and the best reason to own a Wii U to date. Sakurai and his band of perfectionists have created a game that will be played for years to come at living room gatherings, parties, and tournaments. If the 2014 Wii U line-up was already formidable with Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, MK8, Hyrule Warriors, and Bayonetta 1 & 2, it’s now reached must-have levels with this release.
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