As I’m sure you all know, last Friday marked the launch of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. If you have yet to play it, I’m assuming you either don’t live in the US, don’t have a Wii U, or are in fact some sort of sentient sludge.
So how is it? Well, it kicks ass, as I’m sure is no big surprise. If you’ve already played the 3DS version, you have at least some idea of what to expect… but undeniably, the Wii U version is the superior game.
The 3DS version is great too, of course, but it had its share of flaws… first and foremost being the controls. Now, I honestly didn’t have too much of an issue with the 3DS controls. Indeed, many of the oft-reported gameplay issues with the 3DS version, such as the small screen making it hard to follow, I never had an issue with. However, within the first few minutes of playing the 3DS version with the familiar Gamecube controllers, I was amazed by just how tight everything felt. Every movement just seemed so much more precise. Unlike Brawl, where you slid all over the place like a greased pig, the new game just feels like you’re in complete control of your character.
Smash Bros. for Wii U offers a ton of content for both single and multiplayer, even more than the 3DS version. It’s a bit disappointing to see the lack of a story mode, but apparently I was the only person who liked Subspace Emissary so it’s understandable. Also, compared to the 3DS version, the layout is much cleaner, though it can still get a bit convoluted. Why Smash Tour gets its own button while Classic, All-Star, and other modes are awkwardly tucked away in “Games & More”, I have no idea.
Speaking of which, Smash Tour is essentially this game’s replacement for the 3DS’ Smash Run. It’s a boardgame of sorts, where you go around the board collecting powerups and fighters, battling eachother along the way, before finally competing in a final battle with whatever fighters you happened to pick up. It’s… weird, and really only fun if you have three friends to play it with.
One of the more underrated aspects of the game is the Mii Fighters. Honestly, I probably play as Miis more than any other character. They can actually be really good, and I’m a sucker for customization in any game. That said, it is rather annoyingly limited. There’s only 6 outfits available for each fighter type, and the weapon is also dependent on that. Want to wear the pirate outfit but wield a claymore sword? Well, fuck you, you’re not allowed. Want to use the steampunk outfit on your swordsman? Nope, that’s only for gunner characters.
You also can’t change the color of anything… your outfit’s color is determined by the Mii’s default clothing color. Meanwhile, the headwear’s color can’t be changed at all. Despite all these limitations, dicking around with Miis is still a lot of fun.
The stage builder also returns from Brawl, and is simultaneously more robust and more limited than it was before. In Brawl, you were limited to flat terrain, barring a few slanted ground pieces… but this time, you can use your Wii U gamepad to draw your own terrain, allowing for hills, rocky landscape, and more. And that’s great. Problem is everything else. There’s actually LESS objects you can place in your stage than in Brawl… all you get are two different sizes of springs, cannons, lava, and moving platforms. That’s it. No falling blocks, no spikes, no ice, nothing but the bare basics. Plus, you’ll STILL hit your limit on objects and terrain extremely quickly.
Even the ability to draw terrain is insanely finicky. Making grabbable ledges is incredibly frustrating, as often the game will just not register it as a ledge, no matter how careful you’re being. You can use a grid mode to make straight lines easier, but even that just seems to do whatever the hell it wants most of the time. See how things look a bit uneven up there? Yeah, I used the grid mode for that. Also, more often than not, the CPU can’t understand anything besides the most basic of stages, and will often run pointlessly against walls, throw themselves into hazards, and other such stupidity. The mode’s still fun, but damn.
I’ve barely scratched the surface on what Smash has to offer, though… otherwise, I’d be doing this all day. Flaws aside, this is easily the best Smash yet. From a gameplay perspective, everything feels just right, and the huge amount of content ensures that the game will keep you busy for quite some time.