When I ripped open the FedEx package today in a whirling dervish of nails and teeth, I found what I had been expecting: a copy of Smash Bros. Brawl. Nintendo, the wonderful and kind souls they are, decided this crummy little blog was good enough to get a copy of the game along with the press. A single tear poured down my cheek, kind of like that recycling commercial. It was a magical moment.
I then realized I had to work today and couldn't get my game on. As the day progressed and I tapped away at my keyboard, putting up news items and other stories that all 12 of you readers care about, the game sat there in front of my monitor, mocking me. It was almost like some kind of evil temptation, as I thought about just ducking away from my responsibilities to play. I then realized that it is my responsibility to play! I've got to review the damn thing, don't I?
And when I heard that Joystiq's own Kyle Orland got a copy of the game too, I decided a few mutliplayer matches were in order. And in the interest of those who don't want anything spoiled for them, stop reading here. The rest of you can head past the break where the real action is.
First of all, we hadn't unlocked a single person in the game yet, save for Marth. So I didn't have access to Snake or any of the other high-profile extra characters (um, Sonic). With that in mind, I decided that I needed to put my best foot forward. I chose Samus.
Now, if you're looking for analysis of how characters differ from Melee, you won't really find it here. I admit I'm not the best player in the world, and it's been a pretty long time since I had played Melee, but I will say that I noticed a change in Samus. Her attacks all seemed the same, although her flamethrower attack distance has been cut down and her missiles seem to pack a bit more of a punch now (thank you, thank you Sakurai). Kyle went with Donkey Kong and, as I anticipated, I mopped the floor with him (not really, it went to Sudden Death, but I still won). We fought on the Melee stage Hyrule.
Once our match was complete and we were looking over the stats screens, I was anticipating that the game would boot me out of the room and I would have to connect to his session again. Thankfully, this was not the case, as our "group" remained persistent. It sent me right back to the character selection screen for more. I was very pleased.
The next match, I decided I needed to get physical, so I picked Bowser. He was always a favorite of mine because, well, he's frakkin' Bowser. Kyle ended up going with King Dedede and we fought on the Super Mario Sunshine level Delfino Isle. This match also went to sudden death and again I won, on the strength of Bowser's new suplex move. It's silly good, I tell you.
We fought some other matches across multiple levels (on theYoshi's Story level I got my ass kicked by Captain Falcon, but that's what I get for using Link) and we had a fairly smooth experience. Here and there I would notice a slight delay between my character's movement and my button presses, but overall it was a generally smooth and pleasant session.
Other items of interest:
- On the Pictochat stage, Kyle sent me flying (he was Meta Knight, I rocked Marth) at 6,300 MPH
- Wario is really fun to use, because his motorcycle is just great, but make sure you don't crash it!
- Fighting over Smash Balls is incredibly intense and Captain Falcon's Final Smash is too amazing
- I played using the Classic Controller, but felt the analog stick was too unresponsive; I'm going to try the Wiimote and GameCube control schemes later on
- Kyle is really good with Captain Falcon and I am really bad as Link