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Nega-review: Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Kyle Orland

"Super Smash Bros. Brawl isn't a giant leap forward from Super Smash Bros. Melee." (9) "Repetition is Brawl's ... real crime." (2) The "beat-em-up gameplay [is] relatively unchanged" (3) -- "returning to your stock franchises ... shackles you to old ways." (2) "This game was made for Nintendo fans. ... For the uninterested gamer, it's a curious diversion." (7)

"Subspace Emissary is boring. There, we said it." (8) "The storyline itself seems almost randomly compiled – a pieced together jigsaw puzzle of different factions coming together." (1) No, "there's not much rhyme or reason to the plot" (3) -- "it's a narrative mish-mash and bloated as hell." (2) "Most the time, you don't know what's going on. ... We find the complete lack of storytelling disturbing." (8)

"As a platformer, [Subspace Emissary] is not great." (2) "The fine-tuned jumping mechanics needed for platformers just aren't built into all of the Brawl characters, and shoehorning fighting game characters into action-adventure side-stories hasn't worked well since Tekken experimented with the same." (9) "Dull level design and unnecessarily tricksy warp door antics" (2) don't help, nor does "a seemingly random placement of Nintendo characters and newly designed enemy fodder." (1) "If this mode were a standalone game, it wouldn't rate very highly." (9) "The Subspace Emissary component ... is simply not as balanced or entertaining as the stages designed for multiple human opponents." (1)

Online, "voice chat is not an option ... and likely won't ever be, thanks to what must be the Japanese company's desire to create a safe environment for younger gamers." (9) Instead, "there's ... just a gimped text system that uses a paltry four pre-written messages." (1) "Real-time chat would've been excellent here, especially when passing along a post-Brawl victory speech or grumbling in defeat. " (5) "Nintendo's attempt to protect us from child molesters is appreciated, but there are other alternatives to protecting the children (not to mention us)." (8)

"The same complaint can be applied to the fact that Brawl uses Friend Codes, one of Nintendo's most-hated inventions." (8) "You have to go through the trouble of entering Friend Codes in order to enlist new competition" (5) and "for more control over your matches." (7) "If you're playing against random opponents, you won't even see their names or be able to communicate with them at all" (1) -- "you won't be able to get together again after a well-played match, for example. ... It's an online system that ends up feeling very much like playing against computer-controlled opponents, as it's all very faceless and impersonal." (9) What's more, "there's no online leader board or statistic tracking," (1) and "when playing with random people over Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, you can't play with multiple people on your console." (8)

"The graphics definitely lack detail in areas." (1) "The game has a slightly washed-out look, for example, and many of the cut-scenes are overcompressed." (8) "Many of the backgrounds are kept very simple in an effort to the keep the framerate up" (1) -- they're definitely "sometimes lacking detail and the graphical quality." (8) "Character animations, while speedy, typically ignore the laws of physics, weight, and momentum." (1) "Meanwhile, when it comes to character models, certain characters have been given obvious special treatment. ... Moreover, the game has aliasing problems up the wazoo – especially on HDTVs." (8)

"You'd be hard-pressed to tell this game apart from its GameCube predecessor when viewed side-by-side." (9) The game has "not-much-better-than-the-last-one graphics" (7) and "the overall appearance of the game does seem a little bit like Melee 1.5." (5) "From a visual standpoint, Brawl doesn't look much better than Super Smash Bros. Melee did on the GameCube." (9) "Yeah, the graphics don't really go too far forward." (5)

"Controls are an issue, too." (2) "It must be noted that Brawl is not well-suited to a standalone Wii remote." (1) "The D-pad is no match for an analogue stick and the button-starved design means that no matter how you calibrate, a key action will be relegated to the unreachable minus button." (2) Non-GameCube pads "ultimately don't offer the quickest response time" (4) and "the lack of a second analogue stick removes quick access to smash attacks." (2)

"A bloated cast ... struggles to hide the basic character types each fighter boils down to." (2) "The similarities between Fox McCloud and Falco, for example, are so great I had a hard time telling them apart." (4) "Signature moves aside, it's hard to see where Dedede differs from Bowser, and if Link, Ike and Pit weren't programmed by the same guy, we'll eat our sword flurry." (2) That said, "we'd be liars if we suggested we weren't disappointed that even more third-party character crossovers weren't introduced." (1) "We can't help but wish there were more where they came from." (9) "Yes, we could use more characters in the roster." (1)

Welcome, Nintendo fans and haters alike, to the latest Joystiq Nega-review. Like all Nega-reviews, this one compiles negative quotes from otherwise glowing reviews and arranges them into a wholly scathing whole. While some judicious snipping may have removed the positive caveats from some of these quotes, the inherent meaning of each remains unchanged -- all these quotes were meant as a negative in the original review.

This Nega-review could have almost been two full-length Nega-reviews --- one that focused solely on Subspace Emissary and one that focused solely on online issues. As it stands, there were plenty of unused quotes about the extreme reviewer annoyance with each. That said, there was barely a complaint to be had about the local multiplayer gameplay, which has always been the Smash Bros. bread and butter. So enough reading about the bad parts -- invite a few friends over and enjoy the good parts already!

(1) IGN
(2) NGamer
(3) GameTap
(4) GamePro
(5) GameDaily
(6) GameSpot
(7) 1UP
(8) Kombo
(9) GameSpy

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