And now, after the most popular game in the series, comes the one that most people really don’t like: Brawl. So, after revisiting it for this post, is all the hate it’s garnered well placed? Well… yes and no. Mostly no, but that yes certainly can’t be denied.
See, there are plenty of things in this game that I actually really like. For one, it introduced this damn thing. The Smash Ball, and with it: the Final Smash.
I love the Final Smash system. Sure, some of them are way fucking better than others, and it completely ruins the balance of the game. But it adds an incredible level of tension and intensity to the gameplay. Whenever this damn thing shows up and starts floating around the screen, the whole battlefield became a wild mosh pit desperately chasing it everywhere so they can slaughter everyone else.
The roster of Brawl is also one of my favorites in the whole series.
Sure, it introduced Meta Knight (a choice that would result in the permanent banning of Brawl on the competitive scene) and it removed many fan favorite characters from Melee, such as Mewtwo and Roy, but I still think it’s one of the better rosters in the series. It was the first to include third party characters, those being Snake and Sonic (only one of which I can say I’d expect in today’s world), and it introduced the transforming characters of Zelda/Shiek and Samus/Zero Suit Samus.
A mechanic that is cooler in idea than execution, but it’s worth crediting nonetheless.
And, all things considered, it’s still a very fun game to play. Sure, the random tripping is incredibly annoying, but in the end, a Smash game is a Smash game. You can’t deny that the core gameplay of the series is simply too solid to ruin, no matter how bad the game may be.
However, there is one major issue that drags this game down. One major mode that, if you want to unlock everything, you need to suffer through. And I assure you, you will suffer through this one.
The Subspace Emissary.
This ‘Story Mode’ is so fucking boring that it puts me to sleep just remembering it. Sure, it has some highly cinematic qualities to it, easily being one of the best looking things on the Wii. And the story is certainly… something, though I’ll admit that the final boss is one of my favorites in the series.
What can I say? Taboo is cool.
But playing through the game is just so boring! None of the levels are super memorable, fighting all the NPC enemies is tedious as hell, and the final stretch of the game requires you to play through a reproduction of the entire fucking game. Because that’s good game design, right? Forcing you to replay the whole game right before the final boss.
AND DON’T BRING UP SYMPHONY OF THE NIGHT, THAT’S A FUCKING GREAT GAME!!
The best thing I have to say about this game is the boss fights. Honestly, all of them are pretty fun. Ridley, Rayquaza, Taboo, and so many others are really fun to fight. Though none of them really have any narrative purpose, and they sort of just pop out of nowhere.
Also: why the fuck did Rayquaza pop out of a lake? Doesn’t he live in the upper atmosphere? Wouldn’t Kyogre make more sense in this case? And why the fuck am I questioning the internal logic of a Nintendo game’s story? I realize I’m wasting my time, right?
I don’t know what I think anymore…
Do I think this game is over-hated? Yes. It doesn’t get nearly as much credit as it deserves. Do I think it’s a great game? No. Playing through it to unlock all the characters and stages is simply tedious and annoying. Honestly, it’s hard to play this one today, even when compared to the games that came before it.
Hell, even the 3DS game holds up better compared to this. And when a portable game is stronger than your home console game… well, that’s just kind of sad, isn’t it?