Super Smash Brothers for WiiU (2014)

[大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズ for Wii U]

Super Smash Brothers for WiiU (2014)

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Sora Ltd., Bandai Namco Games
Director: Masahiro Sakurai
Platform: WiiU

Nintendo's beloved characters are back for the latest installment of the popular Smash Brothers series, now with a larger cast than ever and amiibo integration.

I know there are debates that rage on about how much the Smash Brothers series is and should be geared toward fighting game fans. I'm not really qualified to weigh in on the matter, so that element of the Melee vs. Brawl debate is going to have to be set to the side. What's always been appealing about Smash (for general audiences at least) is its relatively simple gameplay. The fact that there's a lot of complexity that you can tap into is just a bonus for the more hardcore players. Characters feel a bit heavier, but maybe that's just me. (It could be that it's me and not the characters whose response time is a little sluggish.) There are a number of different modes for a lot of variety to keep you busy. You have greater customization of fighters with different move and equipment, which gets taken even further with the Mii fighters. I know some people would prefer the old Break the Target to the new Angry Birds-esque Target Blast, but so it goes.

As much as I loved the Sub-Space Emissary, there's no such quest mode in Smash 4, so we can't rightly speak of story and there's certainly no character arcs going on here unless they're in your own mind. (I suppose you could say something is going on with Pit and Palutena in their conversations, if you like.) While I don't agree with Sakurai's reasoning for not having a new quest in the lines of the Sub-Space Emissary, I will grant that funneling an equivalent amount of the budget into the amazing promo trailers is a decent concession. I still watch the Lucina and Koopa Jr. trailers in the movie viewer from time to time. They're that good. The cast of fighters is larger than ever and I think they're represented well. I won't dive into the mechanics of all the characters in any depth, but the clone characters are sufficiently unique for my tastes, so I don't consider any of them to represent wasted slots. I also won't get into a debate about who should've stayed, who we could've lived without and who should've made the roster instead. There are discussion boards for that.

While not as dramatic an improvement as the transition from Melee to Brawl, things are nevertheless looking better than ever. The game is gorgeous, though you probably won't find much time to sit around and enjoy the view during a match.

Following in Brawl's footsteps, the library of tracks is huge and glorious, with a range of the original classics to a variety of intriguing remixes. The voice cast is solid and a lot of nostalgic sound effects are still in play.

I was skeptical on the whole amiibo thing, but I decided to give it a try and though I haven't tried pitting myself against my amiibos, I have used them to fight in my stead and earn coins and stuff while I've been doing something else (mostly play Kakusei). It's certainly convenient.

If you're a Smash fan, you already have this. If you're new to the scene and have a WiiU, there's a lot to keep you busy. And if you don't have a WiiU, this is one of the strong reasons to get one.

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