Super Smash Bros. Brawl – First Impressions

Brawl sold 1 million units in Japan! And with good reason, the game kicks ass. A few contributors at Thumb Butler have been lucky enough to get their hands on the Japanese import of Brawl and here are their first impressions.

KingZardoz: One word sums up the new Smash Bros game…brutal. Whether it is the new Final Smash orb floating around or Dedede’s devastating Right-C hammer attack, Brawl guarantees a plethora of ways for you to bring shame to your opponent, or in my case consistently lose to Lucas-wielding Townsperson A.

All the original items have returned along with some intense item upgrades that will satisfy the destructive child in all of us. Among some of the new items; there is a red bomb that will explode for what seems like forever while you nervously watch your % damage meter rise, a yellow ricochet spring that when thrown at your enemy will 90% of the time bounce him or her off the screen, an item that turns your character into a fire spitting flame thrower that can still use all his melee attacks, and a few more goodies.

If you liked the first Gamecube Smash Bros this next installment will surely satisfy you. All the mechanics are the same with a few adjustments like the new collision effect where characters can collide into one another when smashed. Also, sometimes when jumping you will notice your character running across another characters head slightly stunning them. Of course, the Wii controls are new but I can’t comment on that since none of us have bothered with them. The need to start kicking ass was too great to be distracted by learning new controls. March 9th is when you can get your hands on the North American version of this fine entertainment disc or you could buy a Japanese Wii and import copy of Smash.

Townsperson A: Even though I experienced a lot of excitement in anticipation of this title, I also had a degree of reservation about it’s potential to improve upon SSMB after seeing previews of the game. The graphics looked largely the same and some of the add-ons seemed questionable. Well, I am here to tell you that those reservations were completely unfounded. Just from the three-hour session I engaged in yesterday, I already experienced the insane amount of complexity and absurdity this title has to offer during every battle.

In addition to the items and power-ups Mr. KingZardoz discussed, a new element called the”Final Smash” has been added. Periodically throughout a battle a technicolor orb championing the Smash Bros. logo floats freely through the map, bouncing teasingly close then darting away. The way this orb works is that it must reach a certain damage threshold, at which point the last person to have damaged it obtains its power. Once this has been done, that character glows as the orb did and can press A and B together to unleash his “Final Smash.”

Every character’s FS is different (save the clone characters) and each are used in different ways. For example, my favorite character, Lucas (from the Japanese series Mother), calls down a devastating flurry of falling stars. The global nature of this FS means you can essentially call on it anywhere at any time. By contrast, Kirby’s FS must be executed in close proximity to an enemy character. If successful, Kirby sucks the unfortunate player into a boiling pot of cooking delight, resulting in massive amounts of damage and almost a certain K.O.

Another awesome new component of the game are the mask pieces (the Mask of Majora from Zelda I suspect) that are dropped at various times in the battle. Once a player obtains three pieces, the game instantly goes into a target-mode in which that player has five or so seconds to aim an instant-kill attack on the other players (who can still move around but somewhat limitedly). Pieces can be bashed out of players if they are hit too hard, adding yet another element of desperation to the game.

The story-mode is also much improved-upon relative to the first two titles. It is well thought-out and sufficiently engaging relative to the mindless levels from the N64 and Gamecube. Pitt (from Kid Icarus) plays an early important role in this campaign.

Finally, the new characters we have played are superb. For one, King Dedede is an absolute devastator. He combines the power of some of the older massive characters, such as Bowser or DK, with the maneuverability of Kirby. I was also incredibly satisfied with the addition of Lucas to the cast as more than just a clone of Ness (my favorite character from the previous titles). His PK fire move now shoots the target back rather than disabling him, PK pulse has been replaced by PK Freeze, and his up-smash move is absolutely brutal.

Overall this title adds enough new and exciting elements to the game to truly expand upon the previous two titles. Much like the Mario Kart series develops with each installment, Super Smash Bros. Brawl has added complexity without sacrificing gameplay. Even little additions like the fantastic new entrance animations each character makes at the beginning of a battle truly add to this title. I look forward to playing much more in the future.

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5 Responses to “Super Smash Bros. Brawl – First Impressions”

  1. I am pretty pissed that you guys got ahold of this shit already. By time I enter the arena, you guys will be so advanced I’ll have to resort to Mike D tactics AGAIN.

  2. […] he/she arrived at this list, but one can imagine some poking around involved. Not that we’re opposed to that at Thumb Butler. Anyhow, the list is ridiculously awesome, though I’m also forcing myself to not get too amped […]

  3. mrwoodly Says:

    Ice Climbers FTW!

  4. […] of the Wii. Well actually we’ve done no such thing, but if you look some of our articles on Smash Bros. and Mario Kart Wii, you can tell that we’re pretty amped up about what Nintendo has to offer […]

  5. zero suit samus is the shit

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