After a short vacation, I finally got my hands on the long-awaited Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. I praised the 3DS version, but how is its big console brother? I’ve had a chance to put a few hours into the game, and here are my first thoughts:
When starting up Smash Bros. Wii U, the first thing that struck me is how similar much of it is to the 3DS version. The menu layouts look the same, a lot of the modes are the same, and of course the roster is exactly the same (although I noticed that the starting pre-unlockable lineups seem to be different). This initial impression soon fell by the wayside as soon as I started up some battles and saw the gorgeous HD graphics. It’s truly a great thing to finally see Nintendo mainstays like Samus, Fox, Pikachu and the rest in high definition. The stages also look amazing. I know that the Wii U isn’t as powerful as the new gen Xbox One and PS4 consoles, but playing this game, that doesn’t seem to matter.
Another crucial aspect that is a significant improvement over the 3DS version is the controls. The handheld game was obviously limited by the form of the 3DS hardware. They worked surprisingly well, but the Wii U version simply feels much better and more comfortable to play. A few months back, I decided to preorder the Smash Bros. Wii U bundle with the Wii U GameCube Controller adapter and the Smash Bros. GameCube Controller. I’m very glad I did. It’s the best way to play the game, and the adapter is sold out everywhere and going for over $100 on the Amazon Marketplace.
Like a lot of people, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Wii’s Super Smash Bros. Brawl. In an effort to make the series more casual-friendly, Nintendo drastically slowed down the gameplay pace compared with the admittedly frantic Super Smash Bros. Melee. Smash Bros. Wii U strikes a great balance between the two. It’s feels very fast-paced, which is a great thing in my book.
One of my criticisms of the Smash Bros. 3DS was that the stages were too small, which was necessary with the small screen size. As a result, the stage hazards became an annoyance since they were pretty difficult to avoid. I dealt with this by only playing on the Final Destination versions of stages, which turned them into flat and boring battlegrounds. So far in Smash Bros. Wii U, I’m enjoying the larger real estate that comes with a bigger screen, and am pleased to play on the standard versions of the stages. There are a lot of great ones, and they add a lot of unpredictability to battles.
The Smash Bros. series is at its best when played with friends. I have many fond memories of the battles with friends growing up playing the original Super Smash Bros. and Melee. I was able to get a friend over to try out Smash Bros. Wii U, and we both had a great time. I also tried out the game with strangers online, which isn’t as fun as being in the same room with friends, but it does add more of a competitive spirit than simply playing against the computer. I experienced some lag, but it only happened a few times, and overall it worked very well.
One of the highly-touted features of Smash Bros. Wii U has been the 8-player battles. You can’t play them online, so I was only able to do try out the mode with my friend and six computer players. It was completely frantic, but a lot of fun in its own way. With so much going on at once, skill-based fighting pretty much goes out the window. My friend found success sitting in one corner and slashing the air as enemies flew his way. 4-player battles are still where Smash Bros. works best, but these new expanded battles definitely offer a fun diversion.
I also got a chance to try out the Nintendo amiibo figure functionality in Smash Bros. Wii U. Check out my full impressions of the amiibos here.
Having only played a few modes and unlocked one hidden character, I’ve really only scratched the surface of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Check back here in a few weeks for my full review once I’ve spent some more time with the game.