Nintendo Consoles

Nintendo Consoles

Friday, October 10, 2014

Super Smash Bros. for 3DS

I've been writing on this blog for over a year now and I'm sure that all 6 people who actually read it have been beginning to wonder when I was going to get around to reviewing a game about which people actually care. Well, today is that day, because this is my review of Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 3DS.

I have to admit, I am a veteran in the world of Super Smash Bros. I understand the game, and I understand that those who don't play competitively see the game differently than those who do. I am on the edge of both worlds, so I will try to see this game with no preference to either perspective. Instead, I will take you through a journey of what my Smash Bros. 3DS experience has been like for the last week.

Super Smash Bros. for 3DS is the first entry in the legendary Smash Bros. series to appear on a handheld, and if you ask me, it's a pretty fucking good idea partially because no one owns a Wii U right now, but mostly because Nintendo has spent the last year upgrading the 3DS via all sorts of hardware and software improvements from system updates to the release of new limited edition consoles BUT has completely forgotten to release any fucking games for the damn thing. I was looking forward to Smash Bros. on a handheld because of the convenience of being able to play anywhere I go. My parents still live in the same hometown I graduated High School in, but now I am in college and most of my friends live in different states than I do, so being able to not only bring the game back and forth from home to school but being able to bring the multiplayer experience anywhere I go was something I originally found to be extremely appealing, but not so much anymore because the online is complete and utter shit. Many, nay, all people who owned Super Smash Bros. Brawl agreed on two things: Final smashes were horse shit, and the online was embarrassing and irresponsible. 6 years later, we are still faced with the later issue. Out of my 20 attempts made JUST NOW to play a 1 on 1 online match against a random opponent also using the online features, want to guess how many of them were successful? 0. 0 times. I was kicked to the start screen before the match had even begun, with the furthest I ever got being gaining access to a training area which I can only guess comes right before a match- I wouldn't know, because I never got to play one.

My next thought was then "okay whatever". I'll just play some single player. The main excitement that comes with any new entry in the Smash Bros. series is the thrill of both unlocking and using new characters or old characters with new abilities, and in this department, Smash Bros. 3DS really excels. Out of the 49 characters, not even the 2 or 3 sets of clones feel exactly identical, with the exception of Pit and Dark Pit, which I let slide because I loved Kid Icarus: Uprising. However, with the multiplayer options being limited to local multiplayer, an issue I plan on discussing in just a hot second, the player is forced to experience the thrill of new characters by playing single player modes in the game. Classic mode is the main single player mode mostly because it is the only single player mode that can be used to unlock characters. Once you play classic mode with the appropriate characters, you'll unlock every hidden character, of which there are only like, 10, and once you have unlocked every hidden character, you'll want to try them out in more single player modes, once again because multiplayer is hardly an option. Classic mode, however, is not the most suitable testing grounds because, in it, you can't turn the items off, this only being a problem because of the fact that almost every single item in the game just kills you. Blue Shell, The Beetle from Skyward Sword, every Assist Trophy, the Smash Ball, almost every Pokemon, every Bomb-omb, Gooey Bomb, Exploding X bomb thing, every capsule which is ALWAYS a bomb in disguise, and a properly placed bumper all really don't do anything more than just kill you, which believe it or not, reduces the fun of actually becoming good with a character by about 1 fuckton.

So what else is there? There is no online, and classic mode isn't any fun, so what I decided to do was try out a bunch of characters by playing against level 9 CPUs in Smash mode with, of course, the items turned the fuck off. Playing against random CPUs with 3 stock as I attempt to beat the shit out of them with my favorite Nintendo characters of new and old is actually the most fun I get out of the game, but like everything else in it, I am beginning to see how short-lived this is going to be as something about the CPU's tendency to spam both counter-attacks and shield has me convinced that the AI isn't actually very good in the game. In fact, there have been an unacceptable amount of times where I decided that instead of fighting in the fighting game, I thought that it would be more fun to wait in a corner and see how long it would take the CPU to notice that I am preparing to kill it. In the end, the CPU struggled desperately to convince me that my hacking away at it with a sword was something it preferred for me not to do. Instead, the characters against whom I played seemed much more concerned about their health as mostly all they ever did was run around or jump a bit, as opposed to hitting me back, even on the highest difficulty setting.

And so finally, we reach the last selling point of this game, the local multiplayer. Traditionally, local Smash Bros. took place on the living room sofa with 13 of your closest friends and 1 kind of smelly friend who heard you got the newest flavor of Mountain Dew and invited himself over. You'd all gather around the TV for better or for worse and enjoyed the $50 dollar investment made by one friend as you played his game with his controllers on his console in his house. Now, in order for even the most casual collection of players to indulge in the joy of local Smash multiplayer on the 3DS, each participant must own not only the $40 game, but the $200 system. Now I admit, this shouldn't be a problem for children who plan on spending study hall trying to escape from a hard day at middle school with a round or two of Smash Bros, but I am in college, a place where people come to study and learn, not fuck around with video games all day like how I do. I do have a few friends on campus who own the game, but because those who don't play Smash Bros. understand that we no longer need a TV to play, we are often kicked out of common rooms and forced to squeeze 4 dudes into my small bedroom, which I dislike not because of the small size of my room, but because the small size of my bed ill-suited to seat 4 grown men in a fashion that can be described in a manner other than "really gay".

Despite all of my bitching, Smash Bros for 3DS is an excellent entry to the series. In fact, I'd say it's second best with Melee being the first best and Brawl being the worst. There are advantages to having it on a handheld, but I don't really think anyone would argue the fact that the game is supposed to be played on a console with 6 bowls of chips, 14 friends, and 2 girl friends who would prefer to be doing anything besides play video games all night. As an entry in the Smash series, Smash Bros. 3DS is impressive to say the least, but as a game, it just can't be considered as good as people want it to be. The online doesn't work, the single player options are limited unless you are a masochist or a completionist as the collectibles are nearly endless, and the salvageable modes in the game are only fun for a short while due to mediocre AI. If you have the game, I am SO excited to play with you next time we are all home and have the game on us, but if you were one of the more skeptical players who decided to wait and see if this game was going to be executed properly on the 3DS, I declare that you don't have to get it if you don't want to. It's not a "must-play" for the console.

**EDIT** I have friends at home and in other parts of the state who have assured me that my poor experience with the online in this game may be the fault of my school having bad internet service, and not because Nintendo likes online multiplayer as much as I like eating glass. Fine. They are probably right, although I have heard about other players and professional gaming companies complaining about having as much trouble as I had. If your online mode works, ignore what I had to say about my experience, and go play it because it is probably awesome. I, on the other hand, will sit here in my bedroom and whine on the internet like a normal Nintendo fan.

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