Super Smash Bros Wii U Review

Super Smash Bros Wii U Review

The Wii U may not have a great deal of third-party support, but that only drives Nintendo to deliver their own huge developed and published games, and there are few series bigger than Super Smash Bros. It has been several years since Super Smash Bros. Brawl appeared on the Wii, but Super Smash Bros. for Wii U comes hot off the heels of the extremely strong Nintendo 3DS edition that debuted in October. Does Nintendo deliver yet again, or will gamers grow tired of this fight?

Smash Bros. any way you want it

Nintendo doesn't necessarily cater to the eSports crowd, except when it comes to Smash Bros. The series has become a regular addition to fighting game tournaments, and the company attempted to keep pro fighters happy with multiple control options.

Wii U controls include the obvious GamePad, Classic Controller Pro and Wii Remote and Nunchuck support, but there's a nice surprise with a GameCube controller adapter bundled with the Limited Edition version of the game, or sold separately. The adapter allows up to four GameCube controllers to plug into your Wii U, and the limited edition even comes with a Smash Bros.-branded controller.

While the GameCube controller support is greatly appreciated, it is by no means necessary. The GamePad was our main method of control, enhanced by the option of off-screen play so we weren't hogging the television all the time. But make no mistake, you will need all of those controllers when friends come over.

Overall, controls are as tight as you would expect from the best Smash Bros. games, with everything reacting responsively, and as ludicrous as this may sound, more grounded in reality. In addition, the characters feel like they have more weight. Punches land with a satisfying hit, movement is thought-out and never rushed or sloppy, and battles feel like there's always a chance for any player to gain momentum and win.

Gather ‘round, friends

Now that you have those GameCube controllers and extra Wii Remotes dusted off and ready to go, Super Smash Bros. gives you the option of an eight-player scuffle. This is arguably the main unique identifier of this version of Smash Bros., and it works to an extent. It's great to have the option for this many players on the screen at once, and the game handles things beautifully with absolutely no slowdown whatsoever, no matter how frantic things become.

The only problem with having this many players on screen involves trying to follow the action and utilise some of the strategies that work well in a smaller setting. There are only a few extra-large stages you can select for this mode, but when the camera starts to pan out, players become very small. Thankfully, we're playing on a large HDTV, but that may become an issue as players use their smaller bedroom or university televisions.

The eight-player Smash mode is still a lot of fun, though, and the option to split into teams is a welcome surprise. This is coupled by the standard four-player mode, and you can toggle players off or change them into CPU-controlled opponents as you desire.

One-man army

If you're playing the game by yourself, there are plenty of additional options that will feel both familiar and new. Players should take a moment to dig into the menu to see how many things there are to do, as mini-games like Trophy Rush and Home Run Contest were buried beneath larger events.

All-Star Mode gives you the option to tackle an increasingly difficult set of enemies in a veritable timeline of gaming characters through the ages, while Classic Mode offers you fights that progress until you reach Master Hand and Crazy Hand. Even the game credits contain a mini-game, as you kick and punch the names of the folks responsible for the game's creation.

During all of these modes, you have a chance to collect coins and trophies, the former of which allow you to buy additional trophies or open up new challenges in the game. In fact, there is a challenge board that players will work hard to try and clear - a system of achievements that can give you one way to try and make sense of what's before you. If you are a collector, you'll be kept extremely busy and satisfied by these pursuits.

Online revolution (for Nintendo)

Nintendo and online playable games have a spotty history, so it is with great enthusiasm that we had a fantastic time with the online multiplayer modes in Smash Bros. for Wii U. There are a few options, including a one-on-one mode and a betting mode where you spectate an online match and bet on the winner to earn more gold.

All of these options ran seamlessly except for the first day, when the servers must have been overloaded with players. Ever since launch day, four player games run quickly and smoothly, with the only delay coming in the form of gamers dropping out in between matches. We never experienced much of a delay from one game to the next, with matches coming in fast and furious.

There are two major paths for online players: for fun and for glory. For glory removes all of the items and keeps things on flat stages, while for fun is the same free-for-all style of gameplay you're probably used to. For glory also attaches a global power ranking to your username, allowing you to see how you stack up against the rest of the world. If you're obsessed with competition and proving yourself, you'll stay in the online modes for quite awhile.

Hello, amiibo

This time around, Nintendo took a page from Activision's Skylanders with its own proprietary figures based on characters from Super Smash Bros., referred to as amiibo. Instead of using a Portal of Power, you simply take your amiibo and place it on the lower left hand corner of the Wii U GamePad, which immediately recognizes it. From there, you have the option to train your amiibo up to level 50 and it will take on some of your strengths and weaknesses. You can then pit this character against friends' amiibos and/or team up with it in tag battles. There seems to be no limit to the amount of amiibos you can train.

The first wave contains 12 figures, with characters like Mario, Princess Peach, Yoshi and Donkey Kong readily available. Nintendo even manufactured some of the less popular brawlers, most notably Wii Fit Trainer and Animal Crossing Villager, though to be fair, you may have some trouble finding the rarer ones. Build quality for the amiibo characters is decent, and the packaging is pretty stirdy, although some did arrive loose in box.

Easy win

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U has the single-player features and multiplayer options that we've come to expect. Controls are tighter than previous games, and the addition of up to eight players in local matches is an extremely fun diversion. Couple all of this with online multiplayer that stays strong and consistent, and you have not only one of the best Wii U games available, but the best Smash Bros. game to date. Pick this up today.

GAME's Verdict: 9/10

The Good

  • Tight and responsive controls, making Smash a tournament-ready fighter.
  • Looks absolutely gorgeous, with action that never slows down.
  • Multiple options, including the ability to fight with eight players at once.

The Bad

  • Eight-player action can be a little frantic.
  • GameCube controllers require an adapter (no USB support).

Published: 27/11/2014

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