Tag Archives: Super Smash Bros.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Review

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Well between the overtime, and festivities, Christmas, and New Year’s were quite busy. I had a great time with family, and I hope everyone out there had a wonderful, Merry Christmas out there as well. I didn’t get much in the way of entertainment gifts, though I did get a case of Pocky, and a really nice solid state drive. The sole game I received is the one I’ve been playing feverishly in my free time unlocking characters. That would be today’s game. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has come out to critical acclaim. Is it worthy of the praise? In a lot of ways it certainly is.

PROS: Every character, stage from the previous game, and then some!

CONS: Trophy hunting is gone. Online performance can be spotty.

PIRANHA PLANT: Is a free character for those who register by 1/31/19.

For the five people who don’t know what Super Smash Bros. is, it’s a long running series that combines fighting game conventions, and party game conventions into a unique fighting game with its own rules. Most fighting games are one on one affairs where the goal is to knock out your opponent by kicking his or her teeth in. Some of them have intricate combos (a series of moves that can’t be blocked) that require dexterity, and ring awareness to input properly. Most of them have flashy special moves, and they feature some equally flashy ways to finish off an opponent for bragging rights.

But over the years many games in the genre became so complex that it intimidated newcomers from trying them out. At the same time, in the days of the Nintendo 64, most fighting games were going to the PlayStation due to the cheaper storage space of a CD-ROM. Many of the high-caliber fighters didn’t make it over to Nintendo’s console. But Masahiro Sakurai had secretly set up a new project over at  HAL. It would evolve from four generic placeholder characters in an arena to Nintendo characters in a variety of arenas. Smash Bros. replaces the “Send them to the hospital or morgue to win.” rule set with a Sumo wrestling “Knock them out of the ring, and keep them out of the ring.” rule set. You pick a character, multiple opponents pick a character, and then you can duke it out based on either time (knock more people out than anyone else) or stock (be the last one standing with any lives) rules.

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But what makes the series compelling for every type of player, are the move sets. Every character uses the same basic inputs. There’s an attack button, a special moves button, a jump button, a block button, and a grab button. If you press up, down, or left or right, with either an attack or special button press you’ll do a different attack. There are also Smash attacks which are another three, more powerful moves you can do if you press attack with a direction at the exact same time. From the second game onward, you can use a right, thumb stick to do the Smash attacks instead. Every character has the exact same inputs, so you don’t have to spend hours learning how to press down, down-forward, forward, punch to do something amazing.

But while the simplicity appeals to newcomers, the series does have a fair amount of depth in its combat. There are still combos, two-in-ones, and other advanced techniques to learn. You can learn how to roll dodge, and parry. While the inputs are shared across the board, the characters’ moves are mostly unique. And from the third game onward, the series even implements super finishers for the characters.

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To make things more interesting the series lets players use randomly dropped items, which can be anything from bats, to laser guns, to assist trophies that summon run ins from characters who are not selectable fighters. They fight on behalf of the player who threw them. And to top it off, the games have all let players turn the items off entirely, select the few they want, or leave them on. The second game Super Smash Bros. Melee, is where the series really took off in popularity, and proved the series could be a viable competitive fighting game. Dedicated players have spent years mastering the game’s mechanics, and continue playing it today. Their efforts even got the series enough attention to end up in high-profile tournaments like EVO.

Over the years Nintendo’s brawler has added different tweaks, and features to the formula. Melee added an Adventure mode. Brawl expanded the roster further, and expanded the Adventure mode. Wii U/3DS improved the roster, cut the Adventure short, and improved the mechanics. All while giving each version unique stages to incentivize buying both versions.

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So what does Ultimate bring to the table? What new features, and refinements can you expect over previous editions? Well for starters, you’ll eventually get to use every character who has ever appeared in a Super Smash Bros. title. I say eventually, because as in previous games you have to unlock them by playing. However, this time around unlocking them is much easier. You can go through any of the game’s modes to add them to your roster. Playing standard matches by yourself or with friends has them showing up every few rounds or so. You can also go through the returning Classic mode, or the all new Spirits modes.

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Ultimate’s most drastic change is indeed the inclusion of Spirits. These replace the trophies from the last few games. While the trophies were a nice way to celebrate Nintendo’s history, and wealth of characters, ultimately it had little impact on how the games played. Spirits add an almost Role-Playing Game element to the action. They can be picked up primarily either by playing through the Spirit Adventure mode, or the Spirit Board. Although you’ll find in other modes you can gain them as well. Spirits can enhance your fighters by adding other properties into the mix. They can buff your attack power, defensive power, grab power (for holds or throws), or be neutral, helping stats equally. This is also where the RPG elements come into play, because over the course of the game you can level them up. You can add secondary Spirits to many of them, as they’ll have additional slots. Doing this effectively adds even more stats. Beyond that you can also feed them snacks you earn in every mode, which will boost stats further. When you get some Spirits to level 99, you can even find ways to prestige them (Think like the resets in Call Of Duty. Not exactly an RPG, but an element that could work in one) by starting them over at level 1, while retaining experience. Henceforth making them more potent.

You can even choose to allow the use of Spirits in standard matches with your friends, which admittedly throws off the balance, but can result in fun experimentation. Going into the Spirit Board will let you enter fights where you can potentially win a new Spirit to use should you win a given match. This works similarly to the matches you’ll enter in the Spirit Adventure mode, which more or less replaces the previous games’ takes on a Story mode.

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This time around instead of having sets of stages, or a huge Metroidvania styled map the game keeps things simplified with Spirit matches. However these are peppered throughout a massive map, and it does utilize the Spirit system in other ways. For instance, the map has a resemblance to a table top game board. It’s covered in fog, that clears partially when completing certain events. It also has JRPG like shops, and training centers on it that can be found, where you can spend prize money on new Spirits, or to buff existing ones. And of course, this is the mode that tells the storyline, so you can expect to see the majority of it here. When you start off, you’ll find the world of Smash Bros. under assault from an army of Master Hands. A mysterious force pretty much kills every one of our favorite combatants, with only Kirby surviving unscathed. The antagonist imprisons our combatants, and creates countless evil clones of them. From here you’ll go about the board, fighting battles, getting Spirits, and equipping them. Over the course of the adventure you’ll level them, swap them, in between battles. Each battle you’ll get an overview of your opponent, and what Spirit they are using, as well as any special rules that have been employed.

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Not only will you have to win battles against evil clones, you’ll also have to win battles with the original characters. If you do this, you’ll break the spell on them, and they’ll join your party. They’ll also become unlocked for you to use in multiplayer. Because of that, many players may want to play through this mode, as you’re essentially going to unlock everyone over the course of the campaign. However, there are 74 characters here. The first 8 of whom are already playable in multiplayer. But, for those who don’t, they can also be unlocked by playing other modes. If you’re really desperate there is even an exploit circulating around YouTube. But even then you’re going to be grinding a while.

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You can also lose these battles to unlock characters, and if you do they’ll go back to the end of the line. So your next unlockable opponent will be different. The game does have a seemingly random rematch option though. Getting back to the Spirit Adventure, you can expect to spend days, or even weeks to see everything. Even after unlocking all of the characters in the game, I still have a long way to go in terms of completing this mode. There are many battles, shops, training centers, and chests for you to uncover. There are even centers where you can put one of your leveled Spirits back to their original stock settings! At face value one might ask why they would want to bother doing this. But again, like an RPG, sometimes you might find you’ve increased all of the wrong stats. Maybe it was a Spirit geared toward defense, but you found you hastily buffed up a bunch of attack properties because you weren’t sure what you were doing when you first started playing. It certainly beats starting the entire game over when you’ve spent the last 10 hours building up your Spirits, unlocking characters for multiplayer, and finding snacks to feed your Spirits.

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Not only can you buff up Spirits, but you can raise the stats of your actual fighters by using a skill tree. You can access it in the pause menu during the adventure, and you can use the Skill Spheres you pick up in battle to level up abilities. You can make yourself escape throws easier, or make your specials do more damage. There are a bunch of them, and doing this will help you a lot. Especially with some of the boss fights that have returned from previous games, as well as all new ones.

It’s a very lengthy campaign indeed. On top of freeing all of the characters, collecting Spirits, and levelling them up. Beyond the epic boss fights, and using Spirits to access previously closed areas on the map. In addition to all of the ways you can use Spirits in the campaign beyond merely powering them up, or fighting evil clones with them, there are three difficulty levels. There are also three endings! So yeah, you can expect to revisit this adventure many, many times.

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Beyond the campaign is the Classic mode. In this iteration the game does do things a little bit differently. Rather than simply give you the arcade style ladder you’re probably used to, it takes that ladder, and tweaks matches around the chosen character. All 74 characters get a personalized ladder, and even conditions. For instance Mega Man’s ladder follows the path of vintage Mega Man games. Even when you beat what you think is the end, it will surprise you. Or take Ryu’s ladder where all of the knock out rules have been changed to stamina rules. It makes going through this mode with every character fun, as you don’t know what to expect next.

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This time around, the intensity meter from the previous game makes its appearance in Classic mode instead. When you start out you can choose how difficult you want things to be based upon how many coins you can put toward it. There are also tickets you can spend to help push it up, but you only have so many. Though these can be earned seemingly randomly as well. The higher you go the more of the painting you’ll see, and the better your rewards for clearing the mode. Though the meter will go down if you lose, and continue. So if you want the credentials of being the best, you’ll have to win every match by a wide margin.

Obviously the meat, and potatoes of any fighter is the multiplayer. This iteration of Smash is no different. Beyond the baseline mechanics there have been a number of changes under the hood. The general speed has been refined, and the roster of 74 characters does feel surprisingly balanced for the most part. There are some characters who have clear advantages, but many of these come at the cost of a slow speed, or a high knock off percentage. There are still ways crafty players can get around these powerhouses. They also have the option to use Spirits in addition to the items. Which changes the dynamics greatly, as a lot of the Spirits share properties with the characters they’re based upon. This can make for a lot of interesting match ups for those who wish to experiment with them. Of course purists can ignore them altogether. Returning from the Wii U version of Smash, are the Omega versions of stages. These basically retain the look of the various arenas, but convert their layout to the bog standard layout of Final Destination. It makes every arena into a tournament arena, which gives some of the players who want to focus on the competitive end some variety.

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One feature I think any player will like is the ability to replace the Smash Ball item with a super meter. Instead of having to take your eyes off of opponents to break a ball, and maybe do your super without getting fragged, now you can do them traditionally. The meter will fill up when you’re damaging or taking damage, and when filled, you can press your Super finish. It’s great because if you’re a competitive player you can focus on the action, and if you’re a novice, you can still get the chance to see the spectacle of a flashy move more often. Ultimate also retains support for the Gamecube controller adapter, and controllers. So once again you can have up to 8 players for local, offline Smash Bros. matches, which are as fun as they are chaotic. Novices, and Pros alike will like that they now put up a wire frame grid during matches when you’re off-screen. This makes it a little bit easier to find your bearings. And the training mode can display the knock back, and Directional Influence stats if you wish.

Another returning feature is the photography feature, and I don’t mean simply pressing the screenshot button. Although you can do that. But the full-fledged photography feature set from previous entries is here. Pause the game during any match, and you’ll be able to fiddle with the camera settings. You can change the angle, and position. You can cycle between the characters to focus the camera on a specific one. You can zoom in, or out. You can even put on borders, or stamp the game’s logo on it. Then if you hit the screenshot button on your controller you can essentially  make a nice wallpaper to upload to your Facebook or Twitter feed. It may not sound like much, but it is a lot of fun to experiment with.

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Online fighting as you’ve probably heard, is a mixed bag. More often than not matches will perform well with one stipulation. That you play with people relatively close to you. Matches with local friends are usually fine. Matches with random strangers, could be fine, or they could be unplayable. Previous Smash games were often the same way. While I have had a better experience with this iteration so far, it still isn’t where it needs to be. Which is a shame because honestly the online play has some cool features in it. Setting up lobbies represents a wrestling arena, where you can clearly seat fighters, and spectators. You can jump into public lobbies too, and search by match types, and other stipulations. You can also go for quick play, where the game will toss you against random opponents. You can set preferred rules for this, so that if you only like to play stock, or love a certain item you can usually be paired with people of similar taste.  If you leave preferred rules off, you’ll be placed against any available players under any possible set of conditions. Again, if you’re pitted against players too far away, you can expect stuttering, warping, or general lag. You can mitigate this slightly by using a Cat5e cable, and a USB adapter with the Dock, as a wired connection is a bit faster than the WiFi connection. But this still doesn’t help much as you’re likely going to see issues more when paired against opponents who live far away.

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Still, if you can deal with a spotty match every few rounds or so, the online play is fun. I even like the feature they’ve added where you can play offline modes while you have the game look for opponents for you. Oddly enough though, other Nintendo franchises have given the option to choose between regional or global opponents. Mario Kart has consistently done this. And while a racing title is probably less taxing than a game like Super Smash Bros. due to the latter’s constant changing of inputs, it seems like it could be a helpful option. It’s also strange that Splatoon 2, very rarely performs poorly online. Still, when the game does perform the way it ought to, matches are an absolute blast. Of course like all fighting games, get used to being decimated. A lot of players are dedicated to mastering their favorite characters, and play continually to improve. But you can’t become anywhere near as good as they are without losing, learning where you made mistakes, and taking that with you into the next match. And there’s something to be said for not taking yourself too seriously too. There’s nothing riding on these matches. So don’t worry about getting bodied.

I should also mention that this game supports the Amiibo figurines from the last one, and that it will even allow you to import the data from the previous game on them into this one. Of course once you do, you can’t go back, and use it on the old game. If you want to use it with the old game, you’ll have to reformat the figurine, and start over on it. From there they work pretty much as they did in Smash 4. The difference is now you can give them Spirits which work similar to the stats in the previous game. You can train your figure to be an attacker, a defensive player, or somewhere in between. Not all of the strategies from the old game work quite the same in the contemporary one though. So expect some of your Wii U figurines to be inconsistent sometimes. Still, eventually they will get to a point where they’re almost impossible for you to beat. The real fun though is levelling up an Amiibo to be beast-like, and then pit it against a friend’s beast-like Amiibo for supremacy.

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If all of that isn’t enough for you, the challenges come back from previous entries. There are thousands of Spirits to unlock, as well as songs, and other things in the game. Some of which can only be found by completing tasks. One task may be to clear Classic Mode with a specific character in under a certain time. Another might be to accomplish something in the Spirit Adventure mode. You can also get some of this stuff in the game’s shop feature. Suffice it to say, those of you who have to see every possible bit of content in the games you buy, will once again be unlocking things for months on end. Ultimate also brings back the horde modes from previous games. Fight a bunch of waves until you clear the required number. Or go for the endless mode, and see how long you can last. A number of unlockable items are also tied to these. They wanted to be sure you would try everything.

And the game looks, and sounds beautiful through it all. All of the player models, and animations are phenomenal. All of the assist trophies, and items look top-notch. The little details throughout each stage, over every map are simply gorgeous. Everybody involved in the graphics, and sound have done a terrific job here. Even Mr. Game & Watch, one of the simpler characters has been overhauled. Every move he makes references one of his LCD titles more than ever. That’s just one example out of 74 characters. The cinematic videos from the campaign, and introduction are also fantastic. Even if they don’t always make themselves clear in the story, they do grab your attention. The massive amount of top-notch audio is breathtaking. Songs from countless other games show up, alongside some original orchestral scores, electronic remixes, and more. It’s a fantastic soundtrack. While the idea of using the music player mode as a giant Walkman might sound silly, an auxiliary cable in the car makes for a great commute soundtrack.

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Overall, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a must own game for almost anybody with a Switch. Some might complain a mode from an older game may have been omitted. Like the Trophies, and their related modes for example. But their replacements are well thought out, and fit the game nicely. In some cases, better. The Spirits may seem convoluted to some, but they make the Adventure worth checking out, and getting invested in. The Smash Tour isn’t here, but there probably weren’t a lot of people clamoring for it. The stage builder is gone, which is one thing I would have liked to have seen return. Be that as it may, the large roster, 8-player matches, multitude of ways to customize matches, are worth getting the game for alone. It’s also wonderful that those of us who invested hundreds of dollars into Nintendo’s figurines, and Gamecube controllers for the Wii U iteration can repurpose those things for this new one.

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For those who love this series, you’ve probably picked this up already. For those who are lapsed, or haven’t played one of these games before though, you should really check it out. This is a series that has always celebrated the history of Nintendo, and video games. There’s something here for everyone. Fighting game enthusiasts will find some advanced techniques to master. People who want to play something different with guests will likely enjoy the chaotic fun of Luigi shooting laser guns. Or the look of surprise on a friend’s face when they see their first stage hazard. Fans of Retro will love the 40 years or more of classic nods, and references in it. Even people who tend to like slower paced cerebral genres over arcade twitch game play may find they really enjoy the RPG elements of Spirit Adventuring. Plus the easier inputs can make it feel less daunting to any newcomer to the series. Of course if you’ve never enjoyed one of these games to any degree, this one won’t change your mind. But for most with a Switch, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate joins Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, and Splatoon 2, as a sure first-party bet.

Final Score: 9 out of 10

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Super Smash Bros. For Wii U Review

I know I’m late to the party with this one, and everyone has told you that this game is worth picking up 1,000 times over. Is this game good? There’s no question. Is this game overhyped? Possibly. Can this game do any wrong? Absolutely, though not what you might expect. This game addresses the concerns fans had with the previous game, while bringing along a couple of new decisions fans might fret over. But no game is flawless right?

PROS: Improved visuals, features, online experience, and a lot of content.

CONS: The campaign feature in Brawl, and Melee is gone. Some character cuts.

AMIIBO: While you don’t need one, the game may make you want to own a few.

Super Smash Bros. is now around 15 years old. Where has the time gone? With every iteration over that time span, each brought something new. Obviously the core concept for the series came with the first one. While things have changed, that set of fundamental design has not. Melee made things faster. A lot faster, and a large number of fans quickly realized that it could hang with the likes of Street Fighter even though it was a wildly different game. It’s sequel Brawl, tried to make things more accessible. After all, by the time it came out, many people were talking about insane techniques needed to win against professional players. Melee was showing up in tournaments, and developed a hardcore cult following in the fighting game community. A following that has only grown over the last decade. Brawl ran much slower, allowing people new to the series to be able to pick it up, and learn the mechanics. It had its own level of challenge, and was a very good game in its own right. It introduced online play, even if it wasn’t always the smoothest or most responsive game online. It expanded the roster even further, and even tried to add a bit more pizzaz to its single player campaign.

But a rivalry broke out in the fan community that lasts to this day, with many screaming the praises of one game, while disdaining the other. Super Smash Bros.for Wii U does a number of things to alleviate that, and bridge a gap between the two flavors of game play. For the handful of you who may not be familiar with Super Smash Bros., or at least those who have seen it, but never really understood it, it’s a fighting game. It’s a very unconventional fighting game that celebrates the last fifty years of Nintendo’s intellectual properties. There are characters, and worlds from Nintendo’s greatest franchises, and products. Super Mario Bros. Donkey Kong. The Legend of Zelda. Metroid. Pokémon. Even many of their lesser known titles end up represented somehow.

Where SSB really differentiates itself from other fighting games is how you defeat opponents. In most fighters, each player has a life bar. The goal is to deplete your opponents’ life bar two out of three rounds. In SSB however, the goal is to be king of the mountain, or a proverbial Sumo wrestler. Ring outs are the key to victory.  What makes the game addicting, and challenging however is that players have the ability to get back in the ring if they are knocked out. Each stage has an invisible border around it. Knocking a player beyond that point gets you a victory. As you attack other players, their damage percentage goes higher. As they take more punishment, each attack knocks them back farther. This goes on until someone can’t make it back.

Each game has had two major ways to play it. Stock rules or Time rules. Stock rules gives each player a decided upon number of lives. Each ring out, costs a life until there is only one person standing. Time rules, gives everyone unlimited lives, and everyone plays until the clock hits zero. At the end of the game a winner is chosen by the number of times they knocked out other players. If there’s a draw the game goes to Sudden Death, where everyone has high damage percentage, and even a minimal attack can knock you out. The last player standing then wins.

Each game also allowed players to play with or without items. These would show up, at random to give whoever picked them up an advantage. Baseball bats, guns, bombs, Super Mushrooms, and more would show up. Some of the items, called Assist Trophies, would summon NPC characters to attack other players. When Brawl came around, it brought a new item called the Smash Ball. Getting one of these meant your character could perform a finishing move, much like Street Fighter’s Ultras, or Mortal Kombat’s Fatalities. Except of course they would usually result in a knock out.

Finally, the biggest departure from other fighting games is the insistence upon simple inputs. Most fighting games involve learning complex button combinations to do anything from a special move to a combination attack. SSB is much simpler. You have four directions, a jump button, an attack button, and a special move button. Pressing a direction with either button performs a move. One can also press the attack button, and a direction at the exact same time for what the game calls “Smash Attacks” these are usually the most powerful moves the game has to offer, as they can also be charged. However that simplicity only goes so far, as you still need the zoning, and unpredictability you use in other fighting games to win. Players have a shield button, as well as a grab button. Shielding is essentially a block button. But to prevent people from playing too defensively or turtling, the block will explode if you hold it too long. Shielding allows you to dodge, and parry too by combining it with a direction. Finally, the grab button will allow you to perform holds, where you can add damage, as well as using it with a direction to throw an opponent. Something that can be handy as you can then attack their airborne character with follow ups. All of these moves can have different results in the air, and most of the characters can add a third jump (you can jump twice with the jump button) by using their up, and special move button after jumping.

There are plenty of other in-depth mechanics between the games that I really won’t delve into here. But know that Super Smash Bros. For Wii U keeps all of these core rules in place. What it does differently from previous games is moves the speed somewhere between SSBM, and SSBB’s. Something that makes it accessible to both groups of dedicated players. The roster has been updated again. Some of the characters that didn’t return in Brawl have returned here. Others are entirely new, while some haven’t returned at all. Many will be happy to know that in addition to the better run speed, a lot of rebalancing has also occurred, and while not perfect, everyone is pretty viable. For most players there won’t be a vast gap between character match ups. For the hardest of the hardcore? Well it’s still going to be awhile before we start seeing consistent tier lists, but there is still plenty to love. Cross ups, two in ones, and advanced combos are all here, and some astute diehards have already discovered a handy technique they call perfect pivoting. I’m certain some may still prefer the old Gamecube version, but this Wii U iteration is certainly deep enough to sate most any fan.

If the tweaks to the core formula weren’t enough to get you to check this out yet, some of the other new features just might. For starters, the internet play is much, improved over Super Smash Bros. Brawl. While I’ve still had my share of disconnects, or a lag ridden match on occasion, that frequency has been greatly reduced. It is irritating when it does happen, as you will see the wrong move pop out as the game isn’t sure what you’ve pressed. Or to see things creep down to five miles an hour. But thankfully those moments have been pretty rare. At least in my case, most rounds go pretty smoothly. Those with wired connections may see even fewer instances of hiccups, as there might be interference in some homes that conflict with a wireless signal. While no means flawless, it is a vast improvement over the last game’s internet performance.

Online mode also has been split up into two modes. For Fun, and For Glory. The former is designed for those who love the random craziness Super Smash Bros. is known for. Items are in full bloom, no holds are barred, and records aren’t kept. Some may have a small nitpick with this mode though. That is the game’s over reach on stopping griefers. In order to keep things civil, the game will disconnect, and put an hour-long ban on you if you target one specific player, over, and over again. While it is commendable that there is a game that really takes this sort of behavior seriously, it can be a little overzealous for some. Sometimes if one player consistently attacks, another, and also consistently fails at it the defender may suffer the consequences. To be fair it seems to be a rarity, and most of the time one has to actively work to make it happen. But there could have been a better concept implemented here. That said, it is generally the zany fun you are accustomed to.

The second mode sets things up similarly to what you might find in a regional tournament. Super Smash Bros. Wii U adds a new map feature called Omega Mode, where maps are converted to a similar layout to the Final Destination stage every game in the series has had. That is, there is but one platform in the center of your screen. For Glory mode also means that no items are in play. Not even the Smash Ball. Games are timed to 2 minutes, and you play for the most knock outs possible. This is easily the most popular mode for people who want a challenge. The mode can also be played in a 4 player mode, a 2 on 2 team mode or a 1 on 1 mode. SSBWU also has an online stat tracker for anybody obsessed with wins, losses, and character stats.

There are also challenges you can take part in by choosing certain characters. Nintendo updates them under a section called Conquest. Going under here simply notifies you of what characters are in play. Using them in For Glory modes, will add points to the character’s team. It doesn’t seem to reward you with anything, but it is something you might have a passing interest in. You can also spectate matches. Going here, and picking a character will find games where the character is being used, and then broadcasting the match to you. If you are the sort who enjoys watching streams of high level play, or any sort of competition, it’s another avenue for you.

You can also play online with friends, which allows you to play up to four players on any given stage, with or without items, in stock or time rule matches. One of the cool things about playing online is that you can have a player, and his or her friend as a guest play online simultaneously. It’s great for anyone who has a roommate, spouse or sibling, who share the same console.

If all of that were it, it would be enough for some, but it isn’t all there is. Players who have local parties with friends can play 8 player battles. This is in addition to the regular 4 player battles. The only drawback here is that not every map in the game was designed with 8 people in mind, so some of the maps are not useable in this mode. Using Omega mode opens up more, but the inability to play on every stage is a minor disappointment. Still, it is a blast if you can get 7 other people to visit or if you’re bringing the system, the game, and some controllers to a party.

On the subject of controllers, the game allows for several kinds of controller options. Obviously you can use the Game Pad, or the Classic Controller Pro. Both of these controllers work great, giving you the versatility of using a second stick for quick Smash Attacks. You can also use the Wiimote on its side, with a Nunchuck, or with the Wii Classic Controller. Using the latter is pretty much like the Classic Controller Pro. Using the Wiimote by itself, or with a Nunchuck isn’t the most ideal way to play as you lose some of the benefits of having analog movement, and easier to pull off smashes. That being said, if you are really good at knowing the precise timing to pull off smashes, then it’s less of an issue. Nevertheless, having some Classic Controller Pros, or Classic Controllers for Wiimotes are going to be a more ideal solution. The game is also compatible with the Nintendo Gamecube Controller. Which is what the absolute purists will insist upon. It isn’t an insurmountable advantage over the Classic Controller, or Classic Controller Pro. But it will feel more familiar to anyone who played an awful lot of Super Smash Bros. Melee. How exactly do you use a GCN controller with this game? Nintendo released a USB adapter that four controllers can plug into, and even supports using two adapters for eight controllers. The only problem? Not very many were produced, and most of them were bought up upon release. If you are fortunate enough to find one at retail, or a copy of the game bundled with one, it is a nice option. Particularly if you have old controllers knocking around. Barring that, the Wiimote, and Classic Controller or Classic Controller Pro are your most ideal options. There is another option for those who own the 3DS version of the game, and that is using the portable as a controller, so long as they have the game plugged in. You can also transfer some character data with it as well.

Smash Tour replaces the single player campaign, and it combines the arbitrary rules of Mario Party, with the challenge of Super Smash Bros. You can play this against the CPU, or against three other people. It’s a board game that allows you a set number of turns (15 being the lowest number), in which you’ll move across spaces upon every turn. As you play you’ll collect characters to use in combat, as well as items, and assist trophies to help you in battle while levelling up. Bumping into other players, will often times start a round of Super Smash Bros., with the winner gaining items, and costing the other players items. At the end of the board game there is a final battle with everyone using the characters they’ve collected. As in the Mario Party games, there are also random items generated for players depending on certain events. The object is to try to have the most stuff going into the final round, as it devolves into a handicap match. Someone will almost always have far less characters to use than the others. So skill building from the main game is still paramount.

Another new duo of modes are Master Orders, and Crazy Orders. Master Orders will give you the opportunity to spend gold to enter special challenges. Winning them gives you rewards for your Mii fighter creation, and Amiibos. Crazy Orders is similar but you can use tickets or gold. The difference is Crazy Orders will give you better prizes the longer you can go without losing. Once you lose, you gain nothing. Some of the challenges in the game require you to accomplish certain feats in these modes so you may want to play them. Another key thing in Crazy Orders is that once you’ve beaten as many challenges as you think you can handle you fight Crazy Hand. If you manage to win that battle you’ll retain all of the prizes you’ve claimed thus far.

The game still has the less touted single player modes of previous Smash games however. There is the Classic mode, in which you’ll have to go through a gauntlet of matches, until you meet the final boss. There is a really challenging spin on the mode here however. When starting the game, you’ll be able to choose a difficulty setting, and the higher you choose, the better the rewards for winning. You’ll also need coins to choose the higher settings. You earn these in all of the various modes, along with other items. If you can get to the end of the game on the highest setting, it not only puts you against both the Master Hand, and Crazy Hand (which turns into a number of different forms depending on difficulty level), but puts you into a side scrolling secret stage similar to the end of the original Contra. You’ll have to destroy 3 hearts while hordes of minions try to stop you.

Here’s the thing that makes this an even bigger challenge than in previous games. Even using a single continue will lower the difficulty setting. So you cannot get the highest possible win if you continue. Each consecutive continue lowers the difficulty further. All Star mode also returns, which is essentially a gauntlet through the entire roster. You’ll have to beat every character in a row, on one life. If you can manage to do that, you’ll be rewarded with items, and trophies of each character’s Final Smash.

Also returning are the event stages, which task you with objectives during matches, like beating a character in under 30 seconds, or not letting an enemy touch the stage floor during a 2 minute match. Clearing these can result in some harder to find items, and unlockable stages. Other returning modes are the Home Run bag mode (where you send a sandbag flying for a high score), the multi man NPC smash battles (Beat a number of computer controlled enemies), and target (Break round targets in the shortest time possible)challenges.

But wait! There’s more! Mii’s have become the series’ create a wrestler mode. You can take any given Mii on your system, or  a new Mii, and customize them to create new characters. You can choose from three attack types, a projectile heavy character, a speedy character,  or a brawler. From there you can change around their move sets, costume designs, and more. You can also take an existing character such as Mario, and retool their move sets for interesting results.

Super Smash Bros Wii U also is the first Nintendo game to make significant use of their Amiibo toy line. Instead of unlocking weapons, or skins, they become sparring NPC partners. After setting them on the Game Pad, the character can be renamed, and given custom move sets. Once that is done, playing against it will level it up. As it levels up, it will actually analyze the way you play, and find workarounds for many of your tactics. It quickly goes from being easily squashed to impossible to defeat. What is pretty cool about this is that it will help you learn your weaknesses in a way that a level 9 CPU character simply can’t. The toys can be levelled up to a rank of 50, although they’ll continue to evolve their tactics around your improved tactics. Moreover you can give your Amiibo many of the items you’ll find playing the various modes.

These influence its strengths, and weaknesses. Depending on what you give it, it will veer toward a fast, projectile, or brawler character much like the Miis. You can also only give the Amiibo so many items at a time, before the game will tell you it is full, and has to fight in more matches. In between fights it can be given more items.

In terms of unlockables, the game also has them in spades. The most important ones, are the characters, and stages which can be unlocked by playing enough matches or by meeting certain conditions. Such as beating classic mode, clearing a certain event, and so on, and so forth. But the game also has a lot of trophies for you to collect as well. Hundreds of them. Also carried over from Brawl, are the Nintendo demos for the old games the characters come from, as well as the stage creator, and snapshot features.

Stage creator is a great feature for anybody who likes to create mods. It isn’t going to be the deepest tool. But it does allow you to pick textured block designs, create a nice layout, and even add hazards like lava, or spikes. These can be saved to an SD card along with screenshots you take. Screenshots can be taken like most Wii U games, by pressing Home, and then posting on MiiVerse or a Website. But you can also use the game’s pause menu to save photos to the earlier mentioned SD card.

Super Smash Bros. Wii U really does succeed in many ways at bridging the gap between Melee, and Brawl. But it isn’t quite flawless. While most won’t be bothered by the omission of a campaign, some may be saddened that Solid Snake doesn’t return, nor do the Ice Climbers. Rosalina shares some of their tactics as she has a Luma as her proverbial tag team partner, but still plays wildly differently. The Pokémon Trainer is also gone. Instead, Charizard comes on his own, GreNinja enters as a newcomer, and Pokémon fans still get to play with Pikachu, Jigglypuff, and Lucario. (Mewtwo is also going to return down the line as DLC) Despite these, and other roster changes (Zelda, and Sheik are no longer tied to each other, as is the case with Samus, and Zero Suit Samus) things still seem much better here. Mega Man functions nearly identically to his 8-bit NES counterpart, Pac-Man is a lot of fun to use, and you’ll also see some other classic, and contemporary Nintendo characters showing up here. There is a lot to love here, and few games of any genre give you this much content these days.

If all of the modes weren’t enough, you have the aforementioned trophy hunting,  as well as an album function for your photos. The game also has a wonderful soundtrack. All of your favorite series’ songs are represented here. There are symphonic renditions, the original chip tunes,  Rock n’ Roll, Electronica, and so on. You can even set the frequency of each song’s playback for all of the game’s stages.  At the end of the day, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is a must for anyone with the system.

Final Score: 9 out of 10