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Review: Super Smash Bros. Wii U

by onJanuary 1, 2015
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With the failure to appeal to third-party publishers with its current generation of console, Nintendo could at least count on itself, with one last bullet in their gun barrel for the holiday season. Super Smash Bros. is already making a hit on the 3DS, with over 3.2 Million sales, it is this time for the franchise to help out the rocky Wii U, which clearly needs all kinds of hopes it can get.

You’ll understand from the first lightning strike popping out of the starting screen: Super Smash Bros. is bringing the big guns to this gaming war. Leaving the console weapon of choice, the not-so-comfortable GamePad, Super Smash Bros. Wii U gives you the flexibility to connect a Pro Controller, a Wiimote, or even the iconic GameCube pads that made the game become a legend, those that are probably hiding away under a pile of dust in your house (Provided in this case to have the adapter sold). If all these peripherals are not enough, you can also use the 3DS link over wireless, which works perfectly latency: the console is recognized after only a few seconds of searching, and one or two menu validations. It’s always useful to overcome the lack of controllers, or for those who refuse to leave their comfort zone after spending two months on the handheld version of the game.

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I should note that using a 3DS is limited only to Smash modes, however, it is possible to transfer your custom characters from one machine to another. In any case, the game still manages both the individual player profiles, saving many configurations for different controllers, and not to mention the countless personal stats tracked game after game, as it was the case in previous versions.

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This ample range of configurations is mainly created for the 8-player Smash mode, exclusive this console version. A chaotic mode as the name suggests, even if the range and configurations of arenas have been designed to accommodate this mess. I won’t go as far as to write that the action becomes maybe too chaotic for my taste, with a zoomed out camera angle barely powerful enough to distinguish items and characters, but the laughter and fun quota is largely expanded, especially when you choose to play as tag teams.

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Super Smash Bros. Wii U never deviates from its claimed 60 fps animation, even when pushed to its limits, with enlarged characters, with max damage on overcrowded arenas effects and giant guests: Mega Man’s Yellow Devil or even good old Ridley from Metroid. The game’s performance deserves a big tip of the hat: at the time of ugly interfaces, broken promises and buggy mechanics, Super Smash Bros. developers have provided a flawless, beautiful, smooth and colorful game; a graphical and technical virtuosity that is expressed in a multitude of ways.

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From the ergonomics of the interface, the finishing touch of the characters, the devastation of sound effects to each well placed smash. There’s so much to praise, but I’ll bow to the diversity of worlds that coexist in one game, treated with infinite respect whether it is on the audio or visual levels. Sonic Lost World, Wario Ware, Donkey Kong, Xenoblade, PilotWings, Pokemon X / Y: the arenas are not limited to two or three themes, they call for Nintendo’s collective memory, topped with over 400 soundtracks that were mostly re-orchestrated. Pretty much, the interactive Nintendo museum anyone should own.

Whatever is your thing in Super Smash Bros., with or without items for the competitive edge or for fun, the Wii U opus will meet all of your expectations. The thing is Super Smash Bros for Wii U relies mostly on a system that synthesizes Brawl and Melee, whether in the speed of the fighting, or how they fit together. Since neutral sequences that end with mini-smash at the swift hit of the stick limit damage, advanced techniques will need to be learned to keep the opponent into the air to smash combo. Positioning, dodging, camping and frames of invincibility: there’s so many parameters that makes this game absolutely diabolical to master, but worth the time invested, far from the false image of button mashing without thinking.

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If substance remains the same from one version to another, Super Smash Bros. Wii U has way more content in comparison to the 3DS version. We did mention the 8-Player Smash mode; the game also features countless challenges spread throughout the different modes. There are over 140 challenges to beat and unlock bonus, illustrations, and even ultra-short demo of Nintendo classic games, hitting two birds with one stone, and introducing old Nintendo games which can be later purchased on the Nintendo eShop.

On the other hand if you prefer a more challenging mode, try the “Special Orders”: Master Hand’s Master Orders and Crazy Hand’s Crazy Orders each align randomly generated challenges to refuel the game’s replayability and customization elements. The challenges (or orders) require gold earned by playing the game to be unlocked, which will both rack up rewards in the form of more gold, custom parts, Nintendo Soundtracks and more.

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Another notable new mode, is Smash Tour, a board game that adds multiple variable to the fighting equation, quite different from the usual Smash adventure modes. It pits up to four players to team up with AI fighters each turn and rank up in stats and power-ups to go through a series of challenges and fights until the end. Close to it is the 3DS All-Star Mode, a sort of survival mode which pits you against all unlocked characters in Nintendo timelines chronologically.

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This review would be impossible to conclude without mentioning the Amiibo, Nintendo’s first entry into the NFC figurines business, which the Japanese company hope to hit the jackpot (as did Disney Infinity and the Skylanders franchise). Now in practice most of the figures are recognized by almost every gender and age group with a fairly substantial comfort, which can be beneficial for collectors. But for non-collectors, Amiibos are simply a way to store an AI mind that will gain level per use, to play co-op modes, or just challenge your friend’s Amiibo.

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To boost the level-up process, players can sacrifice a few customization elements and inflate their Amiibo stats. Hard to say at this stage how the AI is supposed to change its behavior at each level gained, but I do see small differences between a well boosted Amiibo and others.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS was reviewed using a Nintendo Wii U and 3DS retail copy purchased by the writer, as well as multiple Amiibos to help in this review. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published (click here for more information about our review policy).

What we liked

• Technically and visual stunning
• A universal concept
• The maniacal care given to characters
• The amount of game modes
• 8-Player Smash!
• A game system simmered with care
• A musical anthology on a single disc
• One of the most balanced fighting game

What is not fun

• Couldn't find any flaws!

Editor Rating
 
Concept
10

 
Graphics
9.8

 
Sound
10

 
Playability
10

 
Entertainment
10

 
Replay Value
10

Final Score
10


Our final verdict
 

Neither an HD port nor a remix, and after the release of its twin brother on 3DS, we already knew what to expect with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U: a sweet pie filled with Nintendo fan service filling. Behind the sweet packaging, Mario’s mustache straightens and astounding simplicity hides a world of depth, an ocean of possibilities, as we continue to explore every day like any respectable fighting game. So enjoy it as I sure did, and don’t forget: settle it in Smash!

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