Super Smash Bros. for 3DS has been one of the main focuses of Nintendo in the recent years and they’ve been stringing us along, inch by inch, ever since the game’s reveal. Developed in partnership between Sora Ltd., headed by Masahiro Sakurai, and Bandai Namco Games, the game has become one of the most hyped games of this Fall season. Though I initially had my doubts about the game’s maiden voyage being on the 3DS, Nintendo has shown their handheld is the perfect ring for their flagship fighter.
Aesthetics (Story, Graphics, Sound)
As I mentioned in my Super Smash Bros. First Impressions, the graphics featured in the game make full use of the 3DS, delivering a stellar, crisp picture on both the top and bottom screens. Particle effects, accurate hit boxes, beautiful backgrounds — these are just a few examples of the impressive fidelity present in the game. One touch I really admired was the ability to bold or diminish character outlines in the options menu, something that initially bugged me before the demo’s release. To top it all off, I haven’t encountered any framerate drops common in process-heavy games on the 3DS, which is a great relief considering how many times I’ve experienced them with other high quality titles. Super Smash Bros. is one of the best experiences graphically I’ve had on a 3DS with its smooth presentation and vibrant design.
Gameplay (Combat, Systems, Mechanics)
Super Smash Bros. features a lot of new content in its fourth iteration. Though a lot has been added, the core gameplay design still remains true to its N64 tradition; one to four players battle on a single stage, attempting to damage their opponents to the point that knocking them off-screen becomes easy. It’s a pretty simple way to brawl that allows for some pretty enjoyable, fast paced combat that can be done through local or online play. A few little tweaks have been made to this newest entry, such as balancing the weight of the characters and granting the ability to dodge in mid-air repeatedly, but for the most part its the same Super Smash Bros. formula. To say that the series has become stagnant in its core gameplay does sometime pop into mind as I went through battle after battle, but the improvements made knock those thoughts right off the stage.
For the singleplayer experience, the RPG-ish story mode of Brawl has been scrapped for the traditional Classic mode with a Kid Icarus: Uprising twist. As you enter Classic mode, you pay a fee of gold coins depending on which difficulty you wish to tackle; higher difficulties lead to rarer rewards; as both games were developed by Sora Ltd. there’s not surprise in borrowing the systems. While this exchange of main singleplayer modes allows the player more wiggle room in terms of who they want to play as, it does introduce a grind element to the game. Since Classic mode is the game’s main source of unlocking power-ups, collectibles and characters (unless you grind regular Smash battles), expect to be running through the map over and over again. It does get repetitive, but the amount of change between Classic runs does liven up a bit. Along with Classic mode there are a few returning modes and mini-games — All-Star Run, Stadium, and the various X-man brawls to name a few — along with some new ones, like Trophy Rush and Street Smash. There’s a lot to participate in and their relative enjoyment makes the additional content worthwhile.
One of the biggest modes introduced solely to the 3DS version is the Smash Run. In it, you choose a character and run around a vast Metroidvania-esque map collecting stat upgrades and power-ups, all of which culminates in a final smash battle with the customized characters. It’s a neat little game mode that can be played with CPU’s or other players and provides another outlet of replayability to ramble through chaos smashing everything in your path.
When you think of Super Smash Bros., the phrase “extensive degree of character customization” probably isn’t the first to pop into your mind, but it stands at the top of the list in the 3DS version. Characters can now be fitted with stat changing equipment and different abilities that slightly alter the effects of original moves (the Mii Fighter can be customized even further in regards to appearance and play style). This is easily the most impressive new system to be included into the Smash Bros. series; it changes how the same character can be mastered in different strategies and actually allows for someone to customize their favorite characters to fit their gameplay preferences. It’s an incredibly smart decision that executed fairly well, minus the random lottery with which one obtains equipment and moves. Broadening the game’s capability for experimentation is easily one of Super Smash Bros. greatest successes.
Translation is the key here. Nintendo, Sora Ltd. and Bandai Namco set out to develop a console-only title and adapt it for the 3DS handheld and, after smashing my way through Master Hand and his/her goons, I can safely say that they have outdone themselves. The level of quality in terms of both aesthetics and gameplay are outstanding, offering a wide variety of new mechanics and systems that bolsters an already addicting game. I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who owns a 3DS for an extremely entertaining time. If this is the preface for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, consider me a done deal come this Winter.
Final Score: 9 / 10
Written and Edited by Tim Atwood