Final smashes in Super Smash Bros. Brawl

“Super Smash Bros. Brawl.” the third installment of the Super Smash Bros. franchise, was released on March 9, 2008. On opening day it sold nearly 875,000 copies, and within the first week over 1.4 million copies were sold, making “Brawl” the fastest-selling game in Nintendo’s history.  “Brawl” built upon the two previous games, with 36 characters and 41 stages total, is the largest and most popular in the series.
Like its predecessors, “Brawl” features a fighting system based around knocking opponents off the screen instead of depleting a health bar. Unlike the previous two games, “Brawl” adds mechanics that completely change the gameplay. The first and foremost of the changes is the addition of tripping. When moving on the ground, characters have a one-in-100 chance of tripping, and going prone for a second, leaving them open to attack. While somewhat rare, tripping is considered the most annoying addition to the game. Because of its random nature, it is impossible to predict when a character will trip. In competitive play, the introduction of tripping was devastating. Much of the strategy in “Melee” involved short, quick movements on the ground meant to bait an opponent into an attack, followed by a quick counterattack. Due to the nature of tripping, swift changes in direction would quickly trigger it, often causing a match to be decided simply by who tripped first. Second was the introduction of an item called the Smash Ball. Unlike other items, the Smash Ball hovers around the stage on its own. Instead of picking it up,  to use the Smash Ball, the players have to break it open by attacking it. After breaking, the ball gives the player  a powerful move called a “Final Smash,”  a one-use move that is different for each character. The Final Smash has a cinematic element as well as almost game-ending power. Although the move isn’t truly game-ending, it is powerful enough to give the players a significant advantage. While the idea is interesting on the surface, there are a few problems with it in practice. One problem is the cinematic effects. One of the easiest ways to make a player angry is to pause the game. It breaks up the gameplay and causes everything to come to a screeching halt. Cinematic sequences cause the same effect. They break up gameplay in exchange for a short cutscene. In a two-player match, it isn’t that bad, but with three or four players, it can completely destroy the flow of the game. The Smash Ball  was  good idea in theory but instead turned into a game of break the ball before your opponents do.
Events and stadiums were given multiplayer modes, but otherwise little changed. The competitive scene, however, changed quite a bit with the newer mechanics. Where “Melee” had encouraged a very aggressive play style, “Brawl” required a more defensive one due to the introduction of tripping. This change wasn’t received well by many, and to this day many competitive players play “Melee” instead of “Brawl.” However, a middle ground has been reached. “Project M” is a fan-made expansion for “Brawl” that changes the way the game is played. Tripping is removed,  extra skins are added, and almost every character has been rebalanced or completely updated, creating a kind of midpoint between the two games.
Despite the new mechanics in “Brawl”, the Subspace Emissary mode was one of the most anticipated parts of the game. This mode is a pretty solid remake of the Adventure mode from “Melee”. The story is captivating and comical. Stages look good and are well laid out. My biggest problem with the game is that there aren’t enough proper fights in the main story. It mostly involves going through the adventure stage, solving puzzles, fighting smaller enemies and attempting to just get to the end. However, there are more adventure stages than actual fights against Smash characters. The mode feels more like a platform game than an actual Smash Bros. game. When characters meet, most of the time they decide to team up instead of fighting. It feels more like a platform game than anything else. While platformers aren’t bad, it feels out of place and overused. My favorite part is the Great Maze level near the end of the story. It is made up of shorter versions of all the stages and features every character and boss in the game. Another perk of the Subspace Emissary is that it is the easiest way to unlock all of the characters because they are easier to obtain than in other Smash Bros. titles.
The rest of the single-player function of the game really falls short to me. The Classic mode of the game doesn’t vary too much from the other games and seems almost mediocre compared to the others. It doesn’t have the feel of the original modes, and that really detracts from the fun of it. Another huge problem with the game is the lack of personal stages in the stadium modes. In the previous games, each character had their own version of the stadium matches. However, in “Brawl,” there are only five different levels that everybody shares, based on difficulty from easy to very hard. It felt bland, because part of the fun of the other games was getting to use each character’s abilities to beat a unique stage. In this one, every stage can be completed by any character. The events shared a similar fate. While events in “Melee” progressed in difficulty as they were completed, players in “Brawl” get to choose the difficulty of each event, eliminating that progression of difficulty and the challenge it provided.
Overall, “Super Smash Bros. Brawl” is a fun game that took some huge risks and had some really good payoffs. While the game does fall short in a number of areas, it also excels in others. While this game does not live up to “Melee” as a competitive game, it is the best Smash Bros. game in single-player mode due to the Subspace Emissary. This game is a good addition to the Smash franchise and lived up to the hype fairly well.