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Super Smash Bros. for 3DS – 3DS

Super Smash Bros. for 3DS – 3DS

Platform: 3DSSmashNintendo3DSBoxart

Developer: Sora Ltd., Namco-Bandai

Publisher: Nintendo

Release Date (NA): October 3rd, 2014

Genre: Fighting

Nerd Rating: 8 out of 10

Reviewed by Cloud3514

Portable Super Smash Bros. is something that I wanted to see since the Game Boy Advance in about 2002. The idea of being able to play it on the go and not be tied to a console has always been somewhere I would have liked to see the series go. It may have been 12 years since then, but I finally got my wish on that front and it’s even better than I could have expected.

Super Smash Bros. 3DS is a mascot fighting game in which up to four players battle it out as one of the many characters from Nintendo’s history, plus Pac-Man, MegaMan, and Sonic the Hedgehog. The goal of each fight is to knock opponents out of the ring by building up their damage and making them more susceptible to being knocked around by hard hitting “Smash” attacks.

The character roster is extremely varied. We have the obvious of Mario, Luigi, Link, Pickachu and so on and so forth, but there are a lot characters on the roster that I would have never expected to see. Xenoblade Chronicles may be a new franchise Nintendo wants to push, but it’s still niche enough that seeing it’s protagonist, Shulk, was a very welcome and pleasant surprise.

Screenshot 16

And he’s not the only one. It’s particularly nice to finally see some representation of Fire Emblem’s many awesome female characters, even if it disappointing to see that Lucina has the same moveset as Marth and that Robin’s male version is slightly more prominent. Maybe Lyn will be available as DLC later on.

Really, every new character, from MegaMan to Greninja to Rosalina to Little Mac, is extremely welcome. Counting the three Mii Fighter (customizable characters based on the Mii characters) movesets separately, there are 39 characters when the game is first booted up and 12 more to unlock as you go.

On top of the expanded roster, characters that were previously grouped with at least one other are now on their own. Charizard appears separate from the Pokemon Trainer’s other Pokemon, who have been dropped from the roster, while Samus/Zero Suit Samus and Zelda/Shiek have been split into separate characters.

While splitting these characters (and dropping Ivysaur and Squirtle) does take away some of the strategy involved with choosing these characters, this change is ultimately for the better as it rounds out these characters’ movesets and allows Samus or Zero Suit Samus players to use their Final Smashes without being forced to change characters.

The only real complaints I have with the roster are Lucina’s clone moveset and the fact that Snake does not make a return from Brawl, but that was expected. I hold out for him to appear as DLC.

The most interesting character added to the roster is the Mii Fighter. These characters are fully customizable from moveset to appearance. The very first thing I did in this game was add Reggie Fils-Amie as a Mii Figher. At the very least, this provides an excellent outlet for players that want to have a character that is purely their own. However, Mii Fighters cannot be used in public online matches, so any Hitler vs. Charizard matches will have to be done with friends.

Screenshot 3

Every character can be customized, as well. For most characters, customization options simply change the properties of their special moves, like making Ike’s neutral B, Eruption, have a wider area of effect in exchange for dealing Ike a bit of damage. Palutena, however, has several special moves that can only be accessed through customizations. Customization options are unlocked trough Classic Mode, Smash Run and Trophy Rush.

When it comes to single player content, Super Smash Bros. 3DS is an arcade game through and through. There is no story mode with the primary single player modes being Classic Mode, where the player fights through a series of six fights, ending with a battle against Master Hand (or Master Hand and Crazy Hand, depending on difficulty) and All-Star Mode, where the player battles every character in the game (characters are added to All-Star Mode as they get unlocked) in the order of the years they first appeared.

While it is disappointing to have a lack of an adventure mode, regardless of if it was as simple as Melee’s varied mode that pits the player in several different types of battles or Brawl’s Subspace Emissary that leads the cast on an epic adventure, the single player modes, coupled with the mini-games is satisfying enough.

There are three mini-games, Multi-Man mode and Home-Run Contest return, while Break the Targets is replaced with Target Blast.

Multi-Man Smash pits the player against a large number of Mii Fighters with variations including 10-man and 100-man, in which the player tries to beat that number of enemies as fast as possible, as well as 3-minute (as many KOs as possible in 3 minutes), Endless (as many KOs as possible before dying), among others. It’s a fun little distraction and Cruel Smash (same as Endless, except enemies are full strength) is a decent way for skilled players to practice, but there’s not a whole lot to it.

Home-Run Contest is the same as it’s always been. Deal as much damage to a sandbag as possible within a few seconds before using the Home-Run Bat to knock it as far as possible. It’s an excellent test to see how much damage a player can do in a very short amount of time and it is a surprisingly fun mode.

Target Blast is a bit of a disappointment. I would have much preferred to see an updated version of Break the Targets. It is the same concept as Home-Run Contest, but instead of a Sandbag, players beat up a bomb, which they then launch into a structure that’s filled with targets. The more that gets destroyed, the higher the player’s score will be. The problem is that it is extremely difficult to aim where the bomb launches to, which reduces it largely down to luck.

The only other disappointment in terms of single player content is the lack of Event Matches. In Melee and Brawl, these added a lot of variety to the game and allowed for more unique fights that can’t be done in other modes, but they’re unfortunately nowhere to be found in this game.

There are 34 stages in the game, some of which must be unlocked. Unlike the characters, however, I’m not particularly impressed with the stages. Some of the classics return, such as Corneria, WarioWare and the ever present Final Destination (as well as my eternally hated Brinstar), but the new stages just don’t have the charm that the Brawl stages had.

screenshot 1

Accessing a stage’s Omega form only requires hitting X when selecting the stage. Image courtesy of Nintendo.

There’s nothing wrong with them and they are a lot of fun to play on, but the only new stages that particularly stand out to me are Pac-Maze, which has a fun gimmick of collecting Pac Pellets to spawn a Power Pellet to boost a character’s stats for a short while and Dreamland, which is designed to look like an old Game Boy game, complete with purely green color scheme.

But despite not being particularly impressed by them, the stage variety is solid. It’s particularly nice to see Flat Zone 2 return as that was one of my favorites in Brawl. There are simpler, static stages like series staples Battlefield and Final Destination to please the players wanting a straight up fight, scrolling stages that force players to keep moving and constantly changing stages that let players change up their strategies constantly. It’s a good mix.

Competitive players will be happy to hear that every stage has an “Omega” version that turns it into a Final Destination clone with different scenery. Even Final Destination. As far as I can tell, Omega Final Destination is completely identical to regular Final Destination. It should help break up the monotony of Final Destination for both competitive players and spectators alike.

Screenshot 15

Seeing Lyn as an assist trophy again makes me continue to want her as a playable character.

Beyond that, there are Assist Trophies and Pokeballs that summon other characters and Pokemon to assist the player. These items have a large variety of characters that randomly spawn.

Some of the more memorable Assist Trophies are Mother Brain, who fires massive lasers at the fighters, Lakitu, who flies above the stage and drops 8-bit Super Mario Bros. enemies on the stage and the Nintendog, who adorably and annoyingly blocks the screen. Most Assist Trophies represent franchises that don’t feature playable characters. It’s a great celebration of Nintendo’s history.

Pokeballs do the same thing, only they’re limited to various Pokemon. Pokemon fans will appreciate the large variety of Pokemon that have been included in the game. There are also the new Masterballs, which do the same thing only with mostly legendary Pokemon appearing from them.

For multiplayer, the gameplay is rebalanced. As far as I can tell, the balance is more competitive than it was in Brawl and the game speed is somewhere between Brawl and Melee. Characters feel pretty equal and it doesn’t feel like a player has an advantage over another for choosing a specific character, at least from my point of view as a largely casual player. Local multiplayer is great fun, as it always has been. But then you get to online play.

Screenshot 8

Final Smashes, while a mixed bag where some just plain suck, are really cool and fun to use.

In theory, I like the options available for online. For Fun mode uses the normal stages, has items and plays up to four players. For Glory uses the Omega stages and takes away items, plus players can elect to play one on one. This lets everyone find a way to play that fits their preferences.

In practice, any match with more than two players lags. Badly. At best you flail around trying to deal with atrocious input lag, at worst, the game constantly pauses to try to catch up. It’s frustrating and I can only hope that Super Smash Bros. Wii U turns out better. Besides, Smash Bros. is more fun with local friends anyway.

At least For Glory one-on-one works. I can’t stand competitive Smash Bros., so I can’t say I enjoyed it, but it functioned. There is a little lag, but it is by no means the unplayable mess that For Fun is.

The big new feature that has been boasted exclusive for the 3DS is Smash Run. It is, like the online play, something I like in theory. Up to four players have five minutes to run through a dungeon with numerous NPC enemies that drop power-ups as they’re defeated. After the five minutes are up, the players are taken to a stage to put their upgraded characters to the test.

Screenshot 4

Smash Run has a good variety of enemies, from Mario enemies to Pokemon to returning enemies from Brawl’s Subspace Emissary.

I like the idea for Smash Run because it can give some variety to the gameplay, but many of the enemies encountered in it are frustrating to deal with and the one minute match at the end feels tacked on. Smash Run feels like the start of a Subspace Emissary-esque story mode that was retooled into a competitive mode. The map is huge, so there’s plenty of scenery in it, but it still feels like there isn’t enough variety in it due to it being so short. It would have been much better as a cooperative arcade mode than what it is now.

Beyond the fighting, there is the Streetpass functionality, which provides a mini-game called Street Smash that pits character tokens in a top-down arena trying to knock each other off. It seems fun, but I haven’t been able to try it out properly since I haven’t had a chance to do much Streetpassing since the game was released.

There is also trophy collection. Trophies can be collected in a large variety of ways. They can be bought, earned in All Star and Classic modes and they randomly spawn in Smash mode. There’s also the Trophy Rush mini-game where players earn points by crushing boxes and collecting trophies and customization options.

There was a lot of speculation on how well the controls would work on the 3DS before the game’s release. I have little issue, but it is definitely not the ideal way to play, at least on the original 3DS model. The XL and 2DS probably fair a bit better, particularly the 2DS. The nature of the Circle Pad means that fast movements on it are a touch harder than they are on a proper analogue stick, but that’s to be expected. It takes some getting used to and I hear complaints from most of the people I know about hand cramping, but the controls work about as well as anyone would have expected.

Screenshot 9

Super Smash Bros. Wii U will be able to use the 3DS as a controller, but I get the feeling that this functionality will go largely unused. While I wouldn’t rule out the 2DS as a controller, the original 3DS model is not the ideal means to play.

Like the rest of the series, Super Smash Bros. 3DS is a a wonderful celebration of Nintendo’s history. There are so many references packed into it from the obvious of the big name franchises to promising newcomers like Xenoblade and names as small as the Japan-only The Mysterious Mursame Castle that it would take too much time to list every single one of them. Control issues and poor online play aside, this is a wonderful follow up to Brawl and highly recommended for any 3DS owner.

Screenshot 6

Super Smash Bros. Wii U is slated for November 21st in North America, December 5th in Europe and December 6th in Japan and Australia. It will feature unique stages, but will retain the same character roster.

Written by Nerd Bacon

Nerd Bacon


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