The sweet 3rd installment to the iconic Smash Bros. series that all started way back on the Nintendo 64, and then was released on the Nintendo Wii on January 31, 2008. They truly outdid themselves with this entry, with this game being nothing short, but an amazing and masterfully crafted crossover game. In my eyes, Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the best Smash Bros game to this day, but furthermore one of the best fighters on the Wii console next to Tatsunoko vs Capcom. Now to start off and get a few things out of the way,There are people like me thinking this game is amazing.
There are people on the opposite end believing that this game sucks (as a smash game and fighter) because of tripping,slow game-play, terrible presentation etc. They treat it as the black sheep of the series and some state that its not as good as their precious Melee or currently Ultimate. I’m sure you’ve heard most of them and its tiring. Despite my bold opening, indeed I will admit that the game does have some things that should be brought into the limelight. I still do observe things with a logical point of view never being blinded by the toxin known as “nostalgia”, but at the end of the day those exact very things didn’t hugely affecting my overall enjoyment of the game.
1-The Mere Presentation/Aesthetic/Overall Visual Look This Game Brings.
I loved the overall presentation & aesthetic that Brawl brought to the table. Now has it aged and do some characters look off? Of course, but I still do very much appreciate this games visual look. It’s very dark, mature, and has a much more realistic vibe which I dig. Plus, the actual tone of the game itself is something I really do enjoy. For one example, just look above at the plumber himself Mario, and how much detail you can see within his overalls and jeans like patterns alongside the completion of his gloves. You can see that the people behind the game put in total effort in it (which I don’t mean to generalize that just because you put effort into something means it has to be good). I can to a degree, see why some individuals would get turned off by the overall style this game has,but for what it is it totally fits the game and its vision.
2-The Core Game-play Of Brawl
Brawl is often majorly criticized for being “Too slow not being as engaging as Melee”, “Tripping”, “Gliding with certain characters”, etc. I’m sure you are aware of most of them.
I will admit that in terms of speed and overall engaging, Brawl was a downgrade from Melee, and I will wholeheartedly agree in a general sense Melee was the better competitive game. However, I’m still tired of people trying to paint Brawl as this slow, clunky, underwater game when it’s not. For example, just look at this amazing set between TC1 (Meta Knight) and Pink Fresh (Lucas).
Watch that and confront me afterwards still claiming that Brawl was a “slow game” here alongside other sets that you can view (that at the most I could share 4 more). Brawl was definitely shown to be a capable game. Yes it was designed to be not as competitive as Melee and especially Smash 4 and Ultimate given that Bandai helped out with those games, but as I said people undermined the game.
And while tripping was a needless thing to add into the game, most tell it as you were tripping 24/7 with every step which is simply false and wasn’t even that bad. Plus in some cases helped you in times giving you invincibility frames so it wasn’t an outright crutch.
Gliding (which some characters had the ability to do like Pit, Charizard, and Meta Knight) was an inclusion I actually really liked, and it just made sense for some characters to have that ability. It’s not “randomness” as people like to say, and it’s very punishable (as in the video I shared displayed). It’s sad how it was a thing that never returned, as it was a nice innovation for the series to switch things up.
Roster is key for most fighting games and in the case of Brawl (Which by itself) and looking at the newcomers is solid. They did cut some characters from Melee such as Dr Mario (which I didn’t care at all), Pichu (though while having the cute appeal,for me was just a waste like Dr Mario), Roy (despite slight differences,was just a tweaked Marth), Mewtwo (which i’ll admit coming from a non Gen 1 Pokemon fan,was a slight disappointment), and Young Link (who is just link lacking the distinction outside of appearance and fire arrows) but unlike something recent like Marvel vs Capcom Infinite. They balanced it out by bringing in characters to replace them and in cases were better.
The new characters of brawl consist of:
-Diddy Kong (who was a very nice addition adding more representation to the Donkey Kong universe and dk isn’t all alone anymore,also having nice banter with Fox and Falco).
-Pit (who initially was an odd pick given that at the time before uprising,was only on a NES game like Ice Climbers was still nice and was modernized well. His team up with Mario and later on Link,Yoshi,and Kirby was a joy to see because they were basically the main all star group).
-Meta Knight (who was cool adding more representation to the Kirby universe,but hated by others given that he was apparently “broken” in the game looked at as an undefeated monster which I disagree with,was he good? Yes,but broken no a lot of other characters from fighting games, especially at the time and before/afterwards were much worse than him. I’d take brawl Meta Knight over someone like Vergil and Dark Phoenix from Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3,Marduk from Tekken Tag 2,Kung Lao from Mortal Kombat X,Injustice 1 Scorpion,and hell even some characters from smash itself like Smash 4 Bayonetta).
-King Dedede (who like Meta Knight added representation to the Kirby universe being a good heavy type character and I enjoyed in Subspace he was preparing knowing of the upcoming battle).
-Wolf (Despite being another Star Fox character,was essentially for the most part a waste given that he lacks distinction compared to Fox and Falco. Plus like Toon Link And Jigglypuff who almost didn’t make it in, had no role in Subspace whatsoever unfortunately).
-Lucario (Being the replacement for Mewtwo and despite me enjoying his small team up with meta knight and snake in Subspace,never really found him appealing finding Mewtwo better despite me preferring Gen 4 over Gen 1 to a large margin).
-Wario (Another addition from the Mario universe who was welcomed and its nice that he has his traditional look as an alternate. Also being a good foil for our heroes).
-Lucas (Being another Mother rep,but disappointing given that he is just a tweaked Ness like Captain Falcon and Ganondorf which sucks because I love Mother 3 being in my top 10 games of all time and in the game is NOTHING like Ness,the only psi move he learns is love. But enjoyed him in subspace and his arc like tails in sonic adventure 1 of growing confidence becoming stronger).
-Pokemon Trainer (who was very unique and welcomed addition and I wish we got more Pokemon Trainers from a Gen besides 1 which I believe is very over-saturated by Nintendo and GameFreak).
-Toon Link (who I MUCH preferred over Young Link,but he still was essentially just main link at the end of the day).
-R.O.B (the robotic operating buddy who was another interesting pick and his reveal in Subspace in the bomb factory after being another foil for the heroes was astounding).
-Olimar (who has a good moveset and gimmick with the Pikmin despite me not being a huge fan of his series originating from).
-Sonic (who when revealed was very excited about being a longtime fan,but got turned off by his moveset which I find nothing but wasted potential of plus being disappointed that he had no involvement in Subspace until the very end compared to Snake). But hey like a New Grounds or YouTube sprite animation see him face off against the once rival Mario.
-Ike (who I find a better replacement for Roy and he’s much different from Marth being more heavy).
-Snake (while pretty annoying to deal with and in Ultimate,was another hype newcomer like Sonic and ushered in many good memes).
And while technically not a new character
-Zero Suit Samus (a bit odd considering we already technically have Samus in the series since 64,but a good idea and I liked how Zero Suit/Samus final smashes worked and her team up with Pikachu in subspace was cute).
4-The Content This Game Offers
The content by itself is amazing, and the best overall content we’ve ever gotten in a Smash Bros. game and (some of these aren’t even in Ultimate). Mostly everything you want is here expect good online which was terrible in Brawl, but I’m not going to give it too much flack given that it was the first Super Smash Bros. game to implement it. The games after Super Smash Bros. Brawl greatly improved online matchamking, which did make quite a difference, however what brawl offered was:
-All star mode
-The Stadium (which consists of Home Run Contest,Break The Targets,Multi-man Brawl,and Boss Rush).
Plus it offered the Vault, where you can look at trophies, stickers, and even listen to music!
With music, Brawl was absolutely amazing, having hands down the best music in a Super Smash Bros. game in terms of originality. The iconic opening by the beloved composer Nobuo Uematsu known for his involvement in the Final Fantasy series (before he left alongside the creator) I found to be so much better than Ultimate’s opening theme “Lifelight”. One of the big ones that I loved was Coin Launcher (which I enjoyed so much better than trophy rush and its amazing piece of sound). I’ll agree that the timed Demos for classic games was a bummer and Nintendo 100% wanted you to support the virtual console making its inclusion in Brawl pointless. BUT PERHAPS the biggest reason I loved this game constantly cherishing and replaying it whenever I can IS THE SPECTACULAR ADVENTURE MODE!
5-THE ICONIC SUBSPACE EMISSARY!
IT WAS THE INFINITY WAR/ENDGAME BEFORE INFINITY WAR/ENDGAME! (Look I’m a longtime Marvel Comics fan reading the many good runs, watching the quality animated series and shows, playing the games etc) However the statement of “Infinity War is the most ambitious crossover in history” is simply nothing but a complete utter joke. Subspace was arguably more ambitious as a crossover among many other stuff like the Kingdom Hearts series (initially being a mix of Disney and Final Fantasy) and even Marvel vs Capcom. When most bring up “good story modes in fighting games”, they usually point to Mortal Kombat 9(Which though I love as a reboot also coming from a longtime Mortal Kombat fan and it being my favorite fighting game series next to Marvel vs Capcom and Tekken). It’s so over credited and Subspace blows Mortal Kombat’s 9 story out of the water not even matching on par with its wavelength.
What makes the Subspace Emissary so fantastic and groundbreaking is that we finally see our beloved Nintendo characters go up against huge scale threats, and it was truly an epic clash between good and evil. Some people do have problems with the Subspace Emissary itself given the bland non recognizable locations, platforming sections, some characters(as I said with Sonic) not getting enough screen time, and the near climax with the great maze. However it was the first Smash game to have a full blown story mode and obviously it wasn’t going to be flat out perfect. The bland locations I’ll agree with, but the platforming itself I was fine with the game expanding upon the platforming sections in Melee. It was effective in certain sequences like Lucas running away from Porky before being saved by Ness, and escaping from the bomb factory which led into the Metal Ridley boss fight. I will admit that the great maze itself starting off was bad, but once the Bowser icons show up on the menu you know what to do. If anything, the great maze as an idea was fine, it was just finding and remembering the purple door to fight the final boss of Tabuu (who was a great original villain).
The cut scenes are something I will go back to play Subspace for to this very day even after replaying. There are so many cool, funny, and tense cut scenes in the game and it’s sad to see that we’re probably never going to get another story mode like Subspace in a future smash game. The sense of them and crossover are to be left in promotions for the game (especially if Sakurai is still in charge). No doubt I appreciate Sakurai and acknowledge what he’s done, but (as a fan of him and the smash bros series) him stating that they refuse to do another mode like Subspace due to “the cut scenes being shown online” is just downright questionable of him, as it makes no sense whatsoever alongside him stating World of Light “is more focused on fun rather than story” when it isn’t even FUN at all! Many people enjoyed Subspace and would want something like that again. In our current age of the internet and stuff being leaked out (heck games get leaked days before release), it’s something you cannot change.
It’s one of the things that made the World of Light so disappointing (when before I was excited for it after Smash 4 having no such mode) and lacking not having ANY cut scenes and seeing the characters actually interact and team up. Briefly comparing the two
in the case of Subspace it really did feel like a journey, while in the World of Light there really isn’t a journey, but constant bland repetition of fighting CPU’s. It was incredible to see and gaze upon different characters work together and go their separate ways to the same goal with certain groups even combining their strengths along the way. In the World of Light, there is no such thing. While wonky, the fightable enemies were still different and still required skill to defeat, so you couldn’t just hold smash attack as Ganondorf or Donkey Kong like in World of Light. Also in Subspace, you can really see the chemistry between characters, like who would’ve thought Lucas and Pokemon trainer would make such a lovable team?
(Or the duo of Samus and Pikachu as mentioned).
It was a story of all your favorite Nintendo characters teaming up, which is something we haven’t seen since. To the people who thought World of Light was “good” and possibly better than Subspace, I’d like to simply ask: What would appeal more to a child? Subspace or World of Light? I don’t want to beat a dead horse for any longer stating my appreciation for Subspace any longer while stating why World of Light was a disappointment.
6-To conclude this entire piece
Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the best Smash Bros. game released to the public, mainly for it actually having a sense of crossover more than any prior and future game alongside providing good content overall for the longer duration overtime. Does it have problems? Yes of course, most games do have their fair share of them. On a sole competitive alone aspect was it lacking compared to Melee and even future games like Smash 4 and Ultimate? Yes.
However those minor things still don’t change the fact that the overall package was simply beautiful, oozing with so much soul and heart.