Impressions For Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS… From a Non-Fan
Last week Nintendo let people from around the US get their hands on the new Smash game months ahead of release at Best Buy. This is not unlike what they did last year with Best Buy where they made it possible to play a smattering of games that were being shown at E3 at the time. I wanted to go to that event last year, but unfortunately I was still in Japan at the time. Thankfully, I’m now back in the USA so I decided to give the new Smash a try. Here’s what I thought about the event.
So, right off the bat, it was clear that I was in the minority. I was expecting to show up at a small-ish event with a few hardcore fans and some people who just came over to see what all the noise was about. I clearly underestimated just how popular Super Smash Bro. is. Even though I showed up to the event 3 1/2 hours late, I was still in a 1 hour line. Not only that, it was clear that I was one of the only casual Nintendo fan in the bunch.
Practically everyone had their 3DS out, either to race each other in MK7, trade Miis and SpotPasses, or just to show off the new Kirby game. Lot of people had Nintendo-theme t-shirts and phone cases. One guy even had a Legend of Zelda necklace. Everyone was discussing what their favorite character is, what they think of the new characters, their favorite game, etc. Hell, there was even a guy in my line who was able to identify which Nintendo game a piece of music was from when it appeared on stage after only a few seconds.
As for myself? Well, I showed up in plain striped button up shirt, with my 3DS at home and my phone almost dead in my pocket. Smash Bros. was always a fun party game to me and nothing more than that. I played Smash not to be good but because it was a lot of fun in a group setting. I almost didn’t even show up to the event because of an errand I had to run that took me on a 230-mile trip to Middle of Nowhere, GA and back. Suffice it to say, I was already out of it by the time I got to Best Buy. However, by the end, I was pleasantly surprised by the game. But first, the lead-up.
So, I was in line for about an hour before getting a chance to play the Wii U version of the game. At the start of the line was a big-screen TV that was showing off what was going on at the front of the line. No matter where you were, you could see the action on screen. So, it wasn’t uncommon for the line to get hype for a close finish or a Sudden Death.
One particular moment stands out where a player was playing as Mega Man. A Final Smash came out and everyone was fighting to get it. The crowd all collectively decided to cheer for the Mega Man player to get the Final Smash. When Marth ended up getting it, everyone booed. It was pretty cool to see people all rally behind a character just so they could see that awesome finisher.
There was also a lot of speculation about the game itself. Popular topics of discussion were about the character line-up, what should be in the game, what shouldn’t, why Sakurai picked this character instead of this character, etc. In particular, a lot of people were asking if the game was closer to Melee than to Brawl.
To be honest, this bugged me a little. Now, I know the hardcore had their issues with Brawl and absolutely love Melee. However, I’ve always taken issue with the fact that the new Smash game can’t get praise from the hardcore without being a Melee clone. This was my problem with Project M. But hey, that’s why I’m the casual fan, right?
Super Smash Bros. for 3DS
Near the halfway point of the line was a Best Buy employee with two 3DS XLs attached to his waist. He was letting people give Smash Run, the new 3DS-exclusive mode, a try. When I played it, I played as Toon Link, because I kinda liked playing as him in Brawl. It was fairly mindless 5 minutes affair. I liked the idea behind the game mode, i.e. an open ended level that you explore to power up your character for a final encounter with other players. However, in execution?
I just ran around the level, mashing button on random mooks to collect stat bonuses for five minutes. It was pretty boring. Even in my lulled state of being, I managed to rack up a large enough Attack stat to almost fill the bar. When time came for the fight, I dominated. Which is the exact opposite of what usually happens with Smash.
Now, my issues with that mode may have just been a poor first experience. The week AI certainly didn’t help. Given a chance to play with actual people in a more ideal setting, I’m sure I’d enjoy it a lot more. Now, on to the main event.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
By the time I was almost to the front of the line, I knew I was gonna get my ass kicked. One player claimed to be big Project M fan who regularly takes on pros. Another had a group of younger players begging to play with him. The third didn’t seem like no slouch either. This was going to be rough.
After a short run down of the controls, we were off. I picked Link, because he’s a character who I was pretty sure I knew how to play. That and I played his faster-palette swap just a few minutes before. Two people picked Kirby, while another picked Marth. The stage was Boxing Ring. After spending a minute or so getting used to the Pro Controller, I set off. I knew that I couldn’t get into any real fights, so I stuck to spamming bombs and arrows, with the occasion pogo stick on a weak opponent. I got my ass kicked, but I managed to get a few kills in.
The second match I decided to go into YOLO mode and hit random. I was… unlucky. I got Olimar, who I always hated. I didn’t even pay attention to who else was playing who on what stage. I was too busy trying to remember just how in the hell does Olimar work. In the end, I just spent the entire match trying to not get killed. I didn’t succeed in this endeavor.
Despite coming in 4th each time, I had a lot of fun. The crowd was excited, and avoiding fights is its own type of challenge. As for the game itself, it was awesome. The game looks and sounds great, the demo roster was pretty awesome, and I appreciate the many control options. When I end up buying a Wii U, I’ll probably end up buying the thing because of this event.
Was the Event a Success for Nintendo?
This event was done by Ninty for two reasons. First, they clearly wanted to dissuade any misgiving the hardcore community might have had after Brawl. The second reason was to bait out pre-orders for the game as well as maybe snag another Wii U purchase from those that were waiting for a game like this to come out before buying.
Did they succeed? Well, I like to think so. While there were still a few that said they were sticking with Melee and/or were hoping for a way to “Project M” Smash for Wii U, the majority were into the game. As for the pre-orders, they succeeded in a massive way. The Nintendo rep actually ran out of pre-order cards for the Wii U version. Meanwhile, they managed to give me another reason to buy a Wii U, so that’s a plus.
Overall, I thought the event was a massive success. I hope this is something Nintendo does more of. Their fans clearly love it and hey, getting a few pre-orders out of the deal certainly helps them out. Let’s just hope that the combo of Mario Kart 8 and Smash for Wii U can finally get people, like myself, buying Wii Us.