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Review

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed:
  • WIIU
Jeremy Jayne on Google+

Smashtastic.

In some respects, Smash for Wii U is the same game released on the 3DS two months ago: it has the same characters, same premise, and same reverence for gaming history. The fundamental difference is in the depth of the experience. The Wii U Smash has tighter controls, better action, more options for single- and multiplayer, more remixes of classic Nintendo songs, more stages, more customization, stage builders--the list goes on. The Wii U version is the definitive Smash Bros. experience.

At its most basic level, Smash Bros. is what you’d get if you built a game on the premise of settling the classic question, “I wonder who’d win in a fight: Mario or Link?” You and your opponents choose whichever character you like from Nintendo’s staggering roster of 49 fighters and enter the fray. Damage works in a unique and slightly obtuse way. In stark contrast with most fighting games, you don’t have a limited pool of health that depletes as you take damage. Instead, your health counts upwards, and the more hits you take, the further you're sent flying when hit again. The goal of any given match is to knock your opponents off the stage and prevent them from safely returning.

This series presents a challenge unique to the Smash Bros. series: recovery. If you are simply knocked from a platform or fall off by accident, it’s usually easy enough to make it back. Every character has at least two jump moves, and almost all of them have an additional emergency technique for covering large distances. Mindlessly knocking around opponents rarely clinches you a victory. Depending upon how well your opponent can predict your movements, it’s entirely possible and often advised to trick adversaries into falling off the stage for an easy knockout. The amazing depth and variety of this system is at the heart of Smash, and its marriage of the ridiculous and the serious, and the casual and the competitive, is what sets it apart from other adversarial games.

The disparity between the portable and console versions of the game is both immediately apparent and stunning, and making the jump to the Wii U version is freeing. On the pint-sized 3DS, some characters are clearly more comfortable to control than others; given the Wii U’s option to use seven different kinds of controllers, most Smash enthusiasts can immediately and competently play as just about anyone. If you struggled to use Mega Man to his fullest potential on the 3DS, you will enjoy the ease with which you can guide him now. Everyone from Samus to Wii Fit Trainer, Villager to Mario, responds with impressive ease.

Each time you select someone with whom you’re unfamiliar, it’s like being given a brand-new toolbox. You won’t know how to use every move immediately, but they all have a purpose. Your role is to learn when and where to use each skill. As with competitive martial arts, much of the match relies on carefully watching your opponent, maintaining your own balance, and being constantly ready to punish a mistake. At every step in the process, you have some degree of control.

That focus on fine control dovetails perfectly with many of Smash Bros.' new mechanics. Ledge guarding, a staple in Smash 64, Melee, and Brawl, has been removed. This pushes a lot of the combat off the stage, requiring stronger aerial play. While most moves also knock foes farther than they used to, each character generally only has two or three solid "killing moves." That means that knockouts require substantially more skill to execute cleanly, which in turn, translates into a distinct cut between high-level and low-level players. These changes benefit everyone. Casual players are able to survive much longer than they may be used to, making sure they aren’t left out of the game entirely. Professional-level brawlers still have the skill set necessary to dominate the less experienced, but cheap kills amongst one another are less common. This tight balance helps satisfy every kind of fan, without cheapening the experience for any one group. This philosophy defines Smash Bros. for Wii U.

Everyone from Samus to Wii Fit Trainer, Villager to Mario, responds with impressive ease.

Keeping a competitive game open for the inexperienced, but giving advanced folks the opportunity to spread their wings, is a challenge that requires an enormous number of options and plenty of ways to train and refine skill sets. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is packed with dozens of challenges, training modes and minigames. These modes aren’t pointless additions. Event matches and challenges have you trying new approaches with characters you aren’t used to--often to teach you something you may have never learned otherwise. The Homerun Contest, for example, has you building up damage over ten seconds before knocking it as far as you possibly can. While it seems a bit odd, it actually helps you build a better understanding of how characters react to receiving damage, and how different techniques affect the trajectory at which you can launch enemies. There several specific distance goals, like R.O.B. having to hit the sandbag between 1600 and 1656 feet. To complete the challenge properly, you must develop a deep understanding of which attacks knock the bag too far away to continue your combo.

Event matches are less structured, but they often pit you against unusual or overwhelming odds and force you to adapt in order to progress. In one of the toughest events, you play as Falco and prevent a stream of Mr. Game and Watches from touching down even once on the stage. While you can approach the goal in a few different ways, you quickly discover that aerial attacks are one of Falco’s best choices, as they allowed you to deal with incoming foes more quickly with less downtime between attacks. There are hundreds of these types of skill tests, and they are designed to help you familiarize yourself with as many characters as you’re willing to learn. Even if you don’t end up ever using Falco, the events still give you enough experience with the game’s 49 characters that you know what your foes are capable of, and can then modify your approach accordingly.

If you have an Amiibo, then you’ve got yet another option to practice. Amiibo work like customizable AI opponents: you can change out numerous attacks, manipulate their names and appearance, and "feed" them equipment to make them stronger. For the most part, they grow by battling other people or Amiibo, and allegedly learn and adapt to better handle other people’s playstyles. I’m far from the best Smash player out there, but I’m better than most, and I struggled to deal with max-level Amiibo figures. When I switched from my typically aggressive style to a more defensive one, the Amiibo would respond either by baiting me to attack or by spamming ranged attacks to try and create an opening so that they could punish me. Amiibos aren’t unbeatable, but their attacks do a lot more damage than yours, and a good chunk of their difficulty seems to come from that. If you don’t have friends around and tire of the single-player options, an Amiibo is a great addition for all but the most talented Smash players, even if they are a little pricey.

For most players, the goal of this single-player training is to test your skills against friends, and that’s where Smash Bros. for Wii U excels. Eight-player matches are phenomenal. Turning item drops up to high and cramming eight players into a relatively small space results in the kind of unbridled lunacy I’ve come to love from Smash Bros. If you prefer the action to be a bit more tame, you can still play standard matches with four combatants, and that’s as great as it’s always been. There are quite a few new stages in which to slug it out, and more than enough to provide a good variety for just about anyone. The most interesting stages, of course, are those that change dramatically over the course of a match. They force players to keep up with the shift, and as long as you’re not looking for serious competition, it’s always hilarious to watch unwitting folks fall off the stage because they weren’t expecting the bottom of the level to suddenly drop away.

All of these stages are wonderfully rendered and keep multiplayer matches from losing their luster even after countless hours.

In that vein, Yoshi’s Wooly World, Kalos Pokemon League, and Mushroom Kingdom U are standouts. They all have new stage hazards like flaming pillars, or a pool that makes your fighter metallic, or a guy that tries to stuff you in a sack and jump off the level, resulting in an instant death. All of these stages are wonderfully rendered and keep multiplayer matches from losing their luster even after countless hours, though you can always use the Wii U gamepad to create your own levels if you seek even more diversity. There are too many restrictions on size and too few tools available, but drawing ridiculous levels with the touchpad more than makes up for the limitations. Disappointingly, you can’t conduct eight-player matches on custom stages, which is a missed opportunity for even crazier play.

Online multiplayer is an unfortunate stain on an otherwise stellar game. Lag in online Smash Bros. matches is hugely variable. Some online games chug along at a mere five frames or fewer per second or less, rendering the game completely unplayable. Others are almost as smooth as if you were playing locally. Playing with friends with solid Internet connections may help, but even so, there’s no knowing how any given match might perform. Online play is extremely hit-or-miss, with the misses being absolutely maddening.

Poor internet functionality is, thankfully, a blight on an otherwise incredible game. Between the Masterpiece Collections, which are short demos of the classic games that inspired Smash Bros., the many fighters and stages, the deep character customization for fine-tuning your fighters to suit your play style, and the extensive screenshot editing tools, there’s just so much to do. With the Wii U release, Smash Bros. has fully realized its goals. There’s something here for nearly everyone--from young to old, from novice to expert--presented almost without compromise. Super Smash Bros. Wii U invites everyone to join in its undiluted, joyous celebration of the broad community that Nintendo has built over the past forty years.

The Good
Tons of single-player modes that allow you to play and challenge yourself in new ways
Brilliantly-tuned mechanics create one of the best fighting game experiences in years
Eight-player matches are the right kind of chaotic
Great Amiibo integration
The Bad
Spotty online performance
9
Superb
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Dan Starkey can’t remember a time when he wasn’t playing Smash Bros. on a semi-regular basis. He met his best friend through Smash, he’s got entire groups of friends that get together just to chat and play Smash Bros. He feels lucky to have spent around 90 hours so far with a game this superb, holding a Smash party, playing against the CPU, and competing online when he was lucky enough to enter a smooth match.

Discussion

792 comments
leikeylosh
leikeylosh

Nope. Still not getting a Wii U.

RoachRush
RoachRush

People judging Nintendo titles as something only kids would play are most likely not grown ups themselves.

"When I was ten, I would read fairy tales in secret for fear of being ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty, I read them openly. When I became a man, I put away all childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." -C.S. Lewis

You can substitute Nintendo games for fairy tales.

say0cheese
say0cheese

Finally time to buy that wii u. and cyber monday right around the corner heh

helldragonzer
helldragonzer

OMG stop sucking up to Nintendo GS, we get it you love the console.

clumpeh
clumpeh

Watch Dogs, Destiny, Dark souls II, no matter how dissapointing the year turns out in terms of gaming, you can count on nintendo to deliver. Far Cry 4 and Dragon Age are great meals, but the favourite dish has finally arrived. Thanks for saving my year gaming-wise, Nintendo :D. This game is such a satisfying blast!

g_vakarian
g_vakarian

Nintendo games always seem to get overrated too many oldschool gaming fanboys working on these sites. Nintendo's Wii is a joke and Wii U a slightly upgraded joke. Gamespot needs to hire younger reviewers who are more in touch with current gaming.

grin89
grin89

Why'd they get rid of ledge guarding

chaos-commander
chaos-commander

How just how this is like the 5th copy and paste smash bros makes no sense only this time there's amiibos cough* cough* micro-transactions how is this ok.

bbq_R0ADK1LL
bbq_R0ADK1LL

I just do not understand.

Maybe it's the childlike cartoonish character models, maybe it's the fact that everything is so small & fast I can't see what's going on on the screen. Maybe I was born to old for this. I have a friend who's a Nintendo fan & I'm sure I'll jump in for a game to give it a go but I've tried Smash Bros or some other clone in the past & it's really not my thing.

I get that other people like stuff that I don't. I'm OK with that. I still don't get what makes this a 9. I don't like to get hung up on numerical scores but there needs to be some justification for a high score like that. How is the balancing? Is there a good range of characters? Does poor online multiplayer really not matter that much?

VegasDawg
VegasDawg

Off topic: Quick quesition, Resident Evil 4 is on sale for 6.50$, I already played it on game cube any reason to buy it on 360? Price is not big deal but my HDD is almost full and I already have 50 games in back log, BUT RE4? It's a masterpiece. 

ConanTheStoner
ConanTheStoner

This guy must have gotten his internet connection through Taco Bell.


Seriously, my internet sucks and the online play is nearly flawless on my end.  This is also what I hear from others.. and wouldn't you know, most other reviews also praise the online stability.


I understand a review should be the guys honest opinion based on his experience, but it seems the issues were on his end rather than a screw up on Nintendos part.  Allowing something as variable as lag to factor into your review, especially when you're the odd man out, seems a bit strange.

ecurl143
ecurl143

Great timing by Nintendo. Two really high scoring games in a month and just before the Xmas break!

I dunno if Nintendo have fired there last salvo but sales should do well this quarter I reckon.

The Wi-U is not something that interests me personally. There's just too much choice and awesome games on the other next gen consoles to pull me away.


Romeric87
Romeric87

An enjoyable read and what seems like a very fair review. Hmm... Should I buy an updated graphics card or a Wii U? It's getting tough not owning one! 

JoSilver
JoSilver

@g_vakarian I DON'T AGREE WITH THE OPINONS OF THE PEOPLE ON THIS WEBSITE, IF ONLY THEY HAD THE SAME OPINON AS ME!

DanCStarkey
DanCStarkey

@g_vakarian Dude... I'm in my early 20s my PC and my Xbox One are the systems I play the most often. What do you want, me to change my opinion so that it matches yours?

captaincrispy
captaincrispy

@g_vakarian cheesy wheezy, is the Wii U for just for kids or not now? Tr0ll one way and then the other when needs suit.. I would be surprised to hear, mr 'more in touch with current gaming' that you have even played on a WiiU for any length of time...

Hells_rebelion
Hells_rebelion

@g_vakarian They're not a joke at all, you're just spoiled.  Nintendo has a place in gaming and it always will, these games aren't only nostalgia driven either.  They actually put time into every little detail to make it an extremely polished game and something fun for everyone.   I do believe they could work on their friend connectivity and online presence though.

PosiTVEMinD355
PosiTVEMinD355

@g_vakarian  Dude, you need to stop.  Half the comments below are yours.  Being b,utthurt wont change a thing

Poodger
Poodger

@grin89 It was a low skill technique with a high success rate. The game, competitively speaking, is better without it.

Hells_rebelion
Hells_rebelion

@chaos-commander Amiibos aren't just for SSB either... I don't smell what you're smellin my friend.  Also who cares?  It's still amazing.

PosiTVEMinD355
PosiTVEMinD355

@chaos-commander  How the hell are amiibos microtransactions?  Last time I checked, they aren't even necessary to play the game

Poodger
Poodger

@bbq_R0ADK1LL The online isn't poor. That was a miscalcualtion on the review's part. The game is pretty well balanced, and should have a pretty good competitive scene. Born too old? What does that even mean? In my experience, usually the people most afraid of colorful cartoony games are the teenagers of the world. Adults don't care.

aricav96
aricav96

@bbq_R0ADK1LL The problem with the reviews, and this is merely an opinion of mine based on the handful that I've read, is that their numerical score is mostly based on what they represent to their franchise in itself. So, for example, this Smash is a step forward (or so it has been said, I haven't played it) for the franchise, and thus deserves a good score. 

I'm not really into Smash but I do realize that friends of mine who are really seem to be enjoying the new experience. How justifiable is that? Well, I guess it's a bit biased, but then again, it's not like the numerical scores are given for a specific contest and whatnot. The only problem surfaces when people totally new to any given game see a favorable (or unfavorable) score and are drawn towards it (or driven away) only to find it's not what they expected. That much, unfortunately, is difficult to solve, to say the least..

FredWallace18
FredWallace18

@bbq_R0ADK1LL I think that lots of people get hung up on games needing to be a "deep" experience, with thick plot, artistic visuals, and a lengthy campaign (I'm not saying you are). This game is a 9 because it is really, really fun. That's what games are mostly for, ultimately.


Other fighting games may lose points in this regard because of poor balancing, lack of characters, lack of stages, lack of modes, or lack of replay-ability. Smash has none of these issues.


Poor online is not a huge issue in Smash. While people play Call of Duty as a serious level-gaining machismo experience, people play Smash as a party game. It's great to have friends over and get to yell at them because Donkey Kong jumped off the edge holding Kirby. This would lose it's glamour online.


It might not be your thing ultimately. I couldn't get into Mass Effect but I recognize it's merit and high reviews. This might not be yours, but it deserves that 9.

gameroutlawzz
gameroutlawzz

@VegasDawg Not really since RE4 is the game that destroyed the franchise, the 360 version has nothing new and the fact they call it HD version is a joke since it looks more dated than REmake and RE:0 on game cube.

gameroutlawzz
gameroutlawzz

@ConanTheStoner I play 2v2s for glory matches when my friend comes over afte rhis work shift at 11pm otherwise Ive been playing 1v1s for hours since friday and I havent had a single game lag on me so yeah,whoever that reviewer is it seems like he waited  a week long before releasing the review looking for a pointless argument who seems to be affecting much or less 15% of the playerbase to deduct a point from the rating and not give the 10 it deserves. 

wcwj26
wcwj26

@ecurl143 Hopefully the Wii U will be cheaper again by the time Zelda swings around. Maybe then would be a good time for a rethink.

ravewithdavid
ravewithdavid

@ecurl143 hopefully PS4 will turn things interesting next year with Final Fantasy Type-0 and 15, It'll be amazing, but at the moment Wii U is doing its job right for me.

Poodger
Poodger

@Romeric87 I recently just bought both. A Wii U (for this game) AND a gtx 970. Yay for adult jobs :D

meatz
meatz

@Romeric87 Which card do you currently have? That'll be the deciding factor for you, I believe. 

pseudopsiakite
pseudopsiakite

@Romeric87 
Depends on what you got currently. My card is good enough to hold out for another generation.

clumpeh
clumpeh

@gameroutlawzz I understand why you would say that. It's a very decent game. Let's agree to have different opinions; Mine is that Dark Souls II was a huge step backwards from the first Dark Soul :).

g_vakarian
g_vakarian

@JoSilver 

Well I would suggest you learn how to respect other people's opinions then.

g_vakarian
g_vakarian

@DanCStarkey 

I dont want anything from you I never even mentioned you or your review in my post although your defensive stance would suggest you in fact find my point valid, you can have your opinion just as I can have mine.

g_vakarian
g_vakarian

@The_evil_Nemesi 

He needs to be young enough to know the Wii U is for a clique made up of oldschool fanboys, soccer moms and casual gamers. These middle aged guys and hipsters doing the reviews dont know gaming, this is just a job for most of them.

g_vakarian
g_vakarian

@Hells_rebelion 

How much time is Nintendo putting into recycling the same old material? It should be extremely polished it's like the 6th time they made it. People complain about CoD or AC but they change far more with every installment then Nintendo has since the N64.

Roger01
Roger01

@gameroutlawzz @ConanTheStoner There are many, many people saying the online is horrible, people on reddit/wiiu for instance, where everyone is pumped about the game and love nintendo and have no reason to bash the game gratuitously.


The review took this much time to be released because the game has to be experienced for a long time before someone draw a conclusion, Specially when the game is full of content and things to master as this one, even if the reviewer got the game way before the launch. He would have to be really slow to take a whole week to come up with an excuse to bash the game. And I don't know what would be his motivation, either.

Romeric87
Romeric87

I've got a GTX650 at the moment. It's not the ti. Was probably going to get a GTX970. And yes, I have the Witcher 3 on preorder. Tough decision!

RoachRush
RoachRush

@g_vakarian The difference between those franchises and Nintendo's franchises is

1. Nintendo doesn't make annual releases, so people don't get franchise fatigue.
2. Because of the time gap, Nintendo actually releases a polished, finished product.
3. Nintendo also doesn't bullshit people into buying DLCs for a half-finished game.

darkfiercelink
darkfiercelink

@Romeric87 I would say get a wii u first since the witcher won't come out till Feb 24th nxt year, you can always save up till then to upgrade ur graphic card but that really depend on if you getting the wii u for other games or just sbbu 

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U More Info

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  • First Released
    • Wii U
    Duke it out with your favorite Nintendo characters in Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo Wii U.
    9.1
    Average User RatingOut of 47 User Ratings
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    Developed by:
    Bandai Namco Games
    Published by:
    Nintendo
    Genres:
    3D, Fighting, Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
    Everyone 10+
    All Platforms
    Cartoon Violence, Comic Mischief, Mild Suggestive Themes