Play
Please use a flash video capable browser to watch videos.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

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

857 comments
bmidget
bmidget

I like this review, though I think a couple important points are left out:


- Online lag is no frikkin' different than any other fighter. Not sure why we should throw on the hate when it's the equivelent to best-in-class modern fighter online games. The thing is, this game works peer-to-peer for its networking. The server matches you up, but in order to get the most out of the connection, it's literally each console talking directly to each other. The speed problem — like every other fighter — is the user's connection. There's literally no way around it except perhaps grading each user's connection and using that grade as part of the matchup algorithm.


- I'm a developer and I can't even imagine what kind of project it is to put together a game like this. 49 fighters, folks, and a game that works for competetive and casual alike. It's nothing short of genius, and if you think it's no big deal, think again. A game like this will continue to offer new strategy ideas and hard-core competetive play for years. Any development house would kill for the chance to make a game with so much polish and foresight and careful execution rather than just being told to release the next game one year from now no matter what.

thecman25
thecman25

Brilliantly-tuned mechanics create one of the best fighting game experiences in years. Mortal kombat says otherwise 

YuJoo
YuJoo

Why did Sonic have to be such a crappy game!? This year would have been flawless for Nintendo.

nikon133
nikon133

Looks fun to play with couple of mates all sharing one sofa... but from what I can see in this video review, it doesn't seem to be same type of fighting game as Tekken, Soul Blade and such. It is very fast-paced, small characters flying around the screen, everything is uber-fast and I cannot get a grip how many different primary attacks and combos are available for each character... I admit I haven't played it, my opinion is based on video.

I'm not saying game is not good, just it is different game category all together. It seems to be different beyond comparison, really.

ParanoidPaal
ParanoidPaal

Really disappointed that the online is bad yet again, although I can't say I'm surprised.

Brawl was a lagfest online, sad to hear Sm4sh is the same (or something along those lines). And those frame drops were insane...the hell, Nintendo? I hope they'll patch this, but I'm not really holding my breath.


I wonder if this game would have gotten a 10/10 if the online part was great, though.


Excited to play this once I finish my exams :D

donutking7
donutking7

I just can't understand the appeal for a Wii U. Sure I would turn it on once, have a relatively fun night with friends, and that is it, we wouldn't turn it on ever again. The games along with the console just seem ridiculous to me. Still have nice memories with Super Nintendo though, but in my opinion that's where all those experiences belong, in the past.

psuedospike
psuedospike

Clearly the best Smash game to date; I've been having a ton of fun with this!


PROTIP: Online 2v2 with you and your amiibo versus a friend and their amiibo is simply awesome!

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.

judaspete
judaspete

@Tremblay343 I don't get why people don't consider Smash a fighting game.  It's about characters fighting, isn't it?  If you want to be specific, it's an "arena fighting game".  Maybe people get confused because there just aren't many of those anymore.  God I miss Power Stone.

Sanligo
Sanligo

@nikon133 It is a Smash Bros game. I don't know what else you would be expecting. Also each character controls the same.

judaspete
judaspete

@ParanoidPaal There really isn't much they can do.  The speed at which the game moves is too much for our current fiber optic infrastructure.  Maybe when the internet communication starts using subspace :)

gameroutlawzz
gameroutlawzz

@ParanoidPaal Do you even own the game? Theres no real issues with online, only the fact that you will sometimes get matched up against people with terrible internets and have a bad match cause of that, yet it has happened to me once since release and Ive been playing 1v1/2v2 for glory matches alot.

ParanoidPaal
ParanoidPaal

@donutking7 True, there aren't too many amazing titles, although if you're still into Nintendo games you might want to pick up a Wii U sometime next year. Looks like there will be loads of great titles coming (Zelda, Star Fox, Xenoblade and moar).


There's also the e-shop that has a pretty good NES and SNES library if you want to relieve some of those old memories.


But right now, the console isn't that great. Mario Kart 8, Smash and Bayonetta are all great, though. I hear Pikmin 3 is a blast as well.


But ultimately, if Nintendo games don't really do anything for you any more, the Wii U is not worth buying.

console_war_vet
console_war_vet

@donutking7  I just can't understand the appeal for a PC. Sure I would turn it on every day, load up my hard drive with dirt-cheap Steam games, but I wouldn't ever play them. The variety of games along with the PC just seem too vast to me.

metallinatus
metallinatus

I just can't understand the appeal for a PS4. Sure I would turn it on once, have a relatively fun night alone, and that is it, I wouldn't turn it on ever again. The games along with the console just seem ridiculous to me.

console_war_vet
console_war_vet

@donutking7  I have similar feelings. It's hard to devote money and living space to a system that would almost exclusively be used in party situations.

Stillwind04
Stillwind04

@donutking7  "Sure I would turn it on once, have a relatively fun night with friends, and that is it"

I don't see what the issue is...? Why wouldn't you want to recreate this? You only like to have fun with friends once?

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

nikon133
nikon133

@Sanligo @nikon133 I think I didn't express myself coherently. I was basically saying that games like this one, also PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, should have their own category. For me, they don't fit in typical fighting game definition.

So... something else. Brawler/Competitive Brawler?

ParanoidPaal
ParanoidPaal

@gameroutlawzz No, I live in Europe, so it isn't out yet. 

That's reassuring to hear, though! I just remember having pretty shoddy exøeriences while playing Brawl. My Internet connection is quite solid so as long as the matchmaking doesn't go ahead and connect me to people with potato connections it'll probably be fine. 


Reading and watching the review makes me a bit worried still. 

I'm crossing my fingers that my experience will be similar to yours! 

2611mp
2611mp

I just can't understand the appeal of video games. Sure I'd play them many times and have lots of fun doing so but that's it.

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.

Sanligo
Sanligo

@nikon133 @Sanligo That makes sense. They add platforming elements that aren't seen in traditional fighting games. There's so few games like that that I don't think they could make it a separate genre, because it would consist of Smash Bros and those 2 games that are direct ripoffs of Smash (PlayStation All-Stars and TMNT)

judaspete
judaspete

@nikon133 @Sanligo "Arena fighting game".   This used to be a popular genre.  Smash is all that's really left.

2611mp
2611mp

I just can't understand the appeal of memes. Sure they spread around the internet and catch on then get used by millions of people but that's it. The internet along with memes just seems too peculiar to me.

noah364
noah364

@g_vakarian @DanCStarkey Wait wait wait. You are DEFENSIVE and therefore find my point VALID.


Anyone else see some sort of logical flaw in this? 

bdiddytampa
bdiddytampa

@g_vakarian really? You did nothing BUT bash Gamespot AND it's reviewers, if he can't jump on in defense then you truly are dishing out a load of t r o l l s h i t

bmidget
bmidget

@g_vakarian @Hells_rebelion CoD and AC are yearly iterations, literally the same game with a few minor differences and always a minor graphical upgrade.


Consider the difference between Mario Sunshine and Mario Galaxy, then Mario 3D World. They all have Mario in the title, but they are vastly different from each other.


CoD, AC aren't even in the same ballpark as Nintendo's flagship franchises. They are more akin to Mario Party, which generally receives the same yearly iterative releases.

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.

Aaronp2k
Aaronp2k

@nikon133 @metallinatus @console_war_vet @donutking7  i just can't understand the appeal of sex. sure when the mrs opens her legs my rodney gets hard but it only lasts 20 mins then i gotta wait an hour till i can go again. rather just play video games and be entertained and excited all day. who needs a mrs when you can fall in love with killing things while not harming anything real.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U More Info

Follow
  • First Released
    • Wii U
    Duke it out with your favorite Nintendo characters in Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo Wii U.
    8.9
    Average User RatingOut of 49 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
    Developed by:
    Bandai Namco Games
    Published by:
    Nintendo
    Genres:
    3D, Action, Fighting
    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