E3 2014: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS

June 11, 2014

Super Smash Bros. had rather modest beginnings on the Nintendo 64 way back in 1999, but has grown to be one of the flagship titles for Nintendo. So big has the series grown, the latest entry will be available on both Wii U and 3DS. And the excitement for it is quite noticeable on the show floor at E3 – it is THE title to see at the Nintendo booth this year. And after the release of Brawl way back in 2008, the latest title will finally be shipping by the end of this year.

Taking a look at the Wii U version first, all three Rocket Chainsaw attendees were pitted against one another, and I was able to take the honour – probably because Adam picked the Wii Fit Trainer. The Wii U version was noticeably magnificent in its style, vibe and presentation. Tiny details have been made even sharper with the transition in to HD, and the sound track proves to be the perfect backdrop to the action. The main level that we played was from Pilotwings – and this definitely took the battle to a new level. Iconic Nintendo characters fighting across the skies felt like it could never grow old.

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What was also noticeable about the Wii U version was that it had better and more responsive controls than its predecessor. It seems that playing with both the game pad and a GameCube controller (provided for this demonstration) are better options than playing with a Wii Remote. The Nintendo representatives remained coy though, about whether the GameCube add-on would be made compatible for other games. Even though Pacman and Lady Palutena have been announced as new characters through the conference so far, the roster still feels like it could have had a few more characters up its sleeve. Wouldn’t it be great if the WHOLE roster was made available for the game?

The 3DS version was pretty impressive as well. While the controls were not quite as sharp as they were on the Wii U, the core gameplay remained entirely intact. Everything that you could do on the Wii U, you can do on the 3DS, though the main difference was that the 3DS version came across with a ‘flatter’ perspective that would have been more suitable for the system’s capabilities.

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There was a new mode called ‘Smash Run’, where the player would choose a character and play for 5 minutes in a level filled with random Nintendo enemies. For example, there were goombas mixed with Bullet Bills, Metroid and Sonic enemies. Defeating these enemies would yield one of six different stat boosters, and your goal was to boost your stats as high as possible in the 5 minutes. At the end, you could either face off against CPU or human opponents – the former of which had randomly generated stats, or the latter that were doing their own upgrades. It should make for an interesting multiplayer dynamic.

One issue that came up with the 3DS version was the fact that when the action zoomed out even a little bit, it was difficult to follow what was happening on screen. Otherwise, aside from the need to adjust to the feel of the 3DS controls, the handheld version is feeling just as robust as the full console version.

Everyone who wants to play Super Smash Bros. either for the Nintendo 3DS or the Wii U (or both) already knows they want to play it. And not just for a lack of other releases. From what we’ve seen at E3, the core dynamics are just as fun and the new attention to details are compelling. Thankfully, the battle will recommence by the end of the year, despite the slight delay for the 3DS version.