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E3 2014 | “Smash Bros.” Bringing The Battles Back Home, On The Go

By
Posted on June 30, 2014 AT 12:20pm

It’s no secret that Super Smash Bros. was the biggest focus in the Nintendo booth at E3. From the plethora of demo booths and the giant screen projecting live fights to the massively popular tournament held on day one of the expo it was clear that the confidence level of the Big N was high for the fighter. With it coming out on both the Wii U and the 3DS the latest Super Smash Bros. is ready to take the classic Nintendo characters into the battle stage in our living rooms and on the go. Going hands-on with both versions I was able to see some of the strong points, as well as a couple flaws, that may be found in the final version of each incarnation.

While waiting in line to play the Wii U version a couple of us were fortunate enough to be given the chance to play with the 3DS one to pass the time. During my play-through on Nintendo’s handheld I tried out the Smash Run with Mega Man. Here you are given five minutes to explore a massive playing field, where you collect power-ups and defeat various enemies. These boosts range from improving weapon techniques, groundwork, and powering up your attacks. Once those five minutes have run out you and the other three players will then be put into battle, where the boosts you earn will help you hopefully earn a victory in the fight.

As I ran through the area I was somewhat confused at the size of the playing field, worried that stepping off of a cliff would lead towards an untimely death. Fortunately that wasn’t the case, as whenever I fell it just lead me to another area. Defeating random enemies came pretty easy, although grabbing objects to use for the final battle was a little bit frustrating, especially the ones that were a bit too far to reach. After five minutes had passed it was time to run into the real fight.

It was playing Super Smash Bros. on the 3DS where I discovered a bit of a flaw in the game’s design, specifically for the handheld aspect. While the battle was going on I had some issue with things being too small to see on-screen, and as such it made it hard to pay attention to everything happening on the battle field. Even though it was exciting to see these characters battle it out the fact that I couldn’t track my character better took a bit out of the experience for me.

When it came to the Wii U version, however, the full-on battle experience was beautiful from start-to-finish. Here I tested the game out with Little Mac, and was given a Gamecube controller to play it out. As I was playing with the trademark Punch-Out!! character the fact that we were sent to the boxing ring in our first round gave me a huge smile. After a couple moments in my hands the techniques came to me quite naturally. It’s apparent why they’re making Super Smash Bros. compatible with the Gamecube controller: it’s the best way to play it.

In no time at all I was punching Pikachu, Zelda, and Mega Man across the screen, even unleashing my Final Smash on my opponents to win the round. However, since that was a practice round the special edition t-shirt was still far from my grasp. We were then brought to the Star Fox level, where I kept losing my footing. I still held my own, but sadly that victory was not to be mine. Even though I lost, I still had a blast finally playing it.

Super Smash Bros. looks great on both the Wii U and the 3DS. The attention to detail is shown in the Wii U, with the worlds and characters never looking better. One key moment where the detail was jaw-dropping came when I uppercutted Pikachu into the air, knocking him out of the level. Before he regenerated into the level the Pokémon smashed face-first into the TV, his face smooshing on the screen in agonizing pain. It got a huge laugh out of me, as I did not expect to see such a sight. The 3DS version, while small, is practically on-par with the Wii version, and although it was still difficult to fully enjoy the game on such a small screen I have a feeling that its aspect ratio is something I’ll surely get used to in the long run.

One thing I am curious about is how the Amiibo figurines will coincide with the games. I know that you’ll be able to transfer your character’s data to the figurine to use at a friend’s place, but will the option to play your powered-up characters back and forth from the Wii U to the 3DS versions be on the table. And how will the Amiibo be greeted in the competitive realms like EVO? Will they allow players to bring their own stats to the game, or will they be banned on the tournament floor? This and more will be revealed in the coming months, but for now all signs point to two more successful additions to the Super Smash Bros. series.

Super Smash Bros. is due on the 3DS on October 3, with the Wii U version following during the holiday season.

Evan Bourgault is an accomplished music, anime, and video game critic. His passion for discovering new bands, developers, and Japanese pop culture began in his college radio days and continues on today. Evan joined the ElectricSistaHood team in 2008, where he is a contributing editor and host of one of the network's weekly podcasts. Follow Evan on Twitter at twitter.com/King_Baby_Duck


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