Super Smash Bros. is a game Nintendo releases less often than many of its other flagship franchises. The first two installments came out while I was in high school, Brawl came out after I graduated college, and now the Wii U version is being released as I’m married and in my 30s. Nintendo seems to defy the modern-day practice of annual franchise releases, and while the waiting itself is a hard game to play, the payoff is well worth it. Super Smash Bros. is a game with so much going for it. Whether you are a dedicated Nintendo fan or not, the game has a hook that reaches far and wide. It is a game that is easy to pick up for newcomers, but it also holds extreme depth for professionals to spend hours perfecting. Every version of Smash has been a stellar success, even though some have had minor faults, but Super Smash Bros. for Wii U brings together all the staples of the Smash series in one beautiful package. The controls are refined, the visuals are a dazzle, character and stage selection are both colossal, the soundtrack is outstanding, and the overall “fun-o-meter” is through the roof! But are high-def visuals and an amazing roster enough to make this the best Smash game yet, or does it just blend in with all the others?
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is quite possibly the most visually stunning game Nintendo has ever released. There have been some gorgeous games released before on the Wii U (I’m looking at you Pikmin 3), but Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is something truly special to witness. From the moment I booted up the game, I could not take my eyes away from my tube. It’s truly magical to see all these characters I have grown up loving and exploring worlds with in stunningly beautiful HD. It easily compares with other modern console releases, and it shows just how powerful the Wii U truly is. I have not had a single frame of slow-down in my entire time with the game and have had to constantly pause the game just to marvel at the character models and backgrounds.
Content-wise, you will be hard-pressed to get bored or unlock 100% of what Smash Bros. has to offer. Besides the standard four, or now up to eight-player, Smash battles, which are where I will continue to come back for the next decade, you can play Event Matches, All-Star matches, Challenges, Master Orders and Special Smashes. If you do ever get bored just battling it out, weirdo, you could build some future battlefields in the Stage Creator or arrange and take photos of all the Trophies you’ve unlocked within the Photo Studio. It’s important to note that Classic, Event, All-Star and Stadium modes are all playable in Co-op with a friend. There is no shortage of things to do while playing Smash for Wii U. Even when I am not playing the game, I use the internal music player to let the over 400-song soundtrack play while I hang out around my house.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl released in 2008 and was a great addition to the series, but the one feature of that game that was a tremendous let down was the online play — thankfully that has been rightfully fixed in the latest installment. Brawl released when Nintendo had nowhere near the online stability and framework it now does, and greatly suffered as a result. I am happy to report that online play with the Wii U version of Smash performs beautifully. It’s good to note that your gameplay experience does rely on both you and your rivals’ internet connection, so even if you have stellar internet and your rival is playing on a shared wireless network, there is a chance you might experience input lag. Overall though, I have played over 50 matches online so far with most being completely flawless. Only 2-3 matches ever had extreme slow-down, and those were with random opponents. I have played with friends all across the county who I know have a good internet connection at their home, and it hasbeen as smooth as if we were playing locally. You can also chat with your buddies using the mic on the Gamepad while you are selecting your characters/stages or viewing the results page.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U shares a good amount with the recently released version for 3DS. If you are interested in reading more about the 3DS version feel free to take a look at our impressions of that game here. However, the Wii U version is the cream of the crop and trumps the 3DS version in every way. It feels far smoother, even though they share the same controls and game build. It looks beautiful thanks to enlarging the game’s resolution from 400×240 on the 3DS to 1920×1080 on the Wii U. The soundtrack is four times larger, and the game has more stages than any Smash title before it. Both games are fantastic and I will still play Smash for 3DS with friends around town or on road trips, but at home, the Wii U version is where the battles will take place. It is just far too beautiful and playing it with a dedicated controller feels like home.
Most Nintendo games do a great job of appealing to a tremendous age-range. Nintendo may not have the best console sales or third-party support, but when it comes to first-party games, the company is easily the master. They can put a smile on a four or a 40-year old’s face with ease. Super Smash Bros takes all the love and imagination Nintendo has crafted over the last 30 years and smashes it all together in one beautiful package. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is the pinnacle of the series so far and is easily the most polished and complete game yet. If you own a Wii U, it’s an easy recommendation for purchase, but if you haven’t jumped on board with the Wii U, now is as good of a time as ever. Smash Bros. kicks off what will easily be the best year of the console’s life so far.