Super Smash Bros. Demo: First Impressions

One of the biggest Nintendo titles is now out in Japan and selling like crazy, breaking the million unit mark within its first week of release. That’s right, Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS is finally upon our friends across the world.

Sales aside though, how is the gameplay? A big question constantly asked and debated; starting from the title’s first reveal to the time it’s in our hands. People always want to know the general feel of a Super Smash Bros. game, because none of them have ever been the same. To the fast-paced, tournament-fueled action of Melee to the “floatier,” more defensive feel of Brawl, the way the newest Smash Bros. game controls is the standard players can expect for, at least, the next five years.

Let’s just say it’s more than just a little important to casual and hardcore fans alike. Luckily, for you (and totally me), I was able to get my hands on an early access code to the demo. After about 20+ hours of play, here’s what I have to say:

It feels great! Sure, I’m a die hard fan of Melee, but this game really does have a feel all of its own. The pace of fights finds a happy medium between the lightning quick action in Melee and the lax, thoughtful battles of Brawl. Aerial and ground combat share an equal importance and characters old and new maintain (and in many cases, upgrade) the personalized moveset and animations that brought them to life in previous instalments.

If I showed this to my eight-year-old self he would be
calling bullshit so hard right now.

Link acts more like the hero we all know and love in the Zelda series, with a role reminiscent of his adventure in Ocarina of Time. Mega Man, meanwhile, controls exactly how you’d expect him to if you’ve ever played a Mega Man game.

I really want to stress the part about Mega Man though, because everything about him, from his buster shot – which is not only used in a stationary position, but when he walks and jumps as well – to his hype-filled final smash that has every iteration of the blue bomber coming together to blow away any and all fighters in their way, was created with the fans close in mind. This will come as a huge relief to any fans excited at Mega’s inclusion. I’d go so far as to say Nintendo has done more for Mega Man with the inclusion than Capcom has done for him in the past 5 years – but that’s a topic better kept for another article.

As usual, the music is great and projects nicely from the 3DS’s small speakers. There’s not much to say about the stages as the demo only gives access to the returning stage, Battlefield. The level does have a Final Destination “form”, which simplifies the arena to a solitary platform set against the same background. This will please competitive players as multiple stages in previous titles were banned because of various hazards and formations.

Casual smashers have plenty to look forward to as well, with the inclusion of countless new items. New Pokemon, assist trophies, weapons and healing items will create the same frantic feel the series is known and acclaimed for.

The only real complaints mainly stem from the 3DS itself. The 3D function is completely unnecessary – big surprise – and although the controls are smooth and responsive, the handheld does nothing to complement that. As a matter of fact, some players have already broken their circle pads because of the strain they put on the device with a game as intense as Smash Bros. This doesn’t really come as a surprise considering the mighty Gamecube controllers would even take a noticeable beating from the pressure of quick thumb movements and the occasional rage-induced toss. What chance does the 3DS stand in the same hands? So, if you are planning on buying the game, be gentle!

Well… the game is called Super Smash Bros.

The demo releases today in both the US and UK; the game will fill store shelves October 3. Just be prepared to only have access to Villager, Mega Man, Mario, Link and Pikachu until then.

Overall, if the demo is any indication as to what the final product will be, I’m excited and you should be too! Characters are unique, the music gets you ready to fight, items keep every encounter fresh, and hitting your friend in the face with a fully charged Mario side-smash feels just as satisfying as it did on the N64.

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