Nintendo delivers a masterpiece that's incredibly rich on content and with well thought out design.
If you are playing Super Smash Bros. for the first time then you'll probably feel a little overwhelmed. This game is, simply put, overloaded with features and extras, to point where it can be hard to get to grips with everything on offer.
On top of that, the controls aren't simple enough for you to get away with button mashing. It's incredible how Nintendo has been able to design a title aimed at such a broad audience, one that comes with all the popular heroes included, but that has still managed to arrive at launch as such a deep and complex game. And this one simply astounds when it comes to the scope and scale on offer. In short: if you want to have fun with Super Smash Bros. on the Wii U, you're going to have to make an investment of both time and patience.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U wasn't created with light-hearted fun in mind, and this becomes obvious when you sit down to play it. Touch-control isn't even included in the menus, and when the battery from the GamePad is all used up, you can still easily continue playing with another controller. It's at its best with an original Gamecube controller in hand, as this classic input device has been given new life thanks to an adapter for the Wii U. Furthermore, you can also use your 3DS (if you've got a copy of the game on the handheld that is), the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, or the Pro and/or Classic Controller.
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This variety of input devices is of course included so we can fight with up to seven other players. This adds even more chaos to what's already a rather chaotic game. The arenas for these battles are naturally larger, and therefore the selection is somewhat more limited than elsewhere. It's great fun to fight with so many characters in one arena, especially once you have mastered the controls. What then looks from the outside like chaos and confusion, is actually an excellent test of concentration for the experienced Super Smash Bros. player.
There are many similarities between this and the handheld version, although the two games are not compatible with each other. On top of that, in the arenas and with the objects contained therein, there are differences to be found. The controls are identical and we gather the coveted trophies in the same way. There's also a classic mode that simulates a tournament. Then there's the same stadium disciplines and the All-Star battle in which we are fighting against known heroes in chronological order of their conception. However, more diversity with regards to local multiplayer and two all-new modes are offered in this Wii U version.
In Event Match we are given various tasks to complete in order to earn rewards. As Pac-Man in Smash Mode we have to eat six opponents in succession or we need to put all enemies to sleep with Jigglypuff. This mode helps while getting to know the unique skills of the fighters, and it also might even introduce you to some new favourites. It's a simple, but really nice idea. It's just a shame that Nintendo passed on this mode for the 3DS.
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The second mode is called Special Orders. Here we can bet gold in a fight an then earn rewards for completing certain challenges, or we can pay a lot more gold and fight in a sequence of battles with the chance of winning even better prizes. However, if you make a mistake you can also lose everything. You need to beat Master Hand at the end to get the reward, and although you can fight him whenever you want, the longer you leave it the more powerful he becomes.
Another new feature is Stage Studio, where we can create our own arenas. For this mode the GamePad is a necessity. We simply draw the platforms on which we want to move, and can then add stuff like springs and cannons to spice things up. Overall, the possibilities are very limited in terms of the stage design, but it is a nice extra touch and the huge variety of possible background music for the home-made stages once again illustrates what a monster Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is in terms of content.
We can personalise our characters in a lot of different ways, and even Mii-fighters have been integrated in a meaningful way, which is one of the best innovations found here. It rewards those who are willing to invest time on their characters. Considering the whole thing, the game seems to be pure fan service. Thus, while you might initially fear that they've just added all the famous heroes into one game and then cashed in, that is simply not the case. In fact, it's quite the opposite. The game is very well designed and comes packing surprising depth. Of course, there is a component of luck involved, it's not just skill. But to a far greater extent than for example Mario Kart, victory comes on the back of real skill, and not so much on chance.
And this is also what makes the game so daunting at first. Those who play only in short bursts will not recognise how special Super Smash Bros. for Wii U actually is, such is the weight of all the options and features found herein. However, those who invest the hours will be rewarded with an incredibly entertaining experience. And at the end of the day the following sums it up: anyone with enough patience will be able to reach a point where their dedication will pay off.
In addition to the photo mode there is also a video function included. And if you still feel like you haven't gotten enough bang for your buck, there is also an online mode included. Nintendo has made the series fit for a new generation, and the potential for developing a serious addiction is greater than ever before. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is a masterpiece, and the game that every fan wished and hoped Nintendo would make.
9 / 10
Massive scope, Great presentation, Lots of fan service, Entertaining and playful, Lots of game modes.