For many, playing Super Smash Bros. is a common college activity. That may sound like hyperbole, but I’m sure most people have that one room in the hall or off campus where people seem to congregate solely for the purpose of battling amid a mess of tangled plastic wires. The long-awaited new entry in the series, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, gives me no reason to think that this trend will end any time soon. The top selling point of this new version is that it addresses the all-too-familiar dilemma of having to hand off the controller to the fifth person when one person loses. It does this by adding the option to play with up to eight players on the same console. This is perfect for when there are five or six people playing and no one wants to sit out—although, once you get up to seven or eight players, things might get a little too crowded. If you are up to the challenge, however, you will still face the problem of getting enough controllers for everyone.
Perhaps one of the most pressing questions about the game is how it “feels” in comparison to its predecessors. I’m happy to say that it strikes an appropriate balance between the fast-paced and competitive nature of Melee with the more wild and crazy feel of Brawl. One thing to note is that this installment in the series leaves out many of the more unpredictable, less popular elements of past versions, like tripping.
This Smash also sports the biggest roster of characters in the series, boasting 50 characters from a variety of franchises. For the most part, the lineup seems pretty balanced. Still, if issues were to emerge, Nintendo’s new ability to patch the game should alleviate fears of “overpowered” fighters.
Many of the traditional game-modes such as Classic, All Star and Event return, each with an enjoyable spin. Surprisingly, online play—while somewhat limited in scope—is gratifying as well and is able to run with no Internet lag. Certain “experiments,” however, leave much to be desired. The rip-off of Mario Party, Smash Tour, certainly comes to mind. The new Smash game’s extras—which include Stage Builder, Fighter Customization as well as the ability to make one’s own “Mii Fighter”—are all perfectly serviceable, however.
For me, Smash has always been about the local multiplayer with friends, a sentiment I believe many would echo. I’m happy to say that in this regard it does not disappoint––especially now that eight people can play at once. For those who want more out of the game, the multiplayer mode is supplemented by many satisfying features, both new and old.