E3 2014 Impressions: Super Smash Bros. (Nintendo Wii U & 3DS)

While I wasn’t on the Los Angeles Convention Center show floor, I did get a chance to play Super Smash Bros. both on the 3DS and on the Wii U during a Nintendo/Best Buy event that was running concurrently with E3 2014. I felt the need to mention that only because I’m not 100% confident that the build shown at E3 is the same that was shown in Best Buy stores across the country, even though I can’t see why they wouldn’t be. At any rate, there’s my disclaimer for this piece.

I spent considerably more time with the 3DS iteration and immediately several observations came to mind. First, for someone who has invested a lot of Super Smash Bros. playtime using the Gamecube controller, the button setup on the 3DS is incredibly awkward. The buttons feel too close together and even their shapes are incredibly jarring, though I suspect I will adjust to this over time. Second, the ability to play a SSB game portably for the first time ever is an incredibly enticing proposition, as the franchise has been screaming for an on-the-go entry for some time and the online/StreetPass capabilities of the 3DS make for a suitable home. Finally, the 3DS exclusive Smash Run mode is a heck of a lot of fun.

In Smash Run, players are dumped into a dungeon of sorts in a race against the clock to power up their chosen character as much as possible. Each item they collect enhances a particular stat, be it attack, defense, speed, or more. Various obstacles, such as enemies and traps from Nintendo’s history are present to hinder the player during this collect-a-thon, which then culminates in a showdown between four players, be they human or A.I. I took a run at this using both Toon Link (my primary character, Link, wasn’t playable) and also Mega Man, whose skills and movements did well to simulate playing a classic MM title. He was a bit unwieldy to use in an actual melee given his Mega Buster’s short range, but he’s at least a fun addition to the roster.

Next, I had a go at the Wii U entry in a four player free-for-all match. The game truly shines visually compared to its handheld iteration, though both look fantastic on their respective systems. The stage I took part in was chosen at random, but the arena was mostly flat with platforms that would randomly rise out of the ground (that helped me out of a pinch on more than one occasion). This version of the game did have the standard version of Link, whose core abilities mirrored those of the ones he utilized in Brawl. I only got to see one assist trophy in use and that was only because Waluigi emerged from it to stomp my face in. In other words, it’s the same hectic gameplay you’ve come to love.

The 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. will release October 3rd of this year, while the Wii U addition remains undetermined. When it does finally launch, it will come in two flavors: standard edition and a collector’s edition of sorts that will include the game, a SSB themed controller, and a Gamecube adapter (which the rep informed me will run about $99.99 MSRP). The adapter and controllers can also be purchased separately.





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