Many people wondered just how Smash was going to work on the Wii. Would it use motion sensing? Would it need the nunchuck? Had Nintendo in fact, painted itself into a corner with the Wii's control system and totally buggered up one of its best franchises? In the end our questions were answered with a grand total of four control options, old and new. They vary wildly in both approach and quality though, so here you'll find our thorough rundown of how to get the best out of Brawl.
The Wiimote and Nunchuck
This may be a more obvious statement than “Razor blades taste rubbish”, but using the combined Wiimote and nunchuck is a truly horrible way to play Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Smash is a series that requires fast, spur of the moment, improvised control. You need to think on your feet and react quickly, and to do that you need an efficient, focused input tool. In contrast, using the ‘mote and ‘chuck feels a lot like driving a Formula 1 car made out of balloons.
Put simply, your hands are all over the place. With the two elements of the controller so far apart and the buttons positioned so randomly when compared to the carefully focused and deliberate layout of a joypad, there’s just no instinctive flow to the movement of your thumbs and fingers over the controls. Fighting games more than any other genre require that symbiotic blending of player and controller, in which buttons and sticks become an extension of the hand and any awareness of the manipulation of an external device disappears into the ether. But with this set-up we found ourselves always having to conciously reach for the buttons we needed, creating a mental distancing and slowing down reaction times. It completely took us out of the game and simultaneously robbed us of our ability to play well, and there’s no bigger indictment of control failure than that.
The time delay on squeezing the B trigger is too great to ever allow you to feel on top of the action, and creates a constant feel of playing catch-up. Using C and Z with your left hand to jump and shield respectively is positively Satanic, and combined with the B problem it makes you feel like you’re reaching out to bearhug the controller into submission rather than having it under your power. And why aren’t there any shortcuts to the C-stick smash moves? Mapping them to flicks of the Wiimote could almost have redeemed this control system, but we’ve been given nothing of the sort. Bad form Nintendo, very bad form.
Verdict: The horror…