If that's all Brawl had, it would still rank among the best Nintendo-published games of all time. But there's more. Much, much more, in the form of Subspace Emissary, a seven-hour adventure mode that bucks every trend Nintendo usually employs in its key games. This extensive quest is packed with cutscenes that rival Square-Enix and mascot interaction well beyond anything Melee dished out. No one speaks in these cutscenes, but seeing Mario, Link, Kirby, a grip of Pokemon and all the rest teaming up to beat back an invasion is a spectacle that just has to be seen. Our favorite moment, seen below, is the perfect example: it's simultaneously the most ridiculous and amazing thing we've ever seen in a Nintendo game, and a welcome change of pace from the usual "no one talks, no pre-rendered scenes" mantra.
But this is all surface stuff, pretty fan service that Nintendo fans will lap up with an ear-to-ear grin even if the gameplay stank. Luckily (and quite predictably), this isn't the case - the Subspace Emissary doesn't control as tightly as say, a Mario or Metroid game, but we never once suffered a death or loss of items that was due to sloppy mechanics. It's an unnecessary component to the bashing, brawling, blasting main game, yet it's one of the sturdiest platformers in years, minor floaty control issues notwithstanding. Oh, and two people can play, so don't think you're off the multiplayer hook just because you chose the adventure mode.
And on top of all this there's still the Event mode (covered here), a sticker collection that alters various characters' abilities, tournament options and a customizable Special Brawl mode to keep you and your friends busy well into the summer. So, what's the final verdict?