There's practically no reason to offer a review of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. It's going to sell millions upon millions of copies regardless of what anyone says. We all know it's phenomenally fun and destined to become Wii's biggest game of all time, so what else should a review even bother to say? Spend 500 words arguing about wave dashing or meteor smashes? Nah, we'll just say "buy this immediately" and let you get back to smashing.
But if you want a detailed breakdown, we'll sure deliver one. The core game, where you pick your favorite Nintendo mascot and bang away at 34 other classic characters, is wholly intact and just as smooth, addictive and deceptively deep as it was on the N64 and GameCube. Passersby will think all four players are just banging on buttons; experienced gamers will know just how important each attack, feint and dodge really is. It's completely engrossing and will hands-down be the one game you and your friends will be playing for months to come - if not years.
Now imagine all that online. Brawl's biggest addition, other than adding Snake and Sonic perhaps, is Wi-Fi Connection support, and it functions... fairly well. If you're brawling with pals off your Friend Code list, the experience should be generally clean and lag-free. However, our attempts to play random opponents led to more than one unplayable choppy scrap that ended in disconnection. There's also no practical way to communicate with other players, and it's a total pain in the ass to share saved pictures. Apparently swapping 16-digit Friend Codes isn't enough, as you also have to share 12-digit Brawl codes. We'd say this'll get ironed out as the weeks wear on, but Wii's online "presence" has never seemed a priority.
Moving down the list of important additions we come to the level editor. The more you play, the more pieces you unlock for the editor, so there's definitely an incentive to keep trudging through the main game well after you've unlocked every character. Plus, through WiiConnect24, Nintendo will feature the best user-submitted levels each day. We had a go at the editor, attempting to recreate some classic NES levels with Brawl pieces. Here's how one went down:
Eagle-eared gamers will recognize Metroid Prime's title screen playing in the background. That's thanks to Brawl's utterly astounding soundtrack, which will probably go down in history as one of the greatest collaborative works in all of gaming. We're talking 300-plus tracks of Nintendo excellence, with submissions from Yasonuri "Chrono Trigger" Mitsuda, Yuzo "Streets of Rage" Koshiro and Koji "everything Nintendo" Kondo. And with soundtrack options that change the frequency of each song, plus playlist editing, Brawl's sound category is off the charts. There's nothing to even compare it to. If you're into game music (or even feeling nostalgic) at all, you will absolutely adore the tunes here.