Smash Bros. 4: Smashing a Typical Review

Get it? It’s a pun because I’m going to talk about Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U. I was fortunate enough to recently purchase this game in addition to the console and I couldn’t be happier. Judging by reviews and fan responses, I’d wager that many people are happy with these purchases, too. However, I feel like discussion on the game is a bit lacking on a few topics, specifically regarding character choice.

SmashBrosLogoFirst things first, however. If you’re looking for a review of Smash Bros. 4 (what many fans are using as shorthand), here’s mine: it’s fun, has a lot of content, and has great artistic and musical direction. You can tell effort and care was present during the whole process. It has a few moments here and there of “extra” fluff, but everything is at least interesting. It deserves an A—not perfect, because that’s a relatively unattainable goal, but pretty damn amazing. I’ll keep it short, mostly because if you’ve seen one Smash game from Nintendo, you know what to expect. To me, the quality and fun of the game is at a high level, but is not the real story here.

This is a perfect chance to look at some issues that are at play within the game besides a purely mechanics-based, “objective” overview. In AAA development, quality should be expected (although we’ve seen some recent, huge transgressions) and is important, but it’s often the least interesting aspect of game development. We know the newest installment of GTA will be massive and technically sound and impressive, but what else? Sure, if a game is mechanically flawed, tell me; I do want to know if I’m about to purchase a glitch-riddled mess. Otherwise, I want to hear something a little deeper. What stories are we telling? Who’s involved? Do the mechanics bear any meaning, or are they simply just a vehicle to deliver the game? What does a game say about the world we live in? These are questions that are ever-present and deserve to be asked. Continue reading