GAMES - Review
15:14 - 2nd December 2014, by Michael Dodson

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

In our recent review for Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, we praised the game for its wealth of content and technical success, though knew that its home console counterpart would ultimately be the superior experience. Two months later and Super Smash Bros for Wii U has arrived, not only trumping the 3DS version in every regard, but also proving itself to be the pinnacle of the series as a whole.

Although the two games share many aspects, such as playable characters, some of the single and multiplayer modes and the overall general aesthetic, there are plenty of additional features that make this the more appealing package. Take the graphics, for example. Running at a consistent 60fps at 1080p, Smash Bros is easily one of the most impressive-looking games Nintendo has ever released, with every character and stage rendered in fine detail and bold colours. Compared to the relatively muted palette used in Super Smash Bros. Brawl on Wii, the difference really is night and day.

The music selection, too, is phenomenal. Consisting of a mixture of original tracks pulled from the past 30 years of Nintendo’s back catalogue, favourite remixes from past Smash Bros titles and a large number of arrangements made especially for this game, the starting soundtrack is already over 300 tracks long, topping off at over 400 when complete. Players can decide how frequently each song plays on each stage, meaning that the game is almost as enjoyable to listen to as it is to play.

Speaking of stages, Smash Bros. for Wii U offers up a wide array of arenas to battle it out on. We were a little disappointed with quite how many of the final roster are returning stages from old games, but overall, the quality of the new stages, including a tour around the gravity defying Mario Circuit from Mario Kart 8 and the majestic Gaur Plain from Xenoblade Chronicles, certainly exceeds the selection found on the 3DS version.

When it comes to additional modes, one of our favourites in Super Smash Bros. For Wii U is Crazy Orders. This throws you into a series of battles with different sets of rules - such as low gravity or giant fighters - giving you new another way to unlock trophies, stat-boosting items or a new song for the soundtrack. There’s a real risk-and-reward system about it, though, as you choose how many rounds you want to face before going up against a tough boss battle at the end - and if you’re KO’d at any point, your rewards stash is lost.

We also had fun with the multiplayer board game mode Smash Tour. It’s all a bit complicated to explain, really (which does make it a bad idea to boot up straight away when you’ve got a group of friends or family over who are Smash Bros novices), but it basically involves your Miis going around a small game board, picking up stat boosts, items that can help you or hinder other players, and, most importantly, character tokens. At the end of all the rounds, players face off against each other in a free-for-all match, with each token representing an extra stock. Despite it initially seeming overly chaotic, It didn’t take us too long to get our heads around what was happening. At the end of the day, though, it’s no match for the basic versus mode when enjoying the game with friends (or, indeed, the online multiplayer when you’re on your own, which, we’re happy to report, seems to hold up remarkably well).

Smash Bros. For Wii U also marks the introduction of the amiibos, Nintendo’s first real foray into NFC technology. Although these figurines aren’t required to play the game (they give you access to computer controlled ‘figure players’ which you can level up to fight alongside you), we must admit that they look pretty cool lined up in front of our TV, and their potential use in future Nintendo titles really piques our interest.

All in all, we couldn’t be happier with Super Smash Bros. For Wii U. Its sheer scope and array of modes, challenges and unlockables is mind-boggling. We’re certainly glad we plumped for the digital download version, as this is a game we’ll be enjoying for a very long time to come.

Everything we could have asked for in a Smash Bros game. If you own a Wii U, there’s really no reason not to get this, and if you don’t, now may be the time to start considering it.
SCORE: 5/5
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