This week of E3 was quite an eventful one for Nintendo gamers with events such as the Nintendo Digital Event, the Super Smash Bros. Invitational, and, as a way for gamers to get a piece of the action, Smash-Fest @ Best Buy. On Saturday, June 14th, I was fortunate enough to go to Smash-Fest to try out both versions of the latest Smash Bros. games.
To prepare for this event, I played Melee as much as I could for the past month, so all the info I will give you is based off of how both the new Smash games compares to Melee. While waiting in line to play the Wii U version, they had a few sales representatives allowing for people to play the 3DS version, so I’ll start off with that first.
On the 3DS version they had two modes, the regular VS. Mode and the new Smash Run mode. Since I wanted to get as much info as I could, I chose the Smash Run. First off I can tell you that the controls for the game feel a bit…off. This isn’t a fault of the game itself, but the design of the 3DS. The A and B buttons were assigned their usual task (A: regular attack, B: Smash attack), but this felt like quite an awkward control scheme. I often found myself wanting to press the Y button which is unfortunately assigned as the jump button. I eventually got used to the controls, but it still felt awkward. The graphics of the game look spectacular for a handheld game, and, looking back on it now, the graphics almost look like Brawl’s (from what little I’ve played of Brawl). As for the gameplay, I almost felt like I was playing Melee. The speed of the game feels very fluid and smooth, baddies can hurt you but are not overpowered (despite their size), and I was able to immediately jump in to it.
After the time limit was up on Smash Run, you’re immediately thrown into a quick match against your character and two other random characters. After playing through the 3DS version in both Smash Run and VS Mode, I can say that if Melee was you’re cup of tea, stick the 3DS version of the new Smash at the top of your wishlist.
When it finally came time to play the Wii U version, I going to sadly say that I didn’t spend as much time as I wished I could with the game. When I finally got to the demo, it started hailing outside the store, and they had to hurry it up so that everyone could play at least one round, so instead of playing two rounds, I was only able to play one.
While the control scheme of the 3DS version didn’t work properly, I won’t complain about the controls for the Wii U version because they only had Pro Controllers for the demo. And, it’s been confirmed that the final version will allow the use of the gamepad, the Classic Controllers, the Pro Controllers, the Wiimote, the Wiimote and nunchuck, and the Gamecube controller. So, even if the standard controls are not you’re cup of tea, you still have options. I wasn’t able to make a close enough analysis of the graphics and the gameplay for the Wii U version due to them wanting to push everyone through, but I can confirm two things. First off is that the game looks pretty (like nearly every other game out there ever since 2007). Second is that, unlike the 3D version, the gameplay is noticeably slowed down. I don’t believe it would be noticeable for the average player, but for Smash enthusiasts out there, they will notice the difference.
There is one last point I’d like to point put about the Wii U version, but I felt the need to separate this point from the rest. The Wii U version seemed to lack the flare the 3DS version had. When I was playing the match, it felt like I was going through the motions rather than playing a highly anticipated entry into an enjoyable series with revised and improved concepts. It’s something that’s been bugging me even as I write this article. I don’t know whether to place the blame on the hundreds of videos advertising this game like it’s the second coming of Christ, or on the developers. It’s just something that I felt the need to point out because I think it’s something that would bug a number of other people as well.
Honestly, if I was only able to buy one right now, I’d place my money on the 3DS version. But, I wouldn’t really recommend pre-ordering either game until August at the earliest since there is so much about both versions that we’re still unsure about.