I didn't really expect to have very much to say about a Smash Bros game, but whilst there still isn't a huge amount to talk about, Brawl really impressed me. I played its two predecessors to death, particularly Melee, but my recent revival of my Wii has allowed me to pick up some of the games I just missed out on, first time around. Brawl was pretty high up that list so I was pretty excited to fire it up, but I still wasn't really expecting much. I figured I'd spend a few hours unlocking some characters and then put it to one side until some friends came over. How wrong I was...
It turns out, Brawl has a huge, sprawling single-player 'campaign' to complete, alongside all the usual multiplayer content and "Classic Mode" semi-single player special matches. Actually, to briefly mention one gripe, I am baffled at the idea that the single-player allows co-op play but Classic Mode does not? It's a much more ideal setting for two people to just have some quick, team-based fun so, seriously, what gives Nintendo?
But back to that true single-player game that Brawl contains – it's a surprisingly well put together story mode, with excellent level design (mostly) and some pretty humorous interactions. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't deserve any awards and the plot is, at times, extremely confusing (why is there no dialogue at all?) but it was still a lot more interesting than a loose excuse to punch some people should be. Plus, it's a great way to get to know some of the new characters and ones you maybe weren't that proficient in before. Although, gripe number two, the Ness/Lucas/Pokémon Trainer levels were painful, largely because none of those characters fit any play style I can grasp; some better character selection options would have gone a long way. Also, the map UI and general objectives of the game are borderline incomprehensible. I had to look up a walkthrough on IGN to find out what the flag symbols meant on the world map, took hours to finally understand the 'negative zone' map layout, and still have no idea how the 'continue' or points systems work.
Despite that, I've enjoyed playing all the levels I've been through so far (still a fair few to do, despite feeling like I'm almost at the final boss from a story perspective) and some of them, particularly those involving Samus or MetaKnight, were so much fun I'd be happy to see their mechanics spun into a full, standalone game. Combined with the ridiculously addictive multiplayer and the also-solid Classic Mode and Brawl has kept me coming back far more than I had anticipated! I'm enjoying a lot of the new characters, the ones I'm used to feel tweaked but still familiar and the Final Smash mechanic is hilarious with a group of friends all scrambling around. I still have a whole lot to unlock, much of which I don't understand (there are, arguably, too many collectables) so Brawl has definitely been well worth the money!