Back in the day when I was heavily into Gamecube, I asked for Super Smash Bros Melee for Christmas. It was right up there at the top of most lists of best Gamecube games of all time. And it certainly sounded like a cool idea to me. It was a bunch of classic Nintendo characters from various franchises all together in a single fighting game. I guess I expected something like the Marvel Vs Capcom games or something. But when I actually attempted to play the damn game... I had no idea what was going on. It was pure chaos. And the control scheme felt so foreign to me. My attempt to play Melee lasted all of a day. And for years I've just been assuming that I wasn't interested in Smash Bros altogether.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate launched this past year for Switch and it's remained all the rage since then. I've been sort of paying attention as a Nintendo fan, but for the most part just felt like I should avoid spending $60 on a game that I don't think is really for me. But I keep hearing all these good things. And finally I let my curiosity get the better of me... kind of. So instead of getting the new hotness, I decided to grab Super Smash Bros 4 instead.
(Note: the game is technically called "Super Smash Bros for Wii U" and "Super Smash Bros for 3DS" depending which system you buy it for. But that's stupid. There's a "4" right there in the logo on the cover. And regardless which format you're playing, it's the same damn game. Plus, you can even connect the two versions to share custom data or use the 3DS as a Wii U controller. So just... I'm calling it SSB4.)
I've been in a real Wii U collecting phase lately, so I had intended to grab the game that way (and I still do), but for now I'm playing on 3DS because it was something I could easily/cheaply get my hands on right away.
The thing about Smash Bros is that you have to basically unlearn anything you know about fighting games. There's basically two attack buttons (and a grab and a shield) and that's it. And there's no Street Fighter style quarter-circles or Mortal Kombat style sequence of inputs for moves. Instead everything is a combination of one of the two attacks, and a direction on the analog stick. On top of that, players don't have lifebars. This is more akin to like... karate or something. It's all about getting points. So you get a point for successfully knocking a player out of the battle area, while you lose a point for getting knocked out (or falling out) of bounds yourself. So yeah, it ends up feeling VERY different than the majority of fighting games that I'm used to. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though.
Because I really had no idea what I was doing, I decided to start by playing the brief-ish Classic Mode which presents you with various challenges. This mode feels a lot less chaotic than the proper main game, and is a nice way to get the feet wet. I started out by playing as Toon Link, because frankly he looks awesome. I do find it funny that this is his official Nintendo-sanctioned name. Not "Young Link," or "Wind Waker Link," but TOON Link. Weird.
But y'know what? I'm having a lot of fun using Toon Link. I played through the Classic Mode, and it took me a couple of tries to get a 1CC on that at the default difficulty. Like I said, I'm a total noob at this. But over the past few nights I've started to get the hang of the basics. I've dabbled in a few other characters as well like Mega Man (pretty fun), Sonic (fast attacks but tough to control), along with Zero Suit Samus and Pikachu. I've also managed to unlock a few new characters as well. I'm having a better time than I figured I would.
I don't know that I'll ever be HARDCORE with this game. Not sure I'd understand what was even happening in a pro Smash tournament stream. But I'm having a lot of fun as a total casual. I'm just playing the standard solo mode and trying to learn the ropes a bit. Who knows when I'll even get around to playing online. I'm just not ready to be embarrassed yet. But this is a good game. I'm glad I picked it up, and I'm glad that after so many years I'm finally starting to see what it is that people like about these Smash games.
What a stupidly confusing name for this game. "Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U" is just a dumb mouthful. Why didn't they OFFICIALLY call it Smash 4? Or give it a cool new name? We had Melee and Brawl and then... "for 3DS" or "for Wii U"? Really? UGH! Dumb.
That said, I'm still playing this game nearly a year later. I know that Smash Ultimate is the new hotness. I know that it's exciting to see all the new character reveals. But truth be told, I still haven't even spend time with all the playable characters in 4. So I don't know why I'd need a new Smash... yet. And really, something about SSB4 kind of hits a good balance for me. There's way more characters than in the original or Melee, but there's not so many that it's completely overwhelming.
Nowadays I gravitate toward the Wii U version. It looks better and has more stuff. And I can use a legit analog stick here. It's good. But I also have a special nostalgia for the 3DS port. I can't get rid of that one either. So yeah. It's stupid, but I have two versions of this game.
I'm not good by the way. I'll probably never be good at Smash. But why let that stop me from having fun?
My biggest "gripe" with Smash 4, if you want to call it a gripe, is I'm never really sure what mode to focus on. I guess just playing pure Smash is the best way to practice. But there's so many other things I could do like the little events or whatever. And those are fun as they force me to try new characters. That's the other thing - do I spend time learning a character, or do I just hit random and try new ones? I don't know.
Here's something interesting, though. Right now, in the year 2020, people are still playing Smash 4 on Wii U online. Crazy right? It's not just me. There are others. And I guess it makes sense. Like me, there's probably other people who can see the appeal of playing a MUCH cheaper Smash game than the current one. There's also the fact that Smash 4 is really really good. And there's even the thing that the Wii U is still a bit of a cult console. It has its fans.
I'm really into playing as Shulk right now. Having played Xenoblade Chronicles X recently, I'm a bit of a Xenoblade convert, so he seems cool to me. His sword's reach is awesome, too.