I really hate
daylight savings time. I hate it with a passion. It's this time of
year when I really envy those few places that are smart enough to do
without the antiquated notion of f$#^ing with my sleep and my
wonderful sense of going in to work while there's light enough to
not be hit by a car as I cross the street.
Anyway, I am still
waiting for my Smash Brawl. I ordered online. I won't get the game
until Tuesday, but I got a good enough deal (works out to about $35
after express shipping, thanks to a gift card and a low price) to
not sweat these small details.
However, I did
play a good amount of Smash on Sunday. I haven't done any of the
single player stuff, but I did enjoy a few dozen rounds of Brawl
mode (the new name for Melee, which would be the old name for the
multiple player free-for-all).
I also got to try
out most of the characters in the game and see my friends play the
other characters. I think it's safe to say that a few things I
noticed are real...at least for now.
When I say that, I
mean that some things that are obvious at the start of a new Smash
game typically get reversed as people learn the moves and special
For example, I
could see that some characters are naturally broken (at least at the
start of the game). Pit is a great example. His forward B attack is
a powerhouse of cheesiness. He created a spinning barrier by
twirling his bow/swords in front of him. This proceeds to block all
attacks, reflect energy attacks, and cause a nice stream of small
damage. This attack also doesn't stop until you stop hitting the
button. This means that if you get a player stuck against the wall,
then that player will be pretty hosed until another player breaks
things up. On top of this, the move also manages to make Pit
invulnerable to attacks from above (at least it applies to Pikachu's
that's pretty unbalanced would be good old Pikachu. His moves are
essentially the same as from Melee. However, one key difference is
that his down smash is now harder to avoid and easier to use as a
cheese attack. If the enemy is strong, then they'll remain close
enough to get hit by a follow-up up smash attack. If they are
already damaged, then they'll leave the down smash attack flying a
In fact, I'd have
to say that Pit and Pikachu are probably the perfect starting
characters with how much ability they have to cheese an enemy.
There's a few others with these levels of cheese, but they
definitely stand out as two of the best.
The other thing I
quickly noticed is that Brawl's new addition of final smash (FS)
attacks are unbalanced a bit. There are a few that are just too
damned powerful. The best example of this is in Sonic and Zero Suit
Samus. The Sonic FS is simply him turning invincible and into a ball
of energy (effectively, at least; really he's Super Sonic) that will
deal a fair amount of damage with each hit of an enemy. You also
keep this power for quite some time, so this turns Sonic into a
machine of quick kills. It even last long enough to kill someone
whem the power first activates and then you can kill them again
after they respawn if you plan you attack well enough. The only down
side is that if it runs out of a pit, then Sonic has a fall ahead of
him. It's a lot like Pikachu's FS, but Pikachu's lasts for a little
less time and is hard as hell to control.
Zero Suit Samus is
broken in another way. She basically unleashed a short range area of
effect attack centered on herself. This wouldn't be so bad if it
wasn't for how one gets their FS attack charged. When a special
ball/item appears, everyone tries to hit it enough to obtain it
(think pinata). So, you're all naturally bunched around the person
who gets the smash orb, so Zero Suit Samus just needs to hit B
immediately after obtaining it and she'll get at least a couple of
enemies in a quick blast that will severely injure, if not kill.
Maybe with time
I'll feel differently (since I need to learn any Brawl strategies
that wouldn't work in Melee), but there are just some overly broken
abilities that I've seen so far. There's also some very underpowered
brawlers at the same time.
The best example
of the underpowered has to be King Dedede. He's slow enough to make
Bowser from Melee look like a speedy character. He's also slow in
attacking, and his FS isn't all that great. The only thing he has at
all is the ability to soak a lot of damage. However, damage taking
is not enough to make up for a character that's only use is getting
in a sneak attack when two others are fighting.
One other big
change from Melee is that there are a lot of items on a field at a
time. Characters create debris and this stuff remains (to be thrown
at enemies) for quite a while. When Samus goes into the Zero Suit
mode (including if you start a battle that way), her suit remains in
pieces to be thrown (with a good amount of damage and force). When
Wario rides his motorcycle (forward B), it leave the motorcycle
behind when he gets knocked off. Then the motorcycle can be hit and
broken into a half dozen parts. All of these remain for a while and
act like Samus's suit parts. While this is fun for a while, it also
leads to a potential cluttered field that can, to me at least,
become an annoyance.
I still need to
see a lot more of the game, but I'm thinking that I may have to
think a lot differently about Brawl than Melee. Overall, they look
quite similar, but I'm thinking my personal preference is just to
turn off items like the Smash Orb to keep characters that are
already good fighters from becoming too broken (like Sonic). I also
need to see some more of the characters. When I played at my
friends' home I didn't get to see a good deal of the
characters...especially, I felt the pain of my favorite Melee
character, Jiggly, being locked away.
At least one thing
I can say it that Brawl is a solid Smash game and it's going to push
Wii sales along until the next great batch of games come along.
It's a rather
chaotic time for me. So, I posted what should have been posted
yesterday above (with yesterday's date).
As for Rock Band
this week; the DLC was a bit of a let down versus how much it could
have been. Yes, there's some 80MP tracks. That's cool.
I also have no problem with Serj Tankian, and (while I hate to admit
it) Paramour has grown on me. Both of the songs that comprise
these artists look pretty fun on guitar expert videos and I may look
to buy them. I have not seen Shockwave (by Black Tide) in
video format yet...nor have I ever heard the song. So, I'll
have to look into this one more to know where I stand with it.
With it being an unknown (to me), I need to see an expert guitar
video to know where my money lies with this song.
Now, back to my
regularly scheduled chaos.
I'm back, so to
speak, from a rather messy and not so fun last couple of days.
Without going into details, I'll just say that life throws a few too
many curve balls from time to time.
I got my copy of
Smash Brawl in the mail yesterday. I haven't had the chance to play
it yet, but that's what tonight is for. I think my start of Smash
will be a lot like when I first played Melee. That is to say that
I'll be focused on unlocking some characters as soon as possible.
While I enjoy playing as Pikachu, my main character has been, since
Melee days, Jigglypuff. So, I have my first goal rather set in
stone...get Jiggly unlocked. I just hope Jiggly is as good of a
character for my play style as she was in Melee.
I'm also going to
finally get some of the new Rock Band songs. After seeing Shockwave
on expert guitar, via youtube, I think I'll be skipping that song.
It's just a little too generic in sound and a little too ugly on the
note chart to be worth it in my eyes. The one thing I didn't
understand while seeing an expert guitar video is why it's ranked
where it is. It's listed as a tier 8 guitar song, while it looks far
more technical and advanced than a good deal of the tier 9 songs.
At least the two
other songs look to be worth the investment. Beethoven's C*** looks
like it has a good deal of speed and fun note changes, but not so
fast or frantic as to make it not enjoyable to play. CrushCrushCrush
feels similar. There's some fast stuff and some crazy alternating
chords in the middle (especially with G+B -> G+O progressions), but
not weird and challenging enough to make it not fun for a single
player or band setup.
I don't have much
else to say for today since I'm in a state of recovery from the last
couple of days. So, I'll just end this with some thoughts of Smash
to soon fill my head.
Before I get
started, I have a quick translation for you. Capitalized words are
for Smash games and lower case are for modes. I had to say that
since Brawl (the Smash game) has brawl (the free for all game mode),
just like Melee (the game) has melee (the mode), and I want to keep
this simple as I type.
Last night I
finally had some time to play Brawl. I started with the thought in
mind of unlocking characters as quickly as possible, but that soon
turned out to be too damned boring. Basically, the quickest way to
get characters unlocked is by fighting in brawl mode (multiplayer)
with two characters. Set the game to a stamina and flower special
mode (stamina = HP instead of needing to be hit off the screen;
flower = constant HP damage) and setting one single CPU character to
1 HP while you control a guy with anything more than 1 HP. The
battle then ends one second after it starts.
This works great
for the first few characters. You only need 15 battles to unlock
Snake, less than that for Luigi, and you can easily get up through
Falcon before this concept is just too damned boring to continue
with. I was wanting to at least get Jigglypuff, since she is my main
Melee character, but that requires too many of these damned 1 second
That's when I
decided to have some fun while unlocking people. In other words, I'd
go ahead with the Subspace Emissary (SSE) game and actually play
more than just when I'm told a new challenger is approaching. This
is definitely the slower way to unlock characters. After more than
two hours of playing SSE, I was only at 31% done. This is not some
lame rehash of adventure mode from Melee. This is an entire game
with (in a cheesy and non-speaking way) a plot to it.
Going into Brawl,
I assumed SSE was simply a quick adventure mode clone. I assumed you
may have a few twists, like certain characters being required for
certain stages...but it's definitely more. In fact, if you like the
idea of Smash, but hate the battling of friends and find a CPU
battle royale boring, then Brawl can still fulfill your need for fun
with this full on extra game.
In fact, I think I
would have paid the full price of buying Brawl without SSE and then
later buying SSE as a separate game (maybe with some new "break the
target" challenges and a few other new goodies) without raising a
single complaint. The brawl mode is what most people bought Brawl
for. Maybe a little for the classic mode (fight a bunch of battles
in a row and face Master Hand at the end), but brawl is where people
wanted to be with Brawl.
Plus, there are a
lot of things in SSE that just goes beyond what you'd normally find
in the other modes of the game. Beyond having a pseudo-plot, and
facing unique enemies (and there are a lot of them), you also have
unique stages and settings. You also have a unique leveling type of
system in which you earn stickers that you can place on the base of
each character's trophy. These will allow you to (depending on what
you add...and you need to manage size and location so nothing
overlaps anything else) boost strengths of various attacks, gain
more health from food items, find bonus trophies quicker, get
resistance to various energies, and even lower how much knock back
you take from foes.
If anything, I
think SSE almost makes me think of Kirby Superstar (SNES). That game
included about six or so different games, but one game stood out as
a full on adventure game (and not just a run and attack game like a
standard Kirby game). This adventure game allowed you to permanently
gain special powers, and it was a lot more intense than anything
that was standard Kirby fare. That one game really could have been
sold separately from the rest of the game...and that's just how SSE
I'm glad Nintendo
added all of the package into the final game, but I think this is
one time where cutting parts out of a game and selling them
separately could have worked out for everyone.
Anyway, I want to
finish SSE before I even consider going through with unlocking
characters the old fashioned way. It's just too much fun (except
when my party is limited to characters I'm no good with...I'm
looking at you Zero Suit Samus...at least Pikachu joined you to save
your sorry ass).
Since I've started
to play Smash Brawl I've realized a few things. The first and most
obvious thing I've noticed is that the Gamecube controller is always
going to be my Smash controller of choice. Between the c-stick for
quick smash attack access, the location and layout of the face
buttons, the ease of hitting the d-pad for taunts, and the location
of the z and shoulder buttons...well, there is simply no substitute
for this controller.
The other thing
I've realized is that the GCN controller is on way too short of a
leash. It's just tiny in comparison to any other controller wire of
the previous generation. The XBox always had an awesome cable
length, and the PS2 wire was still serviceable (despite being too
short for my taste). The GCN controller, on the other hand, has a
cable that's a good several feet shorter than the mighty XBox leash.
So, with Smash
allowing GCN controllers, as well as the Wii in general being so
damned GCN compatible (and compatible with GCN controllers for other
uses, like the Virtual Console), it's only obvious that Nintendo
sure could sell a lot of Wavebird wireless controllers right now. It
would be so easy to see an increase in demand for them.
This is where I
get pretty damned confused. I went to Gamestop yesterday (it's about
3 blocks from my work, so it's a good quick excursion for my lunch
break) to pick up a couple of Wavebirds. No luck. Gamestop
apparently only gets a couple of GCN controllers per month, and
these are wired ones. So, I checked out their online store (which
will usually have a larger selection). No luck again. Then I tried
checking a plethora of online stores, like Best Buy, Circuit City,
Fry's, and even Amazon (who I hate to shop at because of how they
mess with people when it comes to new releases...and because they
treat their employees in certain departments like pure shit). The
only controllers I found were on the Amazon marketplace (not
directly sold through Amazon)...used controllers. I then tried a few
more searches online for Wavebirds and saw a rather alarming and sad
Wavebirds go for
about $60 or more used, and can easily break $150 new. Since I don't
see any reason to blow that much money on a controller, and used is
never a good option when it comes to a thing that's easy to see wear
and tear form on (especially on analogue sticks), I had no choice
but to continue playing Smash on a tiny leash.
doesn't release a fresh batch of Wavebirds I'll never understand.
Now is the perfect time and a great way to boost sales on older
peripherals, while still not cutting into profits from anything Wii
related. I guess I'll never understand this simple and pathetic type
of oversight. That's why I'm a scientist and not someone working in
a marketing department.
At least I can
still play Smash and I can attempt to either learn the classic
controller for the Wii or be doomed to sitting about 3 feet from my
52" TV...both of which seem to not be favorable in my eyes. Blah.
On a final note
before I'm out for the day, the Rock Band DLC for next week has been
it's the Thrash Pack. I really cannot say I was looking forward
to this pack coming out. I'm all for different genres, but the
vocals seem poor for most of these songs, and the guitar sounds like
overly technical crap.
I do like the
sounds of technical guitars when they are used right, but not like
this. More so, I do not care for overly technical sounds on Rock
Band or Guitar Hero since it usually leads to overly complex guitar
note charts. Take Enter Sandman as an excellent example of this.
Enter Sandman is a lot easier to play on a real guitar than the note
chart of expert makes it look on Rock Band. I would hate to see the
opening of a song like Kryptonite (by Three Doors Down) on Rock Band
just for this reason (it would require rapid finger changes, while
the real opening of that song requires only to life on finger after
your hand is placed on the right frets).
I know some people
look to Rock Band for the challenge, but I think that's more Guitar
Hero's place. Rock Band I have always seen as the place to turn to
for the pure fun of rocking out with some friends. Yes, I like
challenge...just not one of ridiculous levels.
On the bright
side, this means we're down another pack from the OXM March list.
This is good news for me since that list looked like so much crap.
With another one down, I only have two more crappy sets (the one
with more Skynard and the Metal Pack) looming in the future. I just
wish the longest promised pack would get its release already. I'm
talking, of course, about Who's Next (Nevermind would also be nice
For Those Who Don't
Have Flash Plug-Ins...
This Site Links
Contact Us Disclaimer