REVIEW: Super Smash Bros. 3DS

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted! I’ve been meaning to write this review but I was having so much fun with the game that I forgot to write it!

So, the new Super Smash Bros. game is out. While most of my friends in the competitive area of Smash aren’t exactly enjoying it, I am enjoying it a lot. Now that I have the full game let’s go into what I’m excited about and what I’m looking forward to with the Wii U version.
The Good:
 
Smash Run
 
I have to start here. Smash Run is probably my favorite mode of Super Smash Bros. I’ve ever played. Collecting power ups and duking it out in quite a few different varieties of mini games (including racing, climbing, and various versions of Smash) is awesome. I loved Kirby Air Ride’s City Trial (which is basically what Smash Run is), and so I instantly took a shine to this mode. I think the only problem is you can’t interact with the other players besides a bomb you can throw into their screen.
All-Star Mode
 
The new All-Star mode is really cool. Instead of grouping characters together by game, they’re grouped by time period. This makes some really interesting variety of characters and stages while fighting. The mode is a little on the easy side for me, but I really enjoy it nonetheless.
Music + Graphics
 
Super Smash Bros. 3DS (and the Wii U version) has the best music in a Smash game to-date. Really digging the remixes, and the game looks fantastic. I think the only problem here is you can’t change the music like you could in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but that’s a minor detail I can look over.
Teams
 
So you can now be whatever color you want in team battles. That’s the best. Now you have team outlines, which is way cooler and way better. Seriously, forced colors was never something I enjoyed about teams. I’m glad they changed that.
Stages + Items
 
These are, hands down, my favorite stages in the franchise. The Paper Mario stage is definitely my favorite. All the new stages offer something really cool, and I LOVE the new old-school Mute City stage! To add to the craziness of the stages, the new items are a blast. The Galalga Boss that sucks you up, Cuckoos, and the new Pokemon and assist trophies really make for a hectic item experience. It’s fun!
Characters
 
The new characters rock. I love them all. In fact, Villager is my main! I actually don’t mind Dr. Mario, Lucina, and Dark Pit, either. While I will never play Dark Pit, I really enjoy Lucina and would rather pick her over Marth, so I’m glad she’s in the game. Also Dr. Mario is a boss and actually has different moves so I wouldn’t consider him a straight-up clone.
Custom Moves
 
Are probably the best part of this game. I am loving some of the custom moves the characters have! They give the characters some much-needed flavor or just help their kit in general. For example, Luigi has an ice ball – how cool is that?!
The Bad:
 
Controls
 
I’m actually very used to the controls, but as a competitive player (who doesn’t really play Super Smash Bros.), I really miss the c-stick. Being able to do a falling Up Air is something I have taken for granted, and while I can still do it, it takes a lot of precise manipulation of the joystick, and to be frank, the 3DS’s joystick isn’t incredible. I wouldn’t say the controls are awful, but there’s definitely something left to be desired here.
Classic Mode
 
Is still kind of boring.
Online + For Glory
 
Okay, so every For Glory mode stage is basically Final Destination with the stages usual blast zones. Some of the have walls that go down to the blast zone. This is fine, but I really wish some of the stages (I’m looking at you, Paper Mario stage and Rainbow Road) had their original design in For Glory mode, just minus the hazards. It’d make some of the levels way more varied and interesting without it just being flat. This ties into online.
You see, Final Destination is a horribly balanced stage. It gives characters with projectiles a clear-cut advantage (unless you’re Little Mac), and that’s hardly fair to slow characters. I think Battlefield is the most balanced stage, but I’m digressing. It seems that the cast is balanced around Final Destination, and that’s…not great. Granted, I think the game is incredibly varied right now and a lot of characters have untapped potential, but it sucks that online every stage is basically Final Destination,  giving some characters inherent advantages. That’s not too bad if you’re really good, but I think a lot of players who want to become competitive aren’t going to enjoy their character suffering as they try to practice their character.
Also the lag can be dreadful sometimes. At least the game has decided to dish out “No Contest” where neither player receives a detriment or plus to their record if the game lags for too long. It can detect intentional DC’s though, which is awesome. Other than those few complaints, though, online is incredibly fun. I’ve played just about 100 1v1 games and a few 2v2 (both For Glory) and they’ve been really fun. I have yet to play the “For Fun” mode or 4 player For Glory, and I probably won’t for a long time. I enjoy 1v1 the most.
Equipment
 
I’m not really a big fan of equipment, and that’s because they only give out stat boosts. I’m okay with the changing stats of characters. It’s a cool concept and it’ll make your Amiibo CPU’s way more fun to watch. However, it’d be nice if there were some pieces of equipment that only gave effects, no stats. I’m a big supporter of custom moves for official tournaments with this game, and I would’ve loved to include equipment in there, but alas. Equipment will be no more than a side tournament option.
And that’s about it. I could rate this game on my usual criteria but there’s so much content in the game I won’t do that. With that said, my rating for this game is a solid 8/10. If you’re a fan of the Super Smash Bros. franchise, you will love this game, even if it’s on the 3DS. I wouldn’t wait for the Wii U. Having Smash on the go is incredible.
Just Sayin’
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Thoughts on Smash 4 (3DS Demo version)

Last Friday, the Nintendo 3DS demo of Super Smash Bros. 3DS was released to the public. Luckily, I was able to obtain it earlier thanks to a special giveaway for Platinum members. Now that it’s been about a week since I’ve played it, I thought I’d write about my first impressions.

The Ledge System is GREAT

As someone who hates every ledge mechanic in the previous iterations of the series, I love how the ledges work in this game. You can’t grab the edge to stop someone else from grabbing it, and you can’t regain invincibility unless you touch the ground and then re-grab the ledge (I actually don’t know if you regain it after being attacked). I really like this system. It forces more off-stage play if you want early KO’s, otherwise you’re stuck fishing for KO’s on-stage.

Pivot Canceling

If you push the other direction while dashing, you do a little slide animation before starting to dash in the other direction. During that slide animation, you can cancel that into an Forward Smash, Up Smash, or Forward Tilt. Forward Tilt and Forward Smash are the most useful applications of this mechanic, and it’s a great way to space your opponent while ground. It gives characters like Mario and Pikachu some neat ways to keep space, especially with how fast their Forward Tilts are.

Combos are (kind of) real

Some characters have good combos (coughMariocough), others have a couple strings. However, combos do exist due to hit stun being longer and unable to be canceled like in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, despite how small they may be.

Air Dodging sucks (YES!!)

Air Dodging produces some serious landing lag when you hit the ground with it. +1 for offense.

It’s fast

Since Super Smash Bros. Brawl was quite slow, this game feels much faster. You feel like you have greater control over your character and you feel more rewarded for performing high-execution techniques quickly (not that there are many…). I think the speed is perfect. It felt much better than the Best Buy demo.

It looks good

This is, without a doubt, the best-looking Smash game I’ve ever played, even on the 3DS. It looks fluid, feels fluid, and the effects are awesome. The animations are also great.

Villager can pocket everything

And it’s godlike!

If you haven’t yet, download this demo and start playing! The game comes out in less than two weeks – better practice up!!

Just Sayin’.

The ebb and flow of Animal Crossing

I wanted to write about Smash today, but I didn’t do the research I wanted to, so I apologize for the late post. Instead, I’m going to write a small little blurb about Animal Crossing.

Two days ago, I got Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, and now I find that I don’t play Animal Crossing: New Leaf anymore. I love the AC series, but there’s one thing about it that always turns me off as I continue to play: there’s not enough to do.

I’ve upgraded my house to almost full completion, have almost 20 public works projects, all but one fossil, most of the fish and bugs, and my Nook store is one away from being the biggest expansion. In every previous AC game I’ve played, I’ve been able to “beat” the game by expanding everything to its maximum size and almost completing the museum (I could never get all those works of art…). And usually, games come out and I play them, but I was pretty rigorous in my routine to play Animal Crossing every single day until I had everything. Unfortunately, doing jobs for villagers, buying and selling stuff, digging for fossils, and farming bells on the island can only go so far. Even with multi player, the most you can do are tours and self-proclaimed fish and bug-catching contests. At some point, it gets boring (it would be helpful to point out that I am no artist, and so I have spent exactly 10 minutes making a flag design, and that’s it. I’m sure artists get way more out of the Able Sisters’ designing than I do).

Inevitably, though, my interest wanes. Everything becomes a little monotonous, and I eventually stop playing. Unlike in MMO‘s, where dev teams are constantly trying to update their game to keep players hooked alongside guilds forming and whatnot, Animal Crossing is a simulation game, so at some point it feels like you’re living life there, and not here. Or it would feel like that if there were more stuff to do. At some point, you only play for 5 minutes a day because there’s really nothing else you want to do in your town.

Now that that tiny complaint is out of the way, has anyone whom has experienced this notice that, after you’ve beaten the new games and have nothing to do, Animal Crossing suddenly becomes addictive again? It’s crazy how there’s almost a tide to my interest in Animal Crossing. Sometimes it’s very high and I enjoy it, and other times it feels like a chore and I eventually stop, only to come back months later with a fresh desire to play.

This is different than with MMO’s, which I tend to play heavily for a month and then stop completely. No, Animal Crossing somehow ropes me back in when I have nothing to do and becomes my new game of choice. There’s no real competitive value to it, no incentive for me to improve my skills (which there is little of) in the game, so why do I keep coming back?

Has anyone else ever felt this way about Animal Crossing?

Also, except a post about Smash or a review of something next Monday!

Just Sayin’.

REVIEW: Animal Crossing: New Leaf

There’s a lot I can write about Animal Crossing: New Leaf; so much, in fact, that I could write an essay about it. I won’t be writing an essay, but I would like to skim some of the things that make this game an improvement to the series.

The very first thing is its premise. Instead of simply being a villager, the first player is the mayor of the town. That means that instead of having a fully developed town, you actually have an underdeveloped town. The buildings are scarce, there’s no great tree, and the museum being empty actually makes sense. As the mayor, it’s your job to start projects and develop your town, including the new Main Street that houses all the shops in town.

Almost instantly you can see the improvements. You get to choose the map of your town (of 5 given to you) in the beginning, and from there, you get to select where projects are built. Want a bench by the beach? Go for it. A park? Sure! The amount of customization of your town is a really awesome feature. No one town will ever have the same town buildings and similar layout again. To add to the customization tab, you now have male and female specific clothing, accessories, and shoes. Yes, you can buy shoes. You can even buy socks! You don’t even need to wear socks and shoes if you don’t want to.

The art is very Animal Crossing, very cartoony and fun, but you can see a higher resolution and attention to detail, and the 3D looks fantastic (although I barely play in it). The music is good, but I’m still a fan of the original’s music more. However, 8AM’s music is pretty fantastic.

Everything else is pretty much standard Animal Crossing. So why is this game so great? All the little things that show a nice attention to detail:

Nook now owns his own real-estate agency instead of being a shop owner/real estate agent. He also has house customizations for your door, mail box, roof, etc… for sale. Lyle, the Happy Room Academy rep, also puts up shop there. The Nook kids now run the actual shop.

Labelle, working for Gracie in Animal Crossing: City Folk, is now part of the Able Sister’s shop, selling you accessories.

– YOU CAN SIT ON TREE STUMPS

– YOU CAN SWIM! And there’s over 30 new deep sea fish you can only obtain via diving. Unfortunately, to swim you have to have a diving suit on.

– The animals wave when you leave, and they very frequently ask to come over to your house or have you come over to theirs. It’s cool because they actually go to every room in your house.

– You can hang stuff on the wall. It may not seem like much, but it’s cool to finally put clocks on the wall.

– The island is back, and while you don’t have a cool island cabana anymore, you DO have the ability to play cool mini games with friends and make $$$$$$ thanks to the rare bugs that come out after 7PM.

– There are now 6 island-specific fruit instead of 1. It’s nice to see lemons and bananas.

– CLUB LOL!!! Yes, there’s now a night life in your town where you can actually dance to what DJ K.K. is dropping’ down. Unfortunately, it takes quite a while to get Club LOL, and until then you have no access to K.K. Slider. It’s my only real gripe with the game.

There’s so much more to it, but I haven’t unlocked everything, so I couldn’t tell you. So far, the game has been fantastic. If you’re a fan of the Animal Crossing series, do yourself a favor and go pick this up. You won’t regret it!

Gameplay: 10/10

Atmosphere: 8/10

Final Score: 9/10

Just Sayin’

Smash 4 thoughts

So, last week was E3, and with it came a lot of really awesome stuff (my favorite of which was probably Sony sniping Microsoft about everything people were complaining about the Xbox One), including a trailer and a Nintendo Direct with Sakurai about the next installment of the Super Smash Bros. series. As a long-time fan and past competitor in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, I was excited. My thoughts:

– Villager is INSANELY hype. This was, by far, my favorite addition to the game. This man alone has spawned a ton of hype around the Internet at large depicting him as some sort of demonic figure, which I think is hilarious. I will definitely be using him as my main character or a secondary after Kirby.


MegaMan was also a big surprise, and I think it’s cool they secured him He looks really cool, and I think he’ll be shaking up the metagame competitively. Of course, he won’t be able to do anything against Villager.


– In what is probably the most ridiculous thing Sakurai has done (in a good way), the trainer from Wii Fit is now a character. While a lot of people have been complaining, I LOVE that Sakurai decided to put in such a well-known but obscure character. She looks really fun.


Before I head into the more mechanical side of the game, let me say what I want to be in this game. I like every Smash game. Brawl is my favorite, but it has some very noticeable flaws (as does Melee). This game, I’m hoping, will aim to correct some of those mistakes.


The three big things I want out of this game:


     – Brawl ledges with Melee ledge-grab mechanics.


Let me explain. In Brawl, there’s something know as “auto sweet spot”, which means a character doesn’t need to be perfect about recovery, and will instantly snap to the ledge and grab it. In Melee, this isn’t the case. You have to sweet spot the ledge yourself. However, in Melee, if you roll off the ledge and are CLEARLY off the ledge, your opponent cannot grab it until your roll animation has ended. That’s dumb. Combining the good parts about both games’ ledge mechanics will make for a better ledge-game.


     – Bring back hitstun


In Brawl, you can cancel your hitstun with an air dodge or move. This makes DI less important and combos nigh-impossible. Basically make it what Melee does, and give the characters real hitstun.


     – No grab armor


I don’t know if this is true in Melee, but in Brawl you can grab through a move so that you take the damage but get the grab. This is ridiculously overpowered and can ruin competitive play when it happens by chance since no one attempts to grab armor moves. Take it out so that grabs aren’t overpowered.


Luckily, I got to see a video of an actual match at the Nintendo show floor at E3, and luckily, it looks like at least one of my three has been met. There’s hitstun.


What I also noticed:


– No auto sweet spot


– Brawl’s air dodge


– No tripping


It’s been confirmed that there’s no tripping, which is good (although it never bothered me to begin with) for those who hated it. I’m very happy they kept Brawl’s air dodge. I think it’s way better than Melee’s. Overall, the game looks faster, too.


The art looks amazing. Even on the 3DS the game looks crisp, but on the Wii U it looks fantastic. The move particle effects are really nice, too, as Smash games have never really had particles come out with their moves. You can definitely see Namco’s influence, there.


The new Smash is really looking good to me. Hopefully my other two big criteria are met. Even if they aren’t, the game’s looking good enough for me to jump back into the competitive scene, so I’m very excited for its release. If you’re a Smash fan, I’d go check out smashbros.com for more info about the characters and some videos. It’s lookin’ hype!!


Just sayin’