Super Smash Bros Wii U Gameplay Finally Convinced Me To Buy Nintendo's Latest Console

Hands-On Impressions

By Scott Craft on June 26, 2014 8:19 AM EDT 0

Super Smash Bros. Wii U may not be headed to stores until sometime this holiday season but, after getting to play the game for a few rounds at E3 2014, it looks like I'll be buying Nintendo's latest console just to play more Super Smash Bros. Wii U. (PHOTO: Nintendo)
Super Smash Bros. Wii U may not be headed to stores until sometime this holiday season but, after getting to play the game for a few rounds at E3 2014, it looks like I'll be buying Nintendo's latest console just to play more Super Smash Bros. Wii U. (PHOTO: Nintendo)

More than eighteen months after the console first went on sale, Super Smash Bros. Wii U has finally convinced me to buy Nintendo's latest gaming platform; succeeding where a handful of critically-acclaimed Wii U titles have failed before it.

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Despite getting my clock thoroughly cleaned, during each of the eight matches I managed to squeeze in during E3 2014, Super Smash Bros. Wii U has finally given me a reason to own Nintendo's latest game console. In fact, I had so much fun with the game that I don't think I'm going out on much of a limb when I say the upcoming launch of Super Smash Bros. Wii U could very well mark the first step on the Wii U's path back to relevance.

Sure, Super Mario 3D World was fun, and ZombiU offered an interesting take on the recently resurgent zombie-survival genre, but the Wii U hasn't felt like much more than an expensive way to access the Virtual Console over the last two years. And, based on sales of the consoles thus far, I'm clearly not the only one who feels that way.

But Super Smash Bros. is a series with a truly rabid fan base, and (just as importantly) each entry in the series has been the sort of game that you could play at a friend's house and immediately find yourself considering a console purchase. After all, why should you have to drive all the way across town to put a beating on Wii Fit Trainer, when you could just get your own Wii U and a copy of Super Smash Bros. Wii U for less than the pre-tax price of a PS4 or Xbox One?

Everything you and know and love about the Super Smash Bros franchise is back in Super Smash Bros. Wii U, and looking better than ever. The vast majority of the roster from Super Smash Bros. Brawl is back in Super Smash Bros. Wii U, with a handful of exceptions, and the latest version of the game also sports some interesting new additions to the roster. The same goes for Assist Trophies, Final Smashes and pretty much everything else needed to make a proper Smash Bros.

Like my early time with Super Smash Bros. 3DS, I decided to take a rather cautious approach to my first round of Super Smash Bros. Wii U, and holy crap did I pay for it. Unlike the portable version of the game, which seemed to attract a great deal of people with relatively little Smash experience, those lined up to play Super Smash Bros. Wii U knew exactly what they were doing. And they weren't having any part of the shock mouse.

Fortunately, pulling off special attacks feels a bit more natural on the GameCube controller, than it did on the Nintendo 3DS, so I was able to minimize my own knock-outs in my first Super Smash Bros Wii U match. Sadly, it wasn't enough for me to take first place, but I suppose there are far worse outcomes.

Super Smash Bros. Wii U (PHOTO: Nintendo)
Super Smash Bros. Wii U (PHOTO: Nintendo)

Thankfully, limiting the action to five-minute rounds had guaranteed each match would be short enough to allow players a second crack at the game before sending back to the end of the line. With the "practice" match out of the way, I decided to spend a few minutes playing as Bowser.

I was curious to see whether or not the Super Smash Bros. Wii U version of the character had also been tweaked a bit (he had) but, unlike my encounter with the portable version of the game, the changes to Bowser seemed to throw me off quite a bit more than my opponents. I also learned he might be the character that's least-capable of adjusting to the environmental hazards found in Super Smash Bros. Wii U's Punch-Out stage.

It was around this time that I realized I should probably dedicate at least a couple of rounds to testing out the game's new characters. Experimenting with Wii Fit Trainer seemed unnecessary, after four reporters farther up the line decided they all wanted to play as the only Super Smash Bros. Wii U character without a face, but that still left Sheik (no longer an alternate form for Princess Zelda), Little Mac, Greninja and the Animal Crossing Villager.

Super Smash Bros. Wii U (PHOTO: Nintendo)
Super Smash Bros. Wii U (PHOTO: Nintendo)

After getting thoroughly trounced as Greninja, I thought I'd return to an old favorite for my final go-round; hoping to leave Nintendo's booth having achieved at least one victory. Thursday just wasn't my day, though.

Rather than going back to Pikachu, I thought I'd see how Luigi made the transition to Wii U. Truth be told, I wasn't doing half bad. And, for most of the match, I'm pretty sure I actually had the highest K/D ratio of anybody in the current game. Luigi's missile head butt was proving to be as effective as ever, and victory was so close I could practically taste it.

Suddenly, the guy standing next to me, who (like so many others) had chosen Little Mac, went on a rampage. It wasn't the first time I'd seen the boxer pull out a come-from-behind win, during my various trips to the Nintendo booth, and it wouldn't even be the last time I saw the boxer standing tall before exiting the convention center.

In fact, if there's one thing I noticed pretty consistently on the show floor this year, it's that Nintendo finally seems to be embracing the competitive scene that's sprung up around the Smash franchise in recent years. While Little Mac provides the most obvious example, as a character that almost requires an intermediary-to-advanced understanding of the game's mechanics, a number of changes in Super Smash Bros. Wii U seem designed specifically to reward those who spend hours mastering the game.

At this point, I'd wager the boxer will prove to be one of the most divisive members of the new Super Smash Bros roster. I saw a handful of people flounder with the pugilist, but anyone who considered themselves a serious Smash player seemed to dominate with Little Mac.

Personally, I think adding him to the roster was a brilliant move, because he seems to have been designed in such a way that you're either going to come out first or last in any match. But do not be shocked when the "Little Mac is OP!!!" threads begin to appear in your favorite Nintendo/Super Smash Bros. forum.

Super Smash Bros. Wii U (PHOTO: Nintendo)
Super Smash Bros. Wii U (PHOTO: Nintendo)

Like many of the games that I'm looking forward to, but don't handle primary coverage for, I've avoided most of the Super Smash Bros. Wii U news to emerge in the last few months. I've found ignoring all of the distractions and promotional content that precede a game's launch prevents the sort of slowed-time feeling that can accompany the wait for your favorite game(s). So I wasn't really sure what to expect when I finally got a chance to play Super Smash Bros Wii U.

By the time I left the Nintendo booth on Thursday, not only was I sold on the Wii U as a platform, I found a familiar sense of anxiety creeping back into my daily thoughts. And, while I'm certainly grateful that Super Smash Bros. 3DS will give me a way to scratch that itch a bit early, the 2014 holiday season seems noticeably farther away after returning from this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo.

So, it looks like this will be the year when I finally pick up a Wii U. Sure, it might seem strange to buy a console for a single game -- and yes, I'll play games other than Super Smash Bros. Wii U at some point -- but I don't really care. Super Smash Bros. Wii U offers everything that I could have hoped for in a new Smash game, from new levels to support for the best of Smash controllers, and I can't wait to be Final Smashing my friends again this holiday season.

What did you think of all the Super Smash Bros. Wii U gameplay footage that emerged during this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo? Planning to buy both the 3DS and Wii U versions of Super Smash Bros. when each hits stores later this year? Still hoping to see one or more characters confirmed for the Super Smash Bros. Wii U roster before the game's debut?

Let us know in the comments section!

More E3 2014 Coverage:

Super Smash Bros 3DS Release Date Will Deliver A Suitable Distraction For The Wii U Countdown

Eve: Valkyrie Oculus Gameplay Is Still The Most Exhilarating Gaming Experience On The Planet

Rise of Incarnates Gameplay Trailers Feature Six Godly Characters From Bandai Namco's 2v2 Brawler 

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