Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U are two of the most anticipated games for 2014. In connection to E3, Nintendo held special Smash Fest events at Best Buy stores around the United States. Greg, Barry, and I were all able to attend and spend some time with both versions.
I arrived at one of my local Best Buy stores a few hours early, just in case. Other than a couple potential players walking around, there was no sign of an event. So, I went to the mall food court, grabbed an iced coffee and a donut as I waited. When I went back, just about an hour before the event was to begin, the line had formed, and I found a place about 30 people from the front. Unfortunately, though, we were not allowed to take any photos or video, so unlike Barry and Greg, I don’t have much to show you from the event itself.
As we waited for the Wii U version (only one TV), they allowed us to try out the 3DS version. All that was allowed for us to play was the new Smash Run mode. Unfortunately, I could not hear much, with the amount of noise around the store, especially those playing the Wii U version, but that did not stop me. I chose to play as Mega Man, turned the 3D up all the way, and began. Initially, I was quite impressed with the look of the game. The trailers, images, and gameplay videos provided online have not done this game any justice. It looks much better in person. Also, the 60 frames-per-second mean all the action is extremely smooth. This is crucial in a fast-paced handheld game, and the developers seem to be doing an excellent job.
Smash Run has you running and fighting in a large area for five minutes with the goal of obtaining as many power-ups as possible. It took a bit to get use to the 3DS controls, but eventually, I got used to it. After I finished the five minute run, I then went into the arena to fight with all my gained powers. I did much better in this. In fact, I won. I don’t know if I was playing against the other guy beside me, or just the CPU, though. It does seem like a fun mode, but much of it might depend on with whom you are playing.
Mega Man is an interesting fighter. Most of his moves seem to be distance-based, but his up and down attacks are quite useful. Once I figured that out, I began doing much better. His specials are based on other specific power-ups, and I did not have enough time to figure them out during my short time with the game. While I was originally not sure how Smash Bros. would translate to the 3DS, it seems like it will be great.
Once I finally reached the front of the line, about an hour later, I was able to jump into a four-player battle with the people who stood behind me in line. I decided to play as another new character — Greninja, the Pokémon. He was pretty quick, and I enjoyed his special moves. His main attacks, though, were just okay, in my opinion. I did struggle to learn his jumps and recovery move, because I fell off myself at least twice. In fact, that’s what pushed me back to second place. Some young kid, who had never played Smash Bros., ended up coming in first. That was humbling.
The Wii U version looked great, but I was not blown away by it. This is probably because I am just getting used to it, because I was very impressed the first time I saw it. Smash Bros. really is a very pretty game. Similar to Mario Kart 8, though, most of your attention will focus on the gameplay, and you will miss the gorgeous backgrounds and overall stage design.
All players were required to use the Pro Controller, which felt very good. Originally, I thought I would have trouble not playing with a GameCube controller, but I quickly got used to the Pro Controller. Most of the buttons are the same. In fact, spending time with the 3DS version, which basically has the same button layout, probably helped me prepare for this controller.
In summary, it is going to be very difficult to wait until October and the holiday season!
Did you get any time with Super Smash Bros. at Smash Fest? If so, let us know what you thought in the comments.