Saturday, 22 May 2010

Feature: 5 Things I Want In the Next Smash Bros Game

Smash Bros. It's a series that has gained so much popularity from both the casual and hardcore crowd despite only having 3 iterations. It's common sense for HAL Labs to make another game, whether It'll be on a home console or a handheld. Today, to celebrate the return of my blog and the incredible Smash Bros games, I've decided to do a feature on this series based around what I want done with the next iteration; 5 ideas I've come up with that could be used to make Smash Bros more exciting (as if it wasn't hectic enough already!)

For this feature I've set three rules, the first one being that these ideas would be based on a home console game, not a handheld one. The next rule is no obvious ideas. For example, it's kind of obvious HAL would make the next game include flashier graphics or that they'll enhance move sets again. I've made exceptions for characters, stages and music though, as there I can make suggestions of what I want in that category. The final rule is that similar ideas will be in the same sub-heading, take New/Returning Characters below for example. And that's it. Anyway, let's begin...

New/Returning Characters
Let's start with something obvious and expand on it. We all know that each Smash Bros game has included new characters, but what if they did something a little different? What if they brought back some of the lost characters? Sure, it's not that exciting, but I liked Mewtwo (not sarcasm) and for those who hate Toon Link (can't think of anyone) why not bring back Young Link from Ocarina of Time? Still, there are some characters I wouldn't care for if they returned, such as Dr Mario and Pichu. Roy also deserves a mention, I'm sure some people preferred him over Ike. Now that I've dealt with returning characters, let's go onto new characters I'd like to see in the next Smash Bros. Some may work, some might not, I just want them in the game.

When Nintendo announced 3rd party characters for Brawl Smash Bros fans where shell shocked, and with that in mind, you instantly want more. Sure, the ability to play as Mario's main rival from the old days was pretty awesome, and it was astonishing to see good old Solid Snake get stuck into some Nintendo action, but 2 characters? Compared to the other 33 1st and 2nd party fighters, that's nothing. I would love to see more MGS characters in the next game, especially Raiden. Others that spring to mind are EVA, as well as Liquid Snake, Ocelot from MGS3 and possibly Old Snake and Big Boss. More Sonic characters is obvious too. I'd like to see Shadow, Tails, Knux and Dr Robotnik fit under this category. Now onto new fighters on the 1st party side of things. I'd quite like to see guys from Golden Sun get into the action as actual playable characters this time, as well as more dudes from the Zelda series. Wouldn't it be great to play as every one's favourite princess (Midna) or Zant? How about Vaati too? everyone loved him! To end this subject, I might as well say that I don't want any more Mario characters (except maybe Geno from Super Mario RPG) since there's already too many. That would count for levels too...

New and More Balanced Stages
If you ask me, Brawl has far too many Mario stages; this is why I'd like it for the next game to have a more balanced selection of arenas to fight on. I'm not saying HAL should scrap any of the stages, but to balance it out so there are an about even selection of cool areas to fight in. They ought to treat us to more locations from the Zelda series, as Brawl only contained 2 brand new levels from that series, despite being one of Nintendo's flagship series' next to Mario. Really, this problem needs sorting out.

Now onto all new stages. Brawl featured a brilliant stage based on Warioware, which had you playing microgames while brawling; these ranged from not staying completely still to popping balloons by attacking them. I'd love them to do more stages like this, with new in-game microgames. More Starfox and F-Zero levels need a shout too, as they've been some of the more hectic battlefields of late. How about bringing back more Melee stages too? I loved Termina Bay and Mushroom Kingdom 2 and was sad to find they didn't make a comeback in Brawl. Also, they need to keep all the levels from Brawl for the next game, they were all awesome. 

More Final Smashes!
Brawl saw the introduction of final smashes, mega powerful attacks that could be executed by breaking the Smash Ball item and holding the smash attack button. The majority of these special moves were extremely cool, yet there were a few frankly unspectacular and useless ones. To help this problem I'd like the next game to include multiple final smashes for each character. I think the addition of multiple final smash attacks would add an extra element of strategy to brawling. when you've grabbed that smash ball, do you choose to heal or will you go all out on an enemy? You decide.

With multiple final smashes, each fighter could have their own different moves to do different things. I reckon Mario's final smash had little to do with the series he comes from, so imagine if he could use a mega mushroom from New Super Mario Bros DS the turn himself massive and crush opponents? What if Toon Link had a special attack that involved jumping above an enemy and pressing down+B to rush down and stab them in the face, like at the end of The Wind Waker? I think that HAL ought to use this idea instead of just keeping the same Specials or just replacing them.

New Adventure Mode
Another thing the third iteration of Smash Bros introduced was the Subspace Emissary story mode. This mode had Brawlers fighting their way through cool stages throughout the Smash Bros world. In between stages we were treated to some lovely cut scenes filled with lots of Nintendo references, as well as plenty of hilarious and epic moments along the way. It's common sense for HAL to include another adventure mode like this in the next Smash Bros title. There were a few gaps that needed filling in from The Subspace Emissary; perhaps the next game could feature a sequel to Brawl's story fill us in on what happened after that. On the other hand, they could just go Galaxy 2 with the story and say "that never happened, here's what really happened" and do a completely different story altogether. Whatever happens, I don't really care as long as we have a proper adventure mode included.

As well as brand new cutscene movies, I think HAL ought to introduce a few new gameplay elements for the adventure mode. Let's face it, The Subspace Emissary's actual gameplay wasn't too complicated, and at times a little linear. Maybe the next adventure mode should include sections where players are set different tasks, such as finding items or smashing stuff up. They could even have a few secret bosses or rare trophies tucked away in stages, that would be nice. It would also be great if all the characters were included in the story too, not just 3 quarters of the roster. The idea of new and returning bosses needs a shout as well. In short, the next game begs for another story mode.

Even More Unlockables!
What has always been a key feature of the Smash Bros series is the massive heaps of trophies, stickers, extra game modes, characters and much more besides that could be unlocked. HAL shove more and more into each Smash Bros game and the next title should be no different. First of all, more Trophies as well as ones from previous games with different appearences. All the Assist Trophies introduced in Brawl should be included too along with new ones. Secondly, Stickers; another feature introduced in the latest game. Brawl included 700 Stickers to collect, and for the next game I want every one of those Stickers to return and  some new ones. Of course, both of the things I just mentioned are fairly obvious, so what about new stuff? Well, with the introduction of trophies in Melee, HAL also included the 'Lottery' mode. This was a fairly pointless excuse to gain trophies by collecting coins from matches and single player modes to stick in a virtual machine. Brawl fixed the pointlessness of this mini-game by replacing it with the Coin Launcher. Here, players could shoot their coins at trophies and various targets to earn their unlockables. Despite being very satisfying compared to the Lottery, I reckon they should ditch the Coin Launcher and give us a new mode. Perhaps something that involves the Wii-motion controls? That would be a good idea since Brawl included no Wii controls at all, despite being on that system. 

The Challenges system was a cool way of earning Trophies, Stickers and music Cd's. Maybe HAL could build on this by introducing some new elements. How about making some of the Challenges more specific and diverse? Players could be given rewards by doing things like beating down every type of enemy in the Adventure mode, or making several codec calls in matches as Snake. I think this would be better than the repetitive nature of Brawl's challenges, which were more along the lines of "complete classic mode with every character" and "beat the Subspace Emissary". Bringing up the Challenge list from the pause menu would be pretty good and would help you remember more complicated missions.
Finally, I'll go back onto the subject of Assist Trophies. The first player who grabbed one of these special items would summon a Nintendo character that didn't quite fit into the game. Each Trophy followed a certain attack pattern able to severely annoy opponents, on the other hand some of these trophies were utterly useless. How about changing their attack patterns for the next game huh, HAL?

I hope you enjoyed this feature as much as I did writing it (sarcasm) what with the lack of posts from me recently. Just to clarify, I am still writing my next review! Until next time...

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