There's no doubt in my mind that the hottest subject of discussion when it comes to the new Smash Bros. is either one of two things - the heated debate about which characters are going to make an appearance or be cut as well as third parties, and when the game
is finally going to be released, as Sakurai said that using a small team will take him five
years to get the product out. Said projection is also based on the fact that early in Brawl's development, only he and Iwata knew about the true nature of the project while they were gathering a development team - this proved to be counterproductive, as it stymied the process and created an earlier delay, despite the charm of what would surely be a surprise to those working on it.
However, there's something in particular that I'd like to talk about, something that hasn't quite been given the attention it's deserved... and that thing is Game Modes.
The reception on Subspace Emissary was mixed, very mixed. While I might've really, really liked it, for its adventurous, near-Kirby Super Star sort of feel, when I looked at people talking about it, I quickly
realized that it had quite a few points where it didn't quite shine in the way some people were expecting. While it might've had some of the most interesting cutscenes we ever did see, said cutscenes also resulted in the entire opening movie
being just a compilation of scenes from SSE - for emphasis, the Melee intro that drew you in and slapped you absolutely silly with CGI everything, bouncing from franchise to franchise: all gone in lieu of cutscenes you'd see later. Where it may have had some of the most interesting locales and music to match, enemy density and the 'resistance' met when trying to progress seemed off kilter. Even bosses felt a little underwhelming.
That is definitely not to say that it just up and failed, however. Anything but. It gave us insight into the world of Smash Bros in and of itself and a lot of things to draw conclusions on, which were quite a lot of interesting talks in my case, especially regarding the Minister, Tabuu, and Master Hand's role in everything. It did see kind of irritating on higher difficulty levels, but I didn't really let it get to me - plus, the ability to choose key players at certain times in order to slightly mix up the story and see entirely different character points of view was absolutely amazing.
And yet, I still found myself sort of pining for the Adventure Mode of old. Even the Classic-esque mode didn't feel quite right, what with the removal of the point system -and- the bonus system, which was an absolute, total downer in my experience. Perhaps it would've been more wise to avoid attempting to make it parallel Kirby Super Star so closely and instead stick to the slightly more streamlined feel of Melee's Adventure Mode.
Where is my Board the Platforms, Nintendo?
Where's my Trophy Catch for that matter? Don't just cut out some of the most beloved games
for absolutely no reason, they were what added a -major- sense of Arcade appeal to single player!
Modes are integral to the overall enjoyment of the game, surprisingly enough - while one can certainly just play Vs. mode again bots over and over and over again, there was just something special about the way you could load up Adventure and have yourself just that - an Adventure, right there, whenever you wanted. Subspace Emissary did allow returning to old stages, but in its case it just felt as though you'd only be going back to just get something you missed or a secret character after a certain point in the game was passed. Couple this with -three- kinds of Trophies
(Both character style trophies, Final Smash Trophies), and it just made me feel like the only real incentive was to collect trophies. On top of that, we had stickers and the AWFUL Trophy Stand system.
However, there's always learning from mistakes. Nintendo has plenty of time to address the failings and successes of Brawl together with Sakurai and Project Sora, whose absolutely stellar work in Kid Icarus: Uprising has many fans begging for as much love and care as was put in that game to also be put into the next Smash Brothers game.
Rolling back on point, the inclusion of 2P Home-Run Contest was a good idea, something it needed. Then they also added a co-op twist to Multi-Man Brawl, and while it didn't exactly have the meat of typical Multiplayer so to speak, it still had its own sort of fun mixed in. However, when we cross over into the realm of Custom Brawls is when things get a little dicey. Custom Brawl was meant to sort of add a massive amount of variables to versus play, such as 300% Metal Fire Flower-on-Head Brawl! However, this didn't exactly work out the way they intended, because it's probably the singularly least used mode, and I think that's because it wasn't particularly necessary. Players don't need an arbitrary mode in order to have those things happen - it's all about the happening when it does. Say they instead made a Green ! Block from SM64 an item, and when a player hits it, everyone is turned metal for a while! Or a Red ! Block which gives everyone a free Wing Cap that lets -everyone- glide/have an extra jump/fall slower or whatever they deem worth it.
Basically, you don't need to have a mode entirely dedicated to 'status effects' or whatever you'd like to call them in order to cater to those wanting a slightly more varied game approach. Items can already be adjusted from the get-go now, and adding a Pokeball Pokemon selection would make that perfect. Those who like the idea of cloaking or metal characters are those who will already play with the items on anyways, so instead, focus on fun items for everyone to use instead of some side-mode that's going to gather a lot of dust.
More than anything else, I want a return of the old Adventure mode and Classic Mode, complete with points and point bonuses
to fit the bill of both your typical Arcade experience or an experience traveling throughout the various areas of Nintendo. To cap it off, they can also have their next SSE, which I hope they make a little more constrained and for the love of Triforce, do NOT add something like the Great Maze in Brawl. Ever again, never ever. Having to explore the entire game over again
was a HORRID move meant to milk extra time out at the end, and on top of that, you had to kill minibosses based on EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER IN THE ROSTER. You won't even know where most of them are until you get Lucario, and even then it's still an exhaustive effort and actually turned me off from SSE for a week.
As far as Multiplayer modes go, just stick with the basics or
use new modes that aren't just extensions of typical Vs. matches - that's a very important thing. We can already change damage ratios, starting percentages and item loadouts, so why deal with something extraneous?
We wouldn't be anywhere without our lovely readers, though. What do you think, fellow ZI readers? Should Nintendo fall back to more simplistic Multiplayer modes and bring back the feel of Melee/64's single player? Do you have any ideas of your own, perhaps? Feel free to leave them down below, and remember that E3 is a month and a half away - there just might be some SSB news to be covered on-site by one of ZI's own staff, straight to you!