We ‘Smashed,’ We ‘Melee’d,’ Now We ‘Brawl’
I should note before getting into detail that the vast majority of my experience with the game is with the Japanese version, but it is essentially identical to Sunday’s North American release.
The core mechanics remain. The roster now includes 40 fighters. New characters include major Nintendo mascots Wario and Diddy Kong, as well as several lesser known names: Pit from the decades-old “Kid Icarus” and R.O.B. the Robot, a forgotten 1985 NES peripheral. Most notable are two characters from outside the Nintendo universe: Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog and Konami’s Solid Snake.
Everything is harmoniously balanced. Whereas Sheik, Marth and Fox stood out to most “Melee” players as top-tier characters, it will be much more difficult for “Brawlers” to pick out a top character. Sheik’s moves are still lightning-fast, but her power has been reduced. Zelda, in fact, now feels like a better alternative for a competitive match.
Some characters are mostly unchanged. For others, this game is to their detriment. Luigi did not receive his trademark Poltergust vacuum from “Luigi’s Mansion.” Instead, he retains the mostly useless whirlwind special move while Mario receives the FLUDD pack from “Mario Sunshine.” The other veterans have some minor weight, power and timing tweaks, but you will know what to expect if you are familiar with the last game.
One welcomed change is the “clones”