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Does Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS Have Enough Content?

by Alex Culafi - October 30, 2014, 10:10 am PDT
Total comments: 22

With the Wii U version on the way, does the first handheld Smash Bros. have enough content to stay relevant?

Before writing this, I wasn’t sure how to approach the topic, or what to base the measure of “enough” on. Should I make my evaluation based on the Wii U version, on the series as a whole, or solely the 3DS version without giving consideration to the rest of the series? For the sake of fairness, I’m going to attempt to do all three.

I would like to state that I really like the game on 3DS. Even though the single-player content is a bit slim (you can get a good taste of everything it has to offer in about two hours), the fighting is great and all 51 characters give what relatively few modes of play there are plenty of diversity. In our podcast discussing the game, the word I used to describe my experience with Nintendo’s multiplayer brawler was “concise,” a word I stand by. It’s a lean game, but also fulfilling enough to keep you hooked. However, before I begin discussing the game on its own merits, let’s compare it to its upcoming console counterpart.

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS vs. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

In the wake of the recent reveals for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, it feels like Nintendo is pretty much leaving the 3DS version in the dust compared to its console-bound big brother. The 3DS game has Classic mode, decent online, Smash Run, some challenges, a few supplementary modes, and some collectibles. In comparison, the Wii U game has new gameplay enhancements, Event Mode, a vastly improved stage building mode from Brawl, far more gameplay customization options, bigger and better stages, a significantly larger soundtrack, Smash Tour, more supplementary modes, and even more. I honestly reached the point where I thought that Nintendo was using this Direct to actively take a dump on the 3DS game just in the hopes of selling the Wii U version.

Perhaps the true reason why the 3DS game was released first was because it offers much less content, and releasing it first would make the Wii U version look that much better by the time it was fully shown off. Thanks to the content, the visuals, and the control options, with all of the knowledge we have now, it’s not easy for me to recommend the 3DS version alongside the Wii U version because everything in it blows the 3DS version out of the water.

Not only that, but when looking at stuff like Event Mode and Stage Customization, it almost feels like the 3DS got too few modes. Does Event Mode really need to be exclusive? It’s one of the most enjoyable modes to ever grace the series and the 3DS version can’t have it? And there’s no Tournament Mode, even at a reduced player count? If we’re evaluating based on pure content, the Wii U game makes the 3DS game look bad. Of course, we have to consider that the 3DS game is launching at handheld retail price and the Wii U game is launching at the more-expensive console retail price, but the gap between these games, in my opinion, is far more than $20.

Final Verdict: Not Enough Content

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS vs. Super Smash Bros. 64/Melee/Brawl

This is probably my favorite discussion because it asks a fascinating question: What is content?

Looking at raw modes, the 3DS version only beats out the original. The Nintendo 64 game had a couple supplementary modes, Classic Mode, and basic local multiplayer. There were twelve characters and a few stages. No contest here.

In Melee, the 3DS version lacks Event Mode and Adventure Mode as well as Tournaments – arguably three of the best and most substantial modes outside of multiplayer. I might also add that Melee’s stages are generally much better than those in the 3DS game, and the trophies are more interesting. The 3DS game has challenges and online, but pound for pound, Melee beats 3DS mode-wise.

Brawl has all of this and more, including challenges, all of the supplementary modes you could ask for, and the divisive Subspace Emissary. Mode-wise, Brawl absolutely wrecks the 3DS game.

However, what the 3DS version has that the other games don’t is a monstrous character count and what I believe to be the best fighting mechanics in the series. If we consider the roster count as content (and we certainly should), the 3DS game has four times the roster of the 64 game, twice the roster of Melee, and is still substantially larger than Brawl. This, combined with the fact that the 3DS game is the first Smash Bros. game with competent online, ensures that even with less substantial mode content, the mileage you will get out of that content will balance the scales – if not tip them in the 3DS game’s favor.

I’m not saying this fully excuses the 3DS version’s lack of meaty modes, but at the very least, the game holds its own.

Final Verdict: Probably Enough Content

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS vs. Itself/Other Fighting Games

When we drop all comparisons to past and future Super Smash Bros. games, the 3DS version is kind of amazing on its own. Let’s just break this down:

Compared to other party fighters like PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale and that Cartoon Network 3DS game, there really is no comparison. Neither have the modes, character count, character quality, or game quality to even put up a fight.

Compared to other fighting games, most Capcom fighters only have online, an arcade-like mode, training, and a series of challenges that are really just adept tutorials. Smash Bros. also has an enormous roster of 51 characters, with only a few dipping remotely into clone territory. I’m not saying there are no fighting games that match the level of content in this game (the new Mortal Kombat could certainly give Smash a run for its money), but Smash 3DS is definitely on the ample side once you start looking outside of Nintendo’s realm.

On its own merits, how many of us are really that unhappy with the final game? It does look anemic compared to the Wii U version, but Smash fanatic Justin Berube has already dropped 200 hours on the 3DS version. Additionally, I’ve invested 15-20 hours of my own, and both of our hour counts are surely going to climb for the foreseeable future.

When all series comparisons are thrown out the window, Super Smash Bros. for 3DS looks pretty damn good.

Final Verdict: Definitely Enough Content

Conclusion

I’m not going to definitively state that Super Smash Bros. 3DS has or does not have enough content with any attempt at objectivity. My larger intention here is to show you how the answer to this question potentially changes depending on where you want to draw your line and whether you see the glass full, empty, or somewhere in-between.

Where do you stand on all this? Do you think Super Smash Bros. 3DS has enough content?

Talkback

Evan_BOctober 30, 2014

I will say this: Smash Bros. was never really a franchise I played to completion. Brawl was big but truthfully, it was a bit too big for me to ever consider completing all the challenges, obtaining all the trophies, etc.

Smash 3DS seems liek something I can play in my spare time to completion, instead of just being a dedicated party game like the Wii U version will probably become.

Quote from: Evan_B

I will say this: Smash Bros. was never really a franchise I played to completion. Brawl was big but truthfully, it was a bit too big for me to ever consider completing all the challenges, obtaining all the trophies, etc.

Smash 3DS seems liek something I can play in my spare time to completion, instead of just being a dedicated party game like the Wii U version will probably become.

It's true. The game is designed around picking up and putting down at a moment's notice. It's a good game to just keep on the system for short bursts.

AdrockOctober 30, 2014

Vs. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
Not even close though I find the comparison unfair. The Wii U version has almost everything the 3DS version has and then some. The games were designed this way. The only reason I'm going to stop playing the 3DS version (outside of laundry days) is because the Wii U version is coming out. I wish they were released further apart.

Vs. the rest of the series
More content that I care about. The 3DS version has the largest and most balanced roster of the entire series thus far. The only thing I miss are the Event Matches. And even then, they didn't get really good until the latter half. Brawl's Adventure Mode was too long, too bloated, and not a lot of fun. Melee's was too short and filled with potential. I'm okay with Sakurai and co. ditching it. Smash Run is almost a great mode. If it's brought back, I'm confident that its shortcomings will be addressed.

Vs. Other Fighting Games
The most similar non-Smash Bros. game I've played is Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale (in terms of concept: a crossover fighting game). Not even close. I'd take Super Smash Bros. for 3DS any day. Sony didn't even do a good job of picking Sony characters, or characters important to Sony's history. Seriously, where was Crash Bandicoot and Spyro?

PikawilOctober 30, 2014

Quote:

what the 3DS version has that the other games don’t is what I believe to be the best fighting mechanics in the series

The competitive Melee community and their 13 years-and counting of being alive would probably scoffing at this statement, but that's a discussion for another topic. Which would mean that by their criteria and yours combined, Melee outright demolishes 3DS like Wii U would using your criteria alone.

Quote from: Pikawil

Quote:

what the 3DS version has that the other games don’t is what I believe to be the best fighting mechanics in the series

The competitive Melee community and their 13 years-and counting of being alive would probably scoffing at this statement, but that's a discussion for another topic. Which would mean that by their criteria and yours combined, Melee outright demolishes 3DS like Wii U would using your criteria alone.

Good thing this isn't a democracy.  :cool;

DasmosOctober 30, 2014

I think it's hugely unfair to suggest the 3DS version of Smash if you take it on its own merit. Smash pushes the 3DS to its limit, I can almost feel my 3DS shuddering in exhaustion while playing. I don't think you could add more content, even if you wanted to. I think it's a wonder it plays as as it does, even if it does use a few cheeky tricks to pull it off.

DasmosOctober 30, 2014

Ugh, stupid non-modifiable talkback comments.

I meant to say "it's hugely unfair to suggest the 3DS version of Smash is lacking content".

AVOctober 30, 2014

Event mode would have been amazing for a portable, each match was limited to 5-7 minutes long.


Better street pass functionality would have been great too, just imagine every street pass is a custom mii you made . If you beat it you get a trophy of the mii with the stats . I would love to keep hearing ' challenger approaching siren' each time I get a street pass mii.


If Bomb blast should have been several levels or a traditional target mode.


maybe a stamina mode where you get 1000% health and battle each character in a row, no stopping.


imagine a NES Remix style mode where you play levels as different characters, but full levels. like mario in sonic full level, sonic racing on F-zero stage on foot, a pac man maze with dr mario blocks falling, mega man level played as samus.


THAT would have been amazing, and using the real game engines not smash fighting engine.


I understand the 3DS is limited in power, but you just have do different things not LESS things

CericOctober 30, 2014

My big complaint about Streetpass is that that mode was not expanded into something you could play with the collection as you grown with different stages.  I enjoy that little game.

broodwarsOctober 30, 2014

Quote from: Adrock

Vs. Other Fighting Games
The most similar non-Smash Bros. game I've played is Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale (in terms of concept: a crossover fighting game). Not even close. I'd take Super Smash Bros. for 3DS any day. Sony didn't even do a good job of picking Sony characters, or characters important to Sony's history. Seriously, where was Crash Bandicoot and Spyro?

Unavailable because Activision owns those characters, just like Crystal Dynamics and Square-Enix own Lara Croft. The developers couldn't get the rights to use those characters, so they made do with what they had. Personally, for a first game I thought they did a good job. I would have liked to see that game's Melee-esque sequel.

AdrockOctober 30, 2014

Yeah, I know Sony doesn't own the characters which is why I said "characters important to Sony's history." A good portion of the game's roster is third party and it always felt wrong that those two didn't make the cut. Sony Santa Monica just brushed it off and said, "100% not possible" without elaborating. I wonder how hard Sony tried to get the rights to include at least Crash Bandicoot since it isn't like Activision has been using him in the last few years. Additionally, it isn't like Activision to pass up the opportunity to make an easy buck to do absolutely nothing. It'd also be free advertising for a potential reboot. Maybe Activision overplayed its hand and asked for too much to license the characters. On second thought, that sounds exactly like Activision.

In any case, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale isn't a bad game. It lacks polish, and more importantly, depth. The game isn't as easy to pick up as Super Smash Bros. Having played a game like PlayStation All-stars Battle Royale, I appreciate the extra modes and mini-games in Super Smash Bros. more even if some are little more than mild-distractions (e.g. Multi-Man Smash). Super Smash Bros. for 3DS is loaded with way more content. Granted, a comparison isn't especially fair considering it's the fourth game in a series put up against the first of a different series. At the same time, I don't think the gap should be as wide as it is. I'd be interested in a sequel to PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale as well, especially if Naughty Dog is the developer, like it was supposed to develop the original.

Nintendo doesn't own Sonic or Mega Man, but they got them in the game. Sony doesn't get a pass because it's their first attempt. They got to learn from Nintendo's previous efforts too.

broodwarsOctober 30, 2014

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

Nintendo doesn't own Sonic or Mega Man, but they got them in the game. Sony doesn't get a pass because it's their first attempt. They got to learn from Nintendo's previous efforts too.

Nintendo didn't get the clout to put 3rd party characters in their game till Brawl, their third attempt at Smash. I agree that PlayStation All-Stars should have been so much more than it was, but I enjoyed what was there and have been looking forward to maybe one day seeing Sony's equivalent of Melee: where they actually fully-flesh out the concept and implement the polish everyone expected the first time.  Unfortunately, PS All Stars didn't sell well (it didn't help that a lot of people seemingly never gave it a chance as its own experience and not just a Smash clone) and the developer's gone, so I doubt that'll ever happen.

AdrockOctober 30, 2014

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

Sony doesn't get a pass because it's their first attempt. They got to learn from Nintendo's previous efforts too.

True. That's why I said the gap shouldn't be as wide as it is. No pass granted for the overall package though I'd give Sony a partial pass in terms of the roster. It took Nintendo 15 years and four games to get the roster as large as it is. Creating movesets from the ground up isn't easy and subsequent installments potentially carry a ton of content over. PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale's roster is comparable to Melee's roster in size so not bad for a first attempt despite some glaring omissions. Ico and Wander didn't make the cut either.

Quote from: broodwars

and the developer's gone, so I doubt that'll ever happen.

Sony doesn't need SuperBot Entertainment to create a sequel. I'd prefer another team handle it anyway. Part of what makes Super Smash Bros. so great is Sakurai's passion for the source material and not just Nintendo's. His attention to detail is staggering. He made a truer Mega Man than Capcom did in Marvel vs. Capcom. Can Sony find anyone anywhere near that passionate to head sequel? It can start by looking inward to one of its own teams, rather than funding a studio with no real ties to Sony or the source material. If Sony wants this concept to work, it needs to take it far more seriously. As stated, Sony wanted Naughty Dog to develop the original, but the team wasn't available. Can the team be available for a sequel? Sony Santa Monica helped with the original though I'd rather it handle the project entirely.

marvel_moviefan_2012October 30, 2014

I got the Playstation All-Star game and I liked it for what it was and was really hoping for a sequel but considering Nintendo has this game down, I think Sony either needs to walk away or get dead serious and take Smash away from Nintendo for good, with their far better love affair with 3rd parties than Nintendo's messy multiple divorces I think Sony could easily pull it off if they put their heart into it.

I think it would be less special if there were a ton of third party characters. Some of the appeal of Smash Bros. is it's a love letter to Nintendo, reveling in its history. I guess no other company has the depth of that to draw from, though.

broodwarsOctober 30, 2014

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

I think it would be less special if there were a ton of third party characters. Some of the appeal of Smash Bros. is it's a love letter to Nintendo, reveling in its history. I guess no other company has the depth of that to draw from, though.

Eh, I'd argue that Sega does, especially now that they own Atlus. However, Sega's problem is that all of their old stuff (i.e. anything Sonic) is terrible, and they've let their newer stuff (Skies of Arcadia, Valkyria Chronicles, Billy Hatcher) fall into obscurity for so long that only the diehard of the diehard could tell you who the characters from those games are.

If Sony could bring together all the disparate franchises that once defined PlayStation, they could measure up to Nintendo's lineup. Sony has 2 major problems, though: in the case of Smash Bros., one of the reasons Nintendo can draw on that nostalgia so much is that these characters are largely extremely well-known due to their games being consistent iterations on each other. Sony, on the flipside, has a tendency towards change, with characters getting a few games before being discarded for the next new franchise. As a result, you get characters like Sir Daniel and that Ape Escape guy in PlayStation All Stars that people just don't know because they haven't been relevant in decades. There isn't cultivation at Sony for these characters to keep them in the public consciousness. And before someone points out Smash characters like Duck Hunt Dog or Shulk, they are notable because they are among a handful of outliers in a crowd of 30+ very well-known characters that anchor the game's mass appeal.

And as we've already discussed, Sony's other major problem is that so much of their appeal during their strongest years came from characters that are now 3rd party, and so subject to the marketing whims of other companies. Isaac & Dante got into PS All Stars because EA wanted to market Dead Space 3 and Capcom the DmC reboot, just like the only reason Snake was in Brawl was because Konami wanted to market MGS 4. Square-Enix wouldn't even contribute their usual empty gesture of allowing the FF Warriors of Light staples.

If Sony could manage to bring all that together, they could field a lineup of notable characters & franchises to rival (though not surpass) Nintendo's own in a Smash-type game, but it's just not economically feasible and would require a great deal of long-term planning and franchise cultivation Sony just doesn't do.

chilenozoOctober 31, 2014

Given the bad sales/reviews of PS AS Battle Royale, wouldn't 3rd party devs think twice, or ask for way more money or shares from Sony if they eventually wanted a 2nd installment with more 3rd party characters?

Smash in the other hand, is so popular, so polished, so well reviewed that I bet that devs are more willing to hand out their famous characters just to get some exposure, or even if they ask for money, I bet that they would negotiate better prices with a Nintendo brawler than with Sony's.

The Snake Smash got was PS snake, not NES Snake.

I don't know, I bet that if Sakurai calls his buddies at Capcom/Konami/Platinum/Namco he can get 3rd parties way easier than Sony can. Not that WiiU/3DS current Smash needs more characters, but maybe for the next consoles they will consider a couple of 3rd parties here and there.

MythtendoOctober 31, 2014

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

Nintendo doesn't own Sonic or Mega Man, but they got them in the game. Sony doesn't get a pass because it's their first attempt. They got to learn from Nintendo's previous efforts too.

Nintendo didn't get the clout to put 3rd party characters in their game till Brawl, their third attempt at Smash. I agree that PlayStation All-Stars should have been so much more than it was, but I enjoyed what was there and have been looking forward to maybe one day seeing Sony's equivalent of Melee: where they actually fully-flesh out the concept and implement the polish everyone expected the first time.  Unfortunately, PS All Stars didn't sell well (it didn't help that a lot of people seemingly never gave it a chance as its own experience and not just a Smash clone) and the developer's gone, so I doubt that'll ever happen.

Nintendo had the clout before Brawl. It's well known that Hideo Kojima wanted Snake in Melee (practically begged Sakurai), but the game was too far in development. So it seems that Nintendo didn't WANT to put third party characters in til Brawl.


Also, the developers of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royal is not gone, not sure what made you think they are.

I am with the people who like PSASBR. Even though I said it doesn't hold a candle to Smash (and it don't), seeing party brawling mixed with more traditional combo mechanics is really cool. Raiden loves wrecking everybody's shit.

CericOctober 31, 2014

Snake in Brawl is right up there in my list of ultimate mistakes in Video Games.

marvel_moviefan_2012October 31, 2014

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

I think it would be less special if there were a ton of third party characters. Some of the appeal of Smash Bros. is it's a love letter to Nintendo, reveling in its history. I guess no other company has the depth of that to draw from, though.

Eh, I'd argue that Sega does, especially now that they own Atlus. However, Sega's problem is that all of their old stuff (i.e. anything Sonic) is terrible, and they've let their newer stuff (Skies of Arcadia, Valkyria Chronicles, Billy Hatcher) fall into obscurity for so long that only the diehard of the diehard could tell you who the characters from those games are.

If Sony could bring together all the disparate franchises that once defined PlayStation, they could measure up to Nintendo's lineup. Sony has 2 major problems, though: in the case of Smash Bros., one of the reasons Nintendo can draw on that nostalgia so much is that these characters are largely extremely well-known due to their games being consistent iterations on each other. Sony, on the flipside, has a tendency towards change, with characters getting a few games before being discarded for the next new franchise. As a result, you get characters like Sir Daniel and that Ape Escape guy in PlayStation All Stars that people just don't know because they haven't been relevant in decades. There isn't cultivation at Sony for these characters to keep them in the public consciousness. And before someone points out Smash characters like Duck Hunt Dog or Shulk, they are notable because they are among a handful of outliers in a crowd of 30+ very well-known characters that anchor the game's mass appeal.

And as we've already discussed, Sony's other major problem is that so much of their appeal during their strongest years came from characters that are now 3rd party, and so subject to the marketing whims of other companies. Isaac & Dante got into PS All Stars because EA wanted to market Dead Space 3 and Capcom the DmC reboot, just like the only reason Snake was in Brawl was because Konami wanted to market MGS 4. Square-Enix wouldn't even contribute their usual empty gesture of allowing the FF Warriors of Light staples.

If Sony could manage to bring all that together, they could field a lineup of notable characters & franchises to rival (though not surpass) Nintendo's own in a Smash-type game, but it's just not economically feasible and would require a great deal of long-term planning and franchise cultivation Sony just doesn't do.

Exactly this, Sega, and of all the companies Sony does work well with it is Sega, aside from Sonic which is now a Smash Bros. Staple Sony could get more of Sega's characters or just hand the project over to Sega to develop in exchange for more of their characters. My complaint about all-stars was that I didn't recognize half the characters but I loved the gameplay. With Smash its the other way around I tolerate the gameplay but I love the characters, if Sony figured this out they could make a great game, but again it would have to be perfect because no matter how good it is if it isn't at least as good as the last Smash people won't fall for it.

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