I love the Super Smash Bros. series, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl in particular has probably taken more of my time than any other game. But if Brawl has one notable flaw, it’s that blasted “Subspace Emissary” Adventure Mode! Much-hyped when it was initially revealed on Masahiro Sakurai’s blog, it proved to be a rather shallow and uneventful experience upon the game’s release. I myself played through the Adventure Mode to unlock all the characters but haven’t played it since (and again, I’ve put a lot of hours into Brawl, so it’s telling when I say I have yet to touch its Adventure Mode again). So I decided to write this list of ways I think the Wii U iteration of Smash Bros. can better its Adventure Mode.
One more thing. It would be easily to simply rant and rant about this. But, in keeping with my other Smash Bros. wishlists, I have decided to list five different things Smash Bros. Wii U can touch up.
Anyway, enough rambling, here’s my say-so in all of this.
Make a better story
First thing’s first, to say the storyline of Subspace Emissary is minimal is sugar-coating it. It’s just downright vague! To the point that Sakurai even had to update his blog explaining the story a little more after Brawl was released.
And it’s not the good kind of vague either, that either leaves you in wonder or trying to interpret it, there’s just so much that isn’t explained. Yeah, people would say it’s because there’s no talking, but I don’t think that’s it. I’ve played plenty of games without talking that manage to tell some kind of story. The problem was Subspace Emissary had so many aspects to its story that it failed to properly acknowledge.
Take, for example, the whole Mr. Game & Watch aspect of the plot. Evidently in Subspace’s story, Mr. Game & Watch is comprised of some negative energy that the villains use to power their subspace stuff…or something. Along with being silly (Game & Watch is just incredibly retro, that is why he looks the way he does, not some negative energy thingy) it was also largely unexplained (I only found out through Sakurai’s aforementioned blog).
And Subspace Emissary was full of such unexplained plot points. How did Dedede know about all the goings-on of the bad guys? Where the heck did Sonic come from in the end? There are so many convoluted little tidbits to Subspace Emissary that it didn’t make you care much for the whole “story” aspect out of this new story mode.
Next time around, I’m hoping the story mode keeps things simpler in terms of the finer plot details. Make it easy enough to soak in if they don’t use voices or written dialogue. Give it the lighthearted feel Nintendo is known for.
More decisive main characters
Alright, I understand that Brawl tried to squeeze in every (well, almost every) character on the roster into Subspace Emissary, and while I’m okay with the whole ensemble thing, I think the actual story mode would be better if they had a select group of Nintendo characters who stood out a little more as the main characters.
Mario, Donkey Kong, Link, Samus, Kirby and (maybe) Pikachu would make the most sense to have more prominent roles than the rest of the cast. Not that they should leave the others out by any means, but maybe have them play supporting roles to the aforementioned characters. Not that I expect any deep character development in the story mode of a fighting game or anything, but I think the story would definitely flow better if it didn’t try to balance its attention equally on every character in the game.
Make the Nintendo villains the main villains
Tell me, in a game that includes Bowser, Ganondorf and Wario, why am I supposed to care about some guy named Tabuu who looks like one of the blue-glowies from Star Wars minus Alec Guiness and Yoda? What’s worse is that Subspace Emissary tried to give him pathos by making him the main villain behind everything, being in charge of Bowser, Ganondorf and Wario! No…just no.
Yep, so Bowser and Ganondorf are just pawns to this Tabuu dude..oh and Master Hand. Yeah, King Koopa and Ganon take orders from a giant glove. What? I mean, sure Master Hand works in the arcade-style Classic Mode, but no way would he be the boss of Bowser and company.
It’s like when Kingdom Hearts 2 replaced all the Disney villains with the Orginization XIII guys. Why would I care about these Orginization XIII guys when the series previously had Captain Hook and Hades? Same thing here, why should I care about Tabuu when Bowser, Ganondorf, Wario, Wolf and Dedede make an appearance?
At least some of the boss fights consisted of Ridley and Porky Minch, but how about next time we see more of them and less of Tabuu and his gang.
Seriously, next time around, let’s not try to add any secret villain at the end of the game. The story should just revolve around the Nintendo villains teaming up (with no clear-cut leader, Bowser and Ganondorf answer to no one!), and the Nintendo heroes teaming up to stop them. No blue-glowies or giant gloves.
While I was happy to see Subspace Emissary take a page or two from Mario, Kirby and Donkey Kong’s platforming histories, I was disappointed to find out Subspace Emissary shared very little (if any) of their depth.
Seriously, if you’re going to replicate a level from Donkey Kong Country, make it feel more like Donkey Kong Country. Make the barrel canons work by timing and aim, don’t just have a barrel shoot you out and to do random loops in midair without any control of your own.
Subspace Emissary showed a little bit of platform-esque inventiveness with things like those weird, moving domes that you’d have to leap through in those ancient ruins-themed stages. But overall it could have done so much more with the platforming.
A more Nintendo feel
Don’t even get me started on its whole Kingdom Hearts look and feel of Subspace Emissary. Seriously, a lot of the characters introduced in Subspace Emissary seem to have more in common with the Heartless than the Koopa Troop. And those “dark canons” that the villains use to transform the other characters into trophies, as well as the subspace bombs and the original villains in general, just don’t mesh into the whole Nintendo character get-together theme of the series.
Seriously, next time around lets forget the Tetsuya Nomura influence and make the Story Mode look and feel more like a part of the Nintendo universe.