Super Smash Bros. Brawl - Reception and Legacy

Reception and Legacy

Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 92.84% (76 reviews)
Metacritic 93% (81 reviews)
Review scores
Publication Score A
Edge 9 of 10
Eurogamer 9 of 10
Famitsu 40 of 40
GameTrailers 9.4 of 10
IGN 9.5 of 10
Nintendo Power 10 of 10
Official Nintendo Magazine 95%
NGamer 93%
Entity Award
GameSpot Best Fighting Game

Super Smash Bros. Brawl has been critically and commercially successful. In the United States, the game sold 874,000 units on launch day and 1.4 million units in its first week to become the fastest-selling video game in Nintendo of America's history, according to Nintendo. According to the NPD Group, it was the best-selling game of March 2008 in Canada and the United States, selling 200,000 and 2.7 million units, respectively; the game is the best-selling game of 2008 in Canada as of April 1, 2008. Electronic Entertainment Design and Research analyst Jesse Divnich attributed the game's strong US sales to it fulfilling "the needs of the casual, social, and sub-13-year-old markets". Upon release in PAL regions, Brawl reached number one on both European and Australian sales charts. According to the NPD Group, GfK Chart-Track, and Enterbrain, the game has sold 3.539 million units in the United States, 213,000 in the United Kingdom, and 1.681 million in Japan, respectively, for a total of 5.433 million units as of August 1, 2008. It is also the fifth best-selling game of Japan in 2008, selling 1,747,113 copies. It was the fourth best-selling game of 2008, selling over 4.17 million copies. By March 2012, the game has sold 10.79 million units worldwide, according to Nintendo.

The editors of Japanese game magazine Famitsu, who awarded it a perfect score, praised the variety and depth of the single-player content, the unpredictability of Final Smashes, and the dynamic fighting styles of the characters. Chris Slate of Nintendo Power awarded Brawl a perfect score in the March 2008 issue, calling it "one of the very best games that Nintendo has ever produced". GameSpot editor Lark Anderson noted that Brawl's "simple controls and gameplay make it remarkably accessible to beginners, yet still appealing to veterans", while GameTrailers mentioned the amount of content that gives the game "staying power that few other games possess". Eurogamer praised the game's ability to stay fun in both single-player and multiplayer modes, while "fulfilling its usual role of dominating a willing crowd's evening into the early hours, and now allowing you to sustain that after everyone's gone home". Game Revolution hailed Brawl's soundtrack as "spectacular ... spanning a generous swath of gaming history". Game Informer highlighted Brawl's "finely tuned balance, core fighting mechanics, and local multiplayer modes". Edge concluded that, while the Smash Bros. games have often been "derided as button-mashing", Brawl features "one of the most enduringly innovative and deep systems of any fighter".

IGN editor Matt Casamassina, however, noted that, although Brawl is "completely engrossing and wholly entertaining", it suffers from "long loading times" and "uninspired enemies and locales" in the Subspace Emissary adventure mode. He also described the graphics as "an enhanced version of Melee", with backgrounds that lack detail in areas. GameSpy echoed this by equating the quality of the graphics to that of the GameCube. Mitchell Saltzman of Gameworld Network expressed disappointment at the lack of "stat tracking, voice chat, and a mostly lag free environment" in the online mode. NGamer's Matthew Castle points to the franchise's lack of innovation with the verdict, "Smash Bros risks growing too familiar. It never breeds contempt, but it doesn't quite muster that Galaxy magic." Jeff Gerstmann rated the game 4 out of 5 stars on Giant Bomb, saying that players who are not into Nintendo's history or multiplayer "probably won’t understand what all the fuss is about in the first place"., however, suggested that Brawl is not directed exclusively towards serious gamers, as it offers "a curious diversion for uninterested gamers" as well.

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