Super Smash Bros. Brawl Online Impressions: Nintendo Has A Lot Of Work to Do

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I’ve spent a large portion of the day putting Super Smash Bros. Brawl to the test. I didn’t hop online immediately because I wanted to try and unlock some characters and test out the different control schemes. I’m not going to bore you with the details of what you already know about the game, characters and how it plays. There’s a ton of other sites already gushing over the game so I’ll leave that there.

But onto the online portion, which I’ve spent some time with now. I have to say the presentation is pretty good, everything is pretty easy to find and self explanatory. It also helps that everything is very appealing to look at and stylish in a hi-res coloring book sort of way. At the initial menu’s you have the choice to play a match with registered friends or anyone from god knows where. This is where Ninty’s online implementation takes a nose dive. Now I’m not sure if the servers were flooded because EVERYONE was trying to get their online Brawl on, but initially I gave up trying to connect a random match because for the first half hour I attempted, it would leave me stuck on the screen before the stage started and then say that the connection was dropped.

I have digital cable high speed internet, and I’m on Xbox LIVE a minimum of 4 hours a day, not to mention also connected to the net via my computer (which stays on 24/7). This is a daily routine and I’ve never experienced so much as a hiccup in my net services. So that’s not a very likely cause for the connectivity issues. One has to wonder why Nintendo, with the release of one of the most anticipated games this gen, wouldn’t have their servers ready to handle the obvious traffic that they were going to get.

This in my opinion is unacceptable. Considering that a game like EA’s Medal Of Honor 2: Heroes — which has 32-player online multiplayer matches, various game formats and at any given time 500+ people on one server (by my personal count) — is running smooth as a whistle, my experience with The Big N’s foray into online with this gargantuan title so far isn’t a very pleasant one. I’d give them a thumbs down even. I finally did manage to connect about 5 hours later and played 5 matches in a row. The games ran smooth with no lag and I was enjoying myself. After the 5th match though? The servers crapped out again and I failed to connect to another player.

I didn’t manage to connect with any friends because none were online, but as the week goes on I will be trying out different things and posting my general impressions, so stay tuned!

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