Gaming Review

Super Smash Bros. Brawl Review: Who is the Best Character?

Nearly a month after the hit-game’s release for the Nintendo Wii, Super Smash Bros. Brawl players and fans are no doubt debating which characters should be classified in the low, middle, and top tiers of the character strata. Many players I have had the pleasure of playing with have commented that there is an enjoyable amount of parity in the Brawl character lineup. There just doesn’t seem to be a stand out character as of yet. But if there is one, who is the best character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl? Let’s take a look.

Pit is the answer for many players. In short, his total package has some major strong points and only very few weaknesses. His recovery is nearly unbelievable. Only rivaled by Metaknight’s, Pit can cover ridiculous distances to make it back to the map after being knocked off (note: one weakness of the recovery is that if Pit is hit while doing his recovery, not his jumps, he will fall to his death – so use projectiles when he is off the level if when fighting Pit and your character has them). Pit can also chase his enemies off the level to KO them and easily return to the map. Pit has a strong forward smash and a very strong back aerial. His back aerial can be used to KO opponents at surprisingly low percentages. Use his forward run, turn, and short-hop back aerial to clear opponents who are staying on the ground (Pit, the Kid Icarus, effectively will be jumping forwards in a backwards position enabling Pit to use the back aerial). As most players know, Pit’s arrows are very effective at all ranges.

Pit’s weaknesses are the relatively weak standard moves, the “catch” in the recovery, and the predictability of his move-set. Pit relies on combos to deal damage, at which he is fairly effective because of his quickness, but KOing opponents can be tricky. Pit’s KO moves are essentially his forward smash (small range) and his back aerial (hard to implement against a weary opponent). Knowing this, an opponent can avoid these attacks and work on racking up damage on Pit before Pit finally lands the KO. (Note: it could be argued that Pit’s down smash is also a reasonably effective clearing move, or at least a better than average set-up KO move as it launches opponents low and sideways away from the playing surface).

Pit is all in all a very solid character. He is quite easy to learn for beginners, though I would argue his finer points come to fruition more under an advanced player’s control.

Marth is another candidate for best character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Choosing Marth means you will be dictating the pace of any game. His strength, spacing, flexibility, and ground range are each assets. Simply put, Marth’s KO abilities are top-notch. His forward smash is lethal at low percentages, as is his forward aerial (effective in chasing an opponent a short distance off the map or for edge-guarding). Marth can “let the game come to him” so to speak, meaning he has the tools necessary to determine the pace of the game. Because of his relative quickness and outstanding ground range, Marth is difficult to get close to (players who main Pit will discover this). This means he can implement a defensive style, utilizing his range and special counter-move (down B) to man-handle opponents. Marth can also switch gears and bring the hurt to his opponents, who will find it difficult to evade Marth’s deadly blade (try out Marth’s B-button sword combo).

Marth’s weaknesses are few, but crucial. His number one downfall is his comeback. His recovery move his not that long, and once Marth is off the edge he is very vulnerable to air-chasing and edge-guards. His off-the-edge salvation is his counter move (down-B), which allows Marth to avoid being cleared too easily on his return to the playing field.

Marth, if he stays near the center of the map, is one of the toughest characters in the game.

Zelda/Sheik is the final candidate in this analysis for best character in the game. She has great assets and only minor weaknesses – a strong all-around character. First, let’s look at Zelda. In Zelda form, Zelda/Sheik packs a mean punch. She isn’t the fastest character in this state, but she makes up for it with power. Especially in the air, Zelda is very very strong. Some minor moves include the reflecting Toad and the projectile “bomb” (this projectile has one of the largest area of effects in the game).

In Sheik form, Zelda/Sheik becomes a character of Fox-like quickness and Marth-like strength. Sheik’s forward smash is a double kick with the second hit capable of producing clears at reasonably low percentages. Sheik’s speed is unreal, and this is probably her biggest advantage over your opponents. Sheik also uses a fast and quick projectile that is nearly impossible to see on the often eclectic backgrounds of Super Smash Bros. Brawl maps (I suggest creating your own maps, anyway).

Zelda/Sheik has few weaknesses. Her comeback doesn’t have great range, but it isn’t by any means poor. She is a strong character, meaning she doesn’t get knocked too far from the map at relatively mid-high percentages. Zelda/Sheik has great flexibility, also, with the ability to change between Zelda and Sheik to adjust to a given battle and any opponent or character.

This analysis may not have solved the question of who is the best character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but it may have provided some insights into these key characters. Remember that Brawl at least appears to have the makings of a pretty well balanced game, and most characters, under the control of a skilled hand, can be guided to victory.

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Liam Rubin is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Cambodia. He is currently the managing editor of T3 Licensing and a freelance writer.