Smash Brothers is a very popular franchise. So popular in fact, that just pointing it out is redundant. Even without the Nintendo characters that draw so many to it, Smash has a pull all its own. Smash Brother’s gameplay lends itself exceedingly well to competitive spectrum.
All three entries in the series enjoy competitive scenes that can’t be ignored; especially after the second game, Super Smash Brothers: Melee, was a main event at Evo 2013, the single biggest competitive fighting game tournament in the U.S. At the event, Melee’s livestream broke viewership records for fighting game related streams in general.
First a little history you may have forgotten. Following the original Smash Brothers, Melee was released in 2001 for the Gamecube. This sequel revised, refined and expanded upon the established brand. Melee gathered a much larger competitive scene than its predeccesor, with tournaments happening all over the country, which continued up until the release of the third game, Super Smash Brothers Brawl, which came in 2008 for the Wii.
Brawl brought many changes to the game play, and with it, a split in the community. Many preferred Melee’s more technical, more aggressive, and generally faster environment; while others chose to move to Brawl’s slower, more defensive and character diverse style. Melee players continued on, having mostly stabilized its metagame, while the Brawl players explored their new game.
The gameplay differences between Melee and Brawl caused quite a divide in the series’ competitive scene, Project M might just bring many of those players back together.
Project M is as quoted by its developers, the PMBR (Project M Backroom), “Project M is a community-made mod of Brawl inspired by Super Smash Bros. Melee’s gameplay designed to add rich, technical gameplay to a balanced cast of characters while additionally enhancing the speed of play. Project M employs new codes which seamlessly add in new, universal features to the entire cast to add technical variety to all characters.”
While still in playable demo phases right now, that statement holds very true. Every character has a wealth of techniques, options, and tricks to learn and master in their re-imagined state. Weaker characters have been sharpened and expanded upon to be able to go toe-to-toe with the stronger characters.
This is what I enjoy the most, character choice is no longer so important, any character has a fair shot. I myself am a Bowser main, always have been always will be, and it is such a pleasure to be able to use the playstyle I enjoy the most without losing some matchups all but automatically.
Project M’s most recent public release puts it at Demo 2.6. The Demo is very easy to use as well, no hacking required! All you need is a 2 GB SD card, a Wii, a copy of Brawl, and the demo files that can be found on Project M’s website(Which you can find by clicking that nice Project M logo). The game engine is spot on, save for a few unresolved issues.
Here is a match from a recent tournament using the most recent demo. Of the characters featured, Wolf has seen the most changes in the transition from Brawl to P:M, while Falcon and Marth are essentially their versions. Though Falcon has gotten a few small buffs.
The work the PMBR has put into their pet project really shows, and while I can’t agree with every single choice they make, the project as a whole gives me something great to look forward to.