Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the 3rd, and arguably the best, game in the Super Smash Bros. series. If you own a Wii and don't have this game, then go out RIGHT NOW and buy it. Seriously, just stop reading this and go buy it; it is an excellent game.
Right, now that you're back, let's get started. The Super Smash Bros. series of games started way back on the N64, as a little game that Nintendo just threw out there, unaware of what it would do to the gaming community. It was a fighting game with all of Nintendo's flagship characters, such as Mario, Link, Samus, and many more. It became one of the greatest hits on their 64-bit system, next to games such as Goldeneye 007, Perfect Dark, and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Two years later, in 2001, they released the 2nd game: Super Smash Bros. Melee, on the Gamecube. Like its predecessor, it was one of the best games on the Gamecube; even years after it was released, it was still a major game in tournaments. Now, 7 years after Melee, Brawl has finally come out; and it was well worth the wait.
The basic premise of the Smash Bros. games is simple: knock your opponent(s) out of the screen. Unlike traditional fighting games, Smash Bros. Brawl has a percentage count instead of a lifebar. The higher a player's damage percentage, the more likely they will be knocked out. To accomplish this, all players have a wide variety of moves to use, and items to assist them. Items include beam swords, baseball bats, and Fire Flowers (from the Mario universe), among many others.
The first game in the series, Super Smash Bros. had only 12 characters available, with 4 of those characters being secrets. The second game, Super Smash Bros. Melee, had 26 characters, and 11 of those characters are secret. Super Smash Bros. Brawl has a whopping 35 characters, with 14 of those characters being secret. The biggest change in Brawl, however, was the inclusion of two third-party developers (basically, characters made by companies not directly under Nintendo's ownership). While the first two games only had Nintendo characters, Brawl included Solid Snake (from Konami's Metal Gear series) and Sonic (from Sega's Sonic series). Some of the more interesting characters in the roster include Pit from Kid Icarus, an old NES game; Ike, from the Gamecube and Wii Fire Emblem games; and a nameless Pokemon Trainer, from the Pokemon games. All of the characters feel moderately balanced, and a few of them have been changed greatly; for example, Ganondorf has been considerably slowed down compared to his Melee version, and Fox's attacks have been sped up. Aside from playable characters, hundreds of Nintendo, Sega, and Konami characters also have cameos, whether it be an assist trophy (basically an item which summons a computer character to assist you), a collectable trophy, or a sticker.
One of the biggest features of Brawl is online play. However, Nintendo's online service isn't nearly as good as Xbox Live; while it's free, there is no voice chatting, you have to have friend codes to play with your friends, and sometimes there is slight lag; possibly because of the thousands of people playing online. You can also spectate online matches, and bet on who you think will win the match.
Aside from fighting, there are also minigames to play. For example, there is a coin launcher minigame that will let you win new trophies by shooting them by coins obtained by playing matches. In addition, there are also a handful of demo versions of full Nintendo games, such as Super Mario Bros. on the NES, F-Zero on the SNES, and Star Fox 64 on the N64. These provide a small distraction from the main game; but if you've never experienced them before, this is a cheap way to do so. The demos are quite short; for example, the F-Zero demo is only 40 seconds long, or once you reach a certain check point.
The controls in the game are excellent. There are 4 modes of control: the Wii Remote on its side; the Wii Remote and the Nunchuck attachment; the Classic controller; and even the Gamecube controller. In the opinions of most people, the Gamecube controller is best, mainly because of the strong rumble, the comfort, and the button layout. The Wii Remote + Nunchuck is not bad either, but I'm personally not used to it because of the unusual button layout. The buttons are fully customizable, on all 4 methods of control.
For the completionists, this game has a lot of things to do and unlock. Aside from all the playable characters, there are also hundreds of trophies and stickers to collect; and there are also accomplishments, such as using a character a certain amount of times, or beating a game mode on a certain difficulty. If you absolutely must unlock every single thing in the game, collect all trophies and stickers, and achieve all accomplishments, then you will most likely be playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl until Nintendo comes out with their next system.
Overall, Super Smash Bros. Brawl is an excellent game. If you have any interest in action or fighting games, then Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the game for you. If you don't have a Wii, then it might actually be a good idea to go out and buy one, even if it's only for this game.