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  1. #1
    Let There Be Rock vashivihan's Avatar
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    Smash Bros. Brawl: Connecting Online

    Hey, you. Yes, you – the one living under a rock. Super Smash Bros. Brawl features a four-player online mode on Wii, which means that the fighter's robust multiplayer experience is no longer confined to the living room couch. (Not that local multiplayer isn't amazing – it certainly is – but now you have other options if you so desire them.) A couple of weeks ago, Nintendo released the first video of the game's online mode in action. In it, the company showed a four-player battle conducted between its Tokyo and Kyoto offices and the footage highlighted a very smooth, seemingly lag free experience. (This, despite claims by the Big N that online matches over long distances could really bog down – a truth that had more than a few Brawl hopefuls downright terrified.)

    Well, we wasted no time putting Nintendo's claims to the test. Shortly after we received our import copies of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, we held a few contests between our San Francisco and Los Angeles locations. Bear in mind a couple of notable differences from Nintendo's own tests. First, our offices are a little farther apart – nearly 500 miles, to be exact. And we lowly Americans don't have the benefit of one of the world's fastest Internet backbones, as Japan does. Still, we're very happy to report that our two-on-two experience perfectly mimicked Nintendo's own – in other words, one-hundred percent lag free and two-hundred percent awesome.

    To play against your friends in Smash Bros. Brawl, you must first exchange friend codes. The game does not use your Wii System number, as some had expected. Once you've done that, you simply choose the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection option from the title's main menu, wait for about 10 seconds to connect, and then choose from one more option: friends or random battles. Friend based battles are represented on-screen by a clickable heart icon and random battles show a globe. Obviously, for the purposes of this test, we chose to select competitors from our friends list – specifically, a Wii console owned by IGN Nintendo Team executive editor Craig Harris, who loves Yoshi and hates democracy. The connection process was extremely simple, enabling us to quickly jump into the character and stage selection screens, and then eventually to a load screen equipped with a punching bag, which you can practice against as you wait for the battle to synch up.


    It was very easy to plug in an extra Wave Bird locally and add a second person to our console – and the same goes for Craig and another player in San Francisco – so that we could host a four-player battle over a single connection.

    The connection powering the fights themselves was invisible, meaning that – save for the initial load screen, which is interactive, as we've explained – you wouldn't even be able to notice that you are battling over a network. Basically, in our tests it was flawless – we couldn't ask for better. As you can see in one of our new videos, while the game does not support voice over IP via headset (boo, Nintendo!), you can send simple one-line messages mapped either to the D-Pad on a traditional controller or A button + D-Pad on the Wii remote. The Japanese build does not censor out vulgarity, we learned – many of our catch phrases were exceptionally colorful. (You cannot send these messages, however, in random battles.)

    Speaking of which, we attempted to connect to several random battles against players in Japan and were never successful. It's possible that Nintendo is currently blocking US-based servers from participating in online games, although we have no proof – other than being repeatedly locked out of online matches – to support this theory. Interestingly enough, we could participate in a number of spectator matches, which enable you to watch other players duke it out. You can even bet on the matches before they begin using coins you've collected throughout your experiences.

    We still have many more hours to put into the online experience and there are still several unanswered questions. For one, how does the experience hold up with four different connections versus two? And will regular DSL or cable modem connections perform as well as our dedicated lines from the IGN offices? We're certainly hopeful. At the very least, gamers who have better than average home connections – fiber, anyone? -- are guaranteed an amazing online experience. We'll let you know about the rest just as soon as we finish conducting a few more tests.

    Meanwhile, we've also posted a couple new movies of Solid Snake in action. We'll be sure to grab the Metal Gear Solid hero's final smash in the coming days, so stay tuned
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  2. #2
    M'bating to Z Suit Samus Atomheart's Avatar
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    Read that. It's good to see that they found online to be smooth, but that's not saying much. The players were only 500 miles apart, and they were using some pretty fast T1 lines. The real test will be playing people from across the country on standard DSL and Cable lines. Chances are, if you're playing random battles, you're not going to be paired up with people in your state, but rather people from all over the country. Let's hope the game still remains lag-free. If not, the online (and thus the game itself for many people such as myself) will be taking a final death blow after all of the other online lackings (no voice chat, no stats tracking, no leaderboards, no taunts with strangers, no matching to skill level, etc.).

  3. #3
    WiiChat Member Druidan's Avatar
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    "final Death Blow"? Wow are you pessimistic or what!?

    I mean, sure, online with no lag in Brawl would be (hopefully will be) amazing, but that isn't the whole game. To say it's a death blow is sorta exagerating it a bit don't you think?

    I'm a rather intelligent individual who has the bad habit of doing rather unintelligent things...
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  4. #4
    M'bating to Z Suit Samus Atomheart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Druidan
    "final Death Blow"? Wow are you pessimistic or what!?

    I mean, sure, online with no lag in Brawl would be (hopefully will be) amazing, but that isn't the whole game. To say it's a death blow is sorta exagerating it a bit don't you think?
    Not really. For many people, including myself, the only thing carrying our interest in this game is the online. The single player is pretty much just and add-on to the main portion of the game--multiplayer. Although the game will have local multiplayer (which is certainly great), not all of us are school children who have access to other school children who play video games. As an adult, I personally don't know anyone who would have much more than a passing interest (if any) in playing SSBB.

    Therefore, the only redemption for this game (for me and many others) is the online capability, which has already been limited to the point where it is barely even worthwhile. If lag becomes a ubiquitous enemy, it will be the final deathblow to the online portion of the game, and thus the game itself.

    So, no: I'm not being pessimistic. I'm just being realistic on the part of significant portion of the consumers of this game.

  5. #5
    WiiChat Member Druidan's Avatar
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    I suppose Circumstance does have some bearing on the value of online in the game. Obviously you are entitled to your opinions.

    One note though: I too am an adult.

    I'm a rather intelligent individual who has the bad habit of doing rather unintelligent things...
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  6. #6
    3D Artist sagema's Avatar
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    You build up your friends list. Like any game where you build up your list, you eventually venture away from playing strangers and focus on your friends. This is how you keep people on any online game. From Star Craft to WoW a friend's list works. It doesn't mean people will abandon playing strangers, it does mean people will eventually spend more time with people they know... a little.

    Result less lag, less drops, more communication. If a player does drop Nintendo implemented a AI feature where AI takes over the player that dropped.

  7. #7
    M'bating to Z Suit Samus Atomheart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sagema
    You build up your friends list. Like any game where you build up your list, you eventually venture away from playing strangers and focus on your friends. This is how you keep people on any online game. From Star Craft to WoW a friend's list works. It doesn't mean people will abandon playing strangers, it does mean people will eventually spend more time with people they know... a little.

    Result less lag, less drops, more communication. If a player does drop Nintendo implemented a AI feature where AI takes over the player that dropped.
    What does playing with friends have to do with lag? If random matches lag, so will friends matches. The only advantage with friends matches in terms of lag is that you can limit yourself to people nearby. But then you're REALLY limiting the online capabilities of the game even more than they already have been!

  8. #8
    3D Artist sagema's Avatar
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    No, you probably won't add the people who lag to your friend's list. Same concept as Star Craft. You avoid the players with the red ping. And no, it didn't limit who you played in Star Craft, it helped.

    You make it sound like people will only be able to play against those in a 3 mile radius. Try 500 miles.

  9. #9
    CheapAssGamer Evi1d33d's Avatar
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    I got my import working but got no one to play online
    If you imported Brawl PM me your friend code and so we can have some 1 v 1 online

    PS: Dam Snake is hard to use...

  10. #10
    M'bating to Z Suit Samus Atomheart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sagema
    No, you probably won't add the people who lag to your friend's list. Same concept as Star Craft. You avoid the players with the red ping. And no, it didn't limit who you played in Star Craft, it helped.

    You make it sound like people will only be able to play against those in a 3 mile radius. Try 500 miles.
    Do you have any concept of mileage? 500 miles is NOT that big of a radius (in the US at least).

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