Published on November 6th, 2017 | by Rob Kwong
Brawlhalla Review : Here Comes A New Challenger!
There’s nothing like hanging out with some friends and playing games, and I’m pretty sure if you’re like me and my friends we all get a bit competitive and talk a lot of smack whenever one of us wins. Just like the feeling you get when you’re playing a fighting game like Smash Brothers and you’re the one standing on the 1st place podium while all the other characters are clapping for your character. You wanna get up and start taunting and dancing in front of them and claim that throne to brag. Brawlahalla is definitely one of those games. It’s pure, it’s fun and it’s simple.
The first time we started up Brawlhalla we were a little skeptical to see how this game would play. There wasn’t much, if any, tuturoial to teach you how to play the game. Then again they say that one of the best ways to learn something, is to just jump right in and get your feet wet. One nice thing that I noticed upon starting the game, was that the game would sync with the server to make sure files are up to date, and hopefully be used against possible cheaters. Before I really jump into the game, Brawlhalla needs a little background information. Brawlhalla’s motto for the game is “FREE TO PLAY. NO GIMMICKS. No Pay to Win. No Pay to Play. No hidden fees. No monthly costs. No pay walls. And it’s going to stay that way forever.”
For a game that’s been created for an even playing field, it definitely caters to all types of fighters, or as they’ve been named Legends, since it is Brawlhalla, where only the mightiest Legends go to battle. Currently the roster of Legends, with the newly added Corsair Queen Sidra, is at 35 and there seems like there will be more available down the road. Having so many available Legends with so many different fighting styles, with up to 11 different weapon types, there are a ton of choices of play style, but I’m sure you’ll find a Legend that you’ll mesh with over all the others eventually after a little bit of time. Every Legend has a choice of two types of weapons. All players start bare knuckled, within a few seconds of scrambling and scrapping weapons will spawn around the arena. The eleven weapons consist of a long hammer, rocket lance, short sword, dual blasters, spear, katar, battle-axe, bow and energy arrow, gauntlets, scythe, and the newly added cannon.
Brawlhalla isn’t new surprisingly, it’s been on the PC for almost 2 years but is newly released to the PS4. Unless you were a PC gamer and had time with it you’ll, definitely spend time on learning different techniques. A few favorite weapons of mine have been the battle-axe, sword, and gauntlets. To say that the weapons are situational items is pretty true. Each Legend’s combination of weapons gives the Legend personality. Bigger characters tend to be more brawler types and do more damage but are slower at attacking. While other characters that use weapons that have less damage, like the katar or bow and energy arrows, are faster at attacking. Planning and adapting seems like a smart add in for the game. While most arena fighting games have different types of item drops to give players advantage, Brawlhalla simplifies it with the two tier weapon system and four different gadgets that drop in the game. The four other gadgets that spawn are the spiked ball, bouncy bomb, mine, and the horn that summons a sidekick which drops off a weapon where it was blown, and does damage to whomever it runs into while flying through. Swapping, throwing, or losing weapons, (yes, you can get beat up so bad you drop things which is awesome!) will challenge other players to respond to what you do, and the combination of a way to attack are almost endless.
Right off the back you’ll most likely compare it to Smash Brothers since it’s one of the most popular multiplayer based fighting games. Brawlhalla is pretty technical just like Smash Brothers is. Edge guards, dodges/blocks, anti-air, and rushdowns are just some of the things are very much incorporated into the game. By no means am I a fighting gamer expert, but Brawlhalla plays very much like Smash Brothers with subtle differences. Legends have specific special abilities with weapons equipped, while when they are bare fisted they perform a heavy/charged attack, depending on how long you hold the button for. There’s also no bare handed throw/grabbing mechanic unless the weapon you use offers it, along with no sustained guard/block. Instead of a having the bubble like you do in Smash Brothers, the block is a quick flash that blocks instantaenously, but the button cant be spammed and there is a brief cool down for the block. Which means that when fights happen, there’s a lot of footsies and planned attacks with a good amount of juggling. Hit boxes are pretty accurate. I mean what’s a fighting game without accurate hit detection? The window for missed attacks and punishment is huge, so saying “Get Good” is definitely the term to use.
To sum everything up for Brawlhalla, I’d have to say it’s super fun. It’s a great way to get a few quick competitve games in and a great party game. There’s literally not that big of a learning curve to pick up and play, but to be awesome at it and climb the ranks… There’s a huge learning curve. Not to say that the game wont reward you. You earn coins through challenges, and when you play ranked games (when you’re good enough or not) you earn points to unlock different costumes, Legends, and other cosmetic items. The fighting in Brawlhalla seems very pure, meaning there’s not much to it. When you’re good enough you can enter into the Brawlhalla World Championship, with a prize pool of $100,000 this year it’ll be something to watch come November 3rd to the 5th. For Brawlhalla to be this competitive to have that large of a prize pool, I’m pretty sure this game will be around for a while. All in all, Brawlhalla is definitely a game worth picking up if you miss playing games like Smash Brothers but don’t have the Nintendo console to play it on. One great thing about it is that it’s online based, so no need to get extra controllers for friends, and no need to invite them over to play. Also check out our hands-on with the game we did a few weeks ago on this link or above Let’s Play by clicking here.