Most of the time you'll be spending in the game is in vs. mode, or rather "Smash." Though if you're playing the game alone often, chances are you'll be spending more time in the online "For Glory" mode. This is one added feature that is a nice touch when playing through Wi-Fi.. Nintendo has never really dealt with leadership boards like rival companies Sony and Microsoft have. Sadly "For Glory" is a bit of a disappointment because there's no technical leadership boards; you can't see where your stats line up with players across the globe.. Hopefully there's more of a standings in the home console version. Also, after the horrible lag that plagued the online matches back in Brawl, one would think Nintendo would have fixed it for the sequel 6 years later. Sadly that's not the case, you will run into lag. In a modern first party Nintendo game, it's a real shame.
Moving back to normal offline play, the 3DS game plays extremely smooth and well. Is it better than Brawl's gameplay? Not necessarily, but it isn't worst either. It takes away the unnecessary tripping from the Wii game, which most players are happy about I'm sure. Interestingly, "edge guard" is no longer a factor. So you can't hold onto a ledge and the other player plummets to his or her doom anymore. Whether that's a good or bad thing is up to the person. The controls transition well from the standard controller onto the handheld. They can of course be configured to the player's needs, but as default there are no complaints to be had.
Unarguably the biggest draw of Smash is the character roster. Leading up to its release, there was always hype to see which character would make it in. The game has a solid selection, bringing in a lot of the veterans while adding in quite a few awesome newcomers. Mega Man and Pac-Man are arguably the biggest of the new characters, and they don't disappoint in the slightest. Shulk, Greninja, and Little Mac are also worthy additions with diverse movesets. There are however a few questionable decisions regarding the characters. For one thing, it's awesome Bowser Jr's alternate costumes literally transform him into different characters, so why can't that be applied to others? Why is Dark Pit his own character when he could be a swap for regular Pit? Why can't Samus go all the way with her color swap and be Dark Samus? If Robin has a girl palette swap, why is Lucina a separate character from Marth when she's essentially the same thing? Same with Mario and Dr. Mario, why have two separate characters? It's not necessarily a bad thing to have those characters, but when you think about it they're taking up space for others. If Dr. Mario could be brought back, why not Mewtwo? The latter is the one everyone had been clamoring for. Unlocking the characters is rather easy also, there's very little challenge in acquiring them.
The game boasts a solid selection of unique stages. One of my favorites is Dream Land, which literally puts inside the Game Boy as it navigates through that first Kirby level. There are a number of 3DS exclusive ones, so it'll be interesting to see what the Wii U version brings to the table. One of the most notable things about the Smash series is its soundtrack. Each game brings impressive themes and remixes from all different games. The soundtrack here is generally underwhelming in comparison. For example, the Final Destination theme is definitely the worst yet. Still, that's not to say the soundtrack is bad, (the new Battlefield theme sounds nice) it's just underwhelming when compared to the stellar soundtrack from Brawl. If it's one thing the game does improve on over its predecessors, it's items. It has a lot of impressive new additions, such as the Ore Club and Blue Shell. Final Smashes are for the most part improved. Kirby has a much more impressive sword attack, Luigi has a more "normal" one with his Poltergeist 3000, and even Mario's, while still not amazing, is actually (and thankfully) improved.
Overall, Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS is an incredibly fun game with some shortcomings. (The first mistake is no intro cutscene, how lazy is that? Even the original, which came out on the Nintendo 64 15 years ago had a CGI intro.) A lot of the previous paragraphs may have sounded negative, but that's because this game was held to a very high standard and in many areas it didn't achieve the greatness of brawl. Hopefully the Wii U version delivers the definitive next gen Smash experience. Nonetheless Super Smash 3DS is a must have, what beats battling on the go?