I've had a moment to mull over my Sunday Brawlfest to bring you the following brief impressions of the experience.
I'm 50% of the way through the Subspace Emissary. After I beat it once I probably won't play it again, except maybe for some of the bosses. In terms of actual gameplay it isn't particularly interesting. I'm ultimately playing it for the story, which is as cheesy as it is epic, humorous as it is serious. It's interesting, and it conveys everything without words. It's also very random.
As for multiplayer, I'll have to reserve my judgement until I can batter around some friends. I am impressed with the new CPU opponents. Before, a level 3 opponent was barely a challenge if I was on severe pain killers, sleep deprived, and managing an investment portfolio while playing. Now they actually fight, and fight decently. The stages are phenomenal, and the items remain interesting and varied.
I really haven't had much time to give many of the characters a good shake down. I primarily focused on Captain Falcon and Zelda. The former seems to have become more well rounded, with "the Knee" being a more precise maneuver while his previously "meh" specials have been made more effective. Zelda has become the queen of precision, with almost every non-smash move having a sweet spot that will send enemies flying. You also can't just walk out of her multi-hit smashes anymore (a godsend indeed).
Overall, I've had a blast with the game. I picked it up after church and the next thing I knew it was 1AM.
The only hitch was that apparently Nintendo's Wifi service was overloaded with people. I couldn't successfully play with my relatives far and wide. Sadness.