Since the series began in 1999 “Super Smash Bros” has been the first choice for many people when it comes to four player fighting mayhem, offering a new direction from the “classic” style of fighters such as “Street Fighter” or “Mortal Kombat”. Now however, Sony have released their own effort in the ever growing fighter genre.
Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale was released exclusively on PS3 late last year and features many characters from playstation franchises, as well as some third party characters.
So who’s in it?
As mentioned above, the game features classic characters from the Playstation throughout it’s history including “Jak and Daxter”, “Ratchet and Clank” and “Kratos” from God of War as well as some third party characters such as Bioshock’s “Big Daddy”.
Here is the full character roster:
The characters included do offer a nice variety for all play styles allowing those who prefer playing with archetypes, for example, the slow, heavy “Big Daddy” plays similarly to “Ganon” or “Bowser” from “Super Smash Bros” whilst jack of all trades “Dante” is reminiscent of “Link” and the nimble “Parappa” plays like “Ness”
The characters are well thought out and play well whilst retaining key skills and quirks from their individual series, and will keep fans of the characters happy,
I do have a complaints however, there are no unlockable characters in the game, meaning what you have from day one is all you will have unless you pay for DLC later in the year, this unfortunately can shorten replay value and makes single player predictable. Another minor irk is that “Evil Cole” is made as a completely new character, whilst retaining the moveset and animation as the original “Cole” I feel this was a tad lazy on the developers part as there are many influential characters that could have featured, such as “Niko Bellic” from the “GTA” franchise. Characters are also a bit unfairly balanced, meaning the “Tier System” that was created by fans of “Super Smash Bros” can be called upon with characters such as “Fat Princess” or “Parappa” being defeated with ease by an overpowered character such as “Kratos” or “Heihachi” even by new inexperienced players.
To add the somewhat small roster, Sony plans to release characters as Downloadable content the first of which being in January 2013 an consisting of Emmett Graves from “Starhawk” and Kat from “Gravity Rush”
The gameplay is somewhat mediocre, yet solid. The controls take a little while to get used to, especially for fans of the SSB franchise as the game takes a slightly different turn in how the mechanics of the matches work. Players are all summoned to the stage and can fight using an array of moves personalised to each character, the big difference however, is how KOs are gained. PS All-stars unlike many games in this genre does not use a ring out system, neither does it use health bars, players can only score points by KOing another player by using their special move (activated by pressing the right trigger). These moves have to be built up in combat as players try to fill their “Special Bar” and come in three tiers, whilst on all three a hit is a definite KO, the power and usability of the move increases. For example, Heihachi’s first tier move is a simple kick that will KO one player, however his second tier summons Kuma (The bear from the Tekken Series) that will move around the stage independently of the player and KO multiple players.
The scoring system works by awarding the player +2 points per KO and -1 per fall, in timed battles, the player with the highest score wins. There are also options to choose stocks if the player would rather play with lives rather than against the clock.
there are a few items in the game which are references form the franchises included in game, however few of these are particularly useful and just add a bit of spice to the match.
The single player is a lot less enjoyable, it features an arcade mode similar to how the “Soulcalibur” series plays, the battles however seem random and there is not really any story behind it. It is obvious that this was added last minute by Sony, as it just feels uninspired and rushed, a far cry from the enjoyable multiplayer mode.
For me, the best part about the game are the highly innovative and thoroughly enjoyable stages in which you fight on. The stages are well designed, offer a lot of space and are very aesthetically pleasing, there is also an option to use “Stage Hazards” these are parts of the stages designed to harm the player and cause KOs.
Each stage is based on a game franchise either associated with one of the playable characters, or a PS franchise. The stages look fantastic and offer a great “Stage Invasion” by another franchise, in which part of another franchise will literally gatecrash the stage, sometimes these invasions can be stage hazards, other times they are purely for aesthetic purposes. Either way, it is a highly original idea that offers a change for the player, and doesn’t often fail to put a smile on our faces.
Graphically speaking, the game is a mixed bag. The stages look gorgeous, but the rest of the game, not so much. The characters look more in place with an early PS3 game, and the menu screens look awful, considering the potential for graphics the PS3 has, we were really let down by the finished product. The attention to detail was nice however, each character having little throwbacks to their original games showed the developers put a lot of effort into design.
So it’s not a complete miss, Playstation All-Stars: Battle Royale is a good multiplayer game with a variety of characters and stages which promises a good laugh if played with friends, the biggest problem with the game is that it comes up short of expectations, some parts of the game feel rushed and this can dampen the experience slightly. If Sony were to sort these problems out with a sequel, and take more time in improving graphics, character selection and beef up the otherwise pointless single player mode, Super Smash Brothers could have real competition for the multiplayer fighting crown.
Good fun with friends, solid controls and original fighting system, let down by the lack of characters and downright pointless single player.
Stages are beautiful, but the rest reminds us of an early PS3 game. The menu is uglier than a 1970’s bathroom and is reminiscent of the PS1.
Good use of music featured from various Sony franchises, however the soundbites from characters can begin to grate after a while.
The game is solid, and offers lots of fun with friends, but presents itself poorly from a single player point of view.
With friends that is, we can see many an evening of this with pizza and beer and has potential for a good laugh. Won’t be playing single player again though