Written by Twisted Ideas
The beta for PlayStation All-Stars is now available for PlayStation Plus users for the next two weeks. I have had the chance to play All-Stars at FanExpo Canada. Even after watching gameplay videos and playing the game without having the time to sit down I really didn’t understand what was happening. Oddly there are less characters available in the beta than the build I played in the summer but what the heck. The Beta contains online matches with a three-minute four player Free for All settings.
Mechanically PlayStation All-Stars does play like Super Smash Bros but how you approach the game is significantly different (At least in the timed free for all). Your goal is to get the most points by getting kills. A kill is worth 2 points and a death is a loss of 1. Unlike Smash Bros. the only way to get kills is by using Super attacks. You have to earn meter for Supers by fighting and collecting orbs. There are three levels for Super and they are all unblockable but mostly avoidable. Level 1 tends to be a mid ranged horizontal attack (think of MK9’s X-Rays). Level 2 tends to improve mobility for a short time. Level 3 vary but difficult and some impossible to avoid attacks that last for a fair amount of time stops your from using your own Supers.
At first it was difficult to grasp what was happening. The screen is very busy and you need to be very aware of players. There are three main attack buttons each having four different attacks on the ground and air depending on the position of the analog stick. That is 24 attacks and for a beta without a single player training mode it’s a lot to take in. Eventually I got the hang of the controls and how to approach combat.
Getting the Points
Your main goal is to be building meter to get kills and once you get used to your character that shouldn’t be a problem. What is more important to do is know when to spend said meter to get kills.
I’ve noticed several players spend a majority of a match trying to build three meters for an ultimate attack. Depending on the character this can be effective as you could possibly get 6 kills and 12 points before the Super ends. If you can manage that then good but players can avoid you and targeting three people who probably run off in different directions. Let’s say you get four kills, that’s 8 points. Okay, that’s respectable but let’s also say Player 2 killed you three times with the three meters they build in the same amount of time and Player 3 manages two kills on you as well. You’ve died five times and now have 3 points. Guess what? you are now losing and have about a minute left to play catch up. While that is a specific example it is similar to a match I had against another player.
One of my first matches just to see what Sly Cooper’s Level 3 was ended with me not even gaining the 3 meters. You have to know what your character’s strengths are. Parappa’s level 3 Super is a cinematic attack that is unavoidable (to my knowledge) but can only get 3 kills maximum. Level 1 Supers as far as I can tell can kill 3 players if they are within close proximity. Level 2’s are more reliable for getting kills and get player to run away stopping meter gain. Kratos has a very strong Level 3 but if they’re killed a lot they may be discouraged to use it and fight and try to make up points.
Knowing your tools of destruction
If you can’t fight then you can’t gain meter and you can’t win a match. Since you have 24 standard attacks available it can be hard to remember or know what attacks are useful. That will have to come with time. You should know that some moves have combo potential so you can maximize meter gain. Fighting isn’t as fast as Smash Bros so short hopping isn’t as effective. Like all fighting games you have to play to your character’s strengths. Sly has gadgets that he can use to stun players long enough for combos and while he can’t block he can turn invisible, has a high jump and a parachute to help avoid Supers. Kratos chains have good mid range and has good angles and can spam arrows.
This is only the beta with 6of the 20 characters. IGN has mentioned that there will be stock matches. Once I got used to the game and I had more fun then I thought I would have.. I am not sure if 1v1 will work that well because of the way kills work and running away could be a viable if it’s timed. I can imagine 2v2 being fun but as of right now is speculation. I’m not sure how well this game be received by the fighting game community but it is simple enough to be a good party game.