Written by Twisted Ideas
Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale has been getting a lot of heat from fans because of how similar it looks to Super Smash Bros. Personally, I think the title could use a little work. Despite of what you might think the differences make it stand out from Smash more than you may think. The real question is that has Sony pulled it off.
Playstation All-Stars is a 2D four person fighting game. You have three attack buttons which perform different actions when the analog is in the neutral, side, up or down positions and more when performed in the air. Most characters are able to guard using the L1 button and dodge when pressed with the analog held to either side. Grabs are performed by flicking the right analog stick in one of the four directions. Grabs also cause opponents to lose AP. You can pick up and drop items using the R1 button. When knocked to the ground you can roll to either side or hold the guard button to stay on the ground. While in the air you can dodge, double jump and control your recovery when hit.
The key difference between PS All-Stars and Smash is the Super bar. The only way to get kills is by earning AP for an unblockable Super attack. AP is earned by fighting and collecting orbs and they can also be lost when thrown or hit by certain items. There are three levels of Super. Level 1 tends to be fast to easy to avoid and interrupt. Level 2 tends to be longer and more versatile but can be countered with a Level 1. Level 3 tends to put you on a rampage where the opponents are nearly helpless. With each level the amount of AP needed for the next level is increased.
Uncharted 3 with a splash of Bioshock Infinite
Each stage is a combination of a few games from Sony’s library. Some stage’s layouts change over time and most stages will contain hazards. Some stages benefit from spots where you can gain AP without fighting. Most stages have boundaries but stages with out-of-bounds areas will spawn you back onto the stage stunned for a short time.
Arcade mode small stories for each of the character. They tend to be quirky and fun and they cast doesn’t seem to mind how strange they look to each other. You are put into a series of matches with rising difficult in the timed and kills modes until you face your rival and the final boss. You don’t gain anything specific from Arcade mode except progress towards goals.
There are character trials and challenges lets you get acquainted with the character’s moves and supers even tips on how to avoid them. They will pit you against the CPU so you will have to fight moving targets. You can even set the difficulty to possibly enhance the learning process.
Each character has their own personal rank depending on how often they are used. These levels are used for customization. You can unlock icons, backgrounds and minions for people online to see and you can change your character’s costume, intro and outro poses, taunts and even victory music. There are several milestones that will give you RP for your character’s to level.
Online has ranked and unranked matches. You are randomly matched with players online. Ranked is always a 3-minute free for all and unranked allows for various options such as 2v2 and different game type like stock, timed and kills. If you perform well you will start to earn belts with numbers associated. Every couple of weeks it will save your ranking and reset your belts. There are RP bonuses associated with the ranking you achieve.
Graphics and Sound
It’s strange to see all these thematically different characters all together. Some characters are cartoony, some are realistic and some are a bit of a mix of both. The realistic characters aren’t rendered at the same quality of the games but they still look good. The cartoon-like characters are rendered as best they can without deviating from the original designs and look. It is strange to see this clash of different artistic styles in a single game but for some reason it works.
One of these things doesn’t belong here.
The voices for most of the cast are the same as the original games. The more memorable theme songs from the games are represented in the levels and during Level 3 Supers. During stages when the multiple games merge the music also changes according to the game.
The main issue with the game is that running is too viable. Due to the nature of scoring when you are running getting kills if very difficult. Most of the time you will have to build meter against people who will hit one every five times. Depending on your character even level 2 supers can be avoided outright when you’re expecting them. In Stock and Kills game modes running can easily double and even triple the length of a match.
I like to play 2v2 matches and even if we can wipe out one player the second player runs sometimes manages to even the match or gain the advantage. What this game needs is a punishment for players running away to often. Something like Persona 4 Arena’s Negative Penalty where you take more damage or Final Fantasy Dissidia’s Coward’s Punishment where you are stopped in place for a short time.
Another issue is that it is sometimes hard to keep track on where your character. The screen zooms out when players are at a distance. The larger the map the greater it zooms out. In a Free-For-All game it becomes even harder to keep track for yourself to the point you might mistake yourself with another player. Small and/or dark TV’s will make it even more difficult to tell what is happening on screen.
Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale is a strange experiment. It wants to be a serious fighting game while looking like a party game. As a party game it has a higher learning curve than Smash Bros. with the supers, combos and large move set. Most characters are distinguished enough to be either up close, mid-range, long range fighters and trap characters while still being able to deal with situations outside their comfort zones. There is a decent meta game when using the Super meter because it can mean the difference between a win and a loss. With the amount of unlockables, online and goals to complete Playstation All-Stars is a jam packed game as well as a competent fighter .