Trust me when I say, you haven’t lived till you have seen Sly Cooper get smacked square in the face by Kratos or watched as Fat Princess pummels a Helghast soldier mercilessly. This is Playstation All Stars Battle Royal and it is looking sweet.
So let me enlighten you as to why this game is shaping up to be so awesome and why it is (contrary to popular belief) not like Super Smash Bros. However, I will be the first to admit, on the surface the comparison with Nintendo’s successful fighting series is an easy one to make and the idea of pitting franchise favourites against each other in an up to four player brawl is something that both IPs do have in common.
However despite these initial similarities, beneath the hood the games are quite different. I suppose some good analogies would be Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat or DOA and Tekken. Sure these games share much in the way of style and mechanics, but are radically different to one another.
The first difference you will no doubt notice is that you cannot ‘ring out’ your opponent. As this is the fundamental objective in all Super Smash Bros iterations, the lack of this element instantly makes Playstation All Stars a different experience. The second major contrast, not only in comparison to Smash Bros but also in comparison to all fighting games, is that there is no health bar or percentage meter for the characters. The objective here is instead to charge a special attack meter.
Each character has three different types of special attack, each more powerful and each containing the potential for different amounts of kills. If you hit an opponent it will charge your special meter or they will drop orbs that will charge the meter of any other player who collects them. When you kill an opponent they will respawn almost immediately but you will get a point. Whoever has the most points at the end of the timed match claims victory.
Other than the tutorial, this was the only mode that I was given access to, however, the full release will have many variations on this formula. Despite this, the standard versus mode was enough to more than impress. The brilliance of this brawler’s structure is how it is balanced. It is up to you if you want to use your level one super to get one kill or save it and potentially get six or seven with your level three. However you run the risk of running out of time and getting no points at all with the latter method, once again highlighting the work that has gone in to make this a fair fighter.
Moving away from the game’s mechanics for a moment, the style and visuals here are also extremely impressive. The roster is varied and every character that I have used so far has not only looked great but also felt great to use. From PaRappa the Rapper to Twisted Metal’s Sweet Tooth, all the characters move well and have original and varied play styles.
Another major contributor to this title’s look is the stages. Much like the roster itself, there is something for everyone here from the God of War meets Patapon stage to the interactive Buzz the Quiz stage, all flow beautifully, effecting the action just enough so as not to annoy.
Another major selling point for this brawler is Sony’s recent Cross Play feature. This effectively doubles the value for money as if you buy the PS3 version you will get the PS Vita version for free, and vice versa. Having played both versions it has to be said that the PS3 edition is possibly the better of the two, however, the difference is minimal. This also adds the great feature of being able to continue your game on-the-go, something that the PS Vita should be used for by developers more often.
So far Playstation All Stars Battle Royal is shaping up great. It runs well, is fun to play and is a welcome new spin on the fighting genre. The only worry here is that so many will dismiss it as just a Smash Bros clone rather than giving it the proper chance it deserves. Personally, I can’t wait until I can get stuck into the full version. Little Big Planet’s Sackboy versus Metal Gear’s Raiden with Nathan Drake and Fat Princess thrown in is a match I have been waiting my whole life to see.