PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is a new IP from Sony that combines all of their beloved characters from first party games and mashes them together in different arenas to fight to the bloody death. Okay, so maybe they’re not exactly killing each other brutally like Kratos or Sweet Tooth would definitely do. The game follows the fighting game style of Super Smash Bros. in that characters can jump about a small battlefield while fighting three other enemies with their own attacks, the environment, or items.
A lot of people scoffed when All-Stars was announced saying it was obviously ripping off Super Smas Bros. and that Sony’s mascots being placed in a game together seemed force. Yeah, maybe they are obviously ripping off Super Smash Bros., but to say that Sony’s mascots don’t deserve their own game together is a disservice to all their franchises. There is enough variety and character among them that it simply works. The gameplay mechanics, on the other hand, need more work.
I’m not saying that it was awful and entirely unplayable, but there’s no excuse for characters not moving as fluidly as they do in their original games. For the record, I played as Jak and then as Drake. I kicked total butt as Jak, but I attribute that to beginner’s luck as even though his attacks were more fluid than Drake’s, I still didn’t get any sense of combos. I’m not the number one player in fighting games; in fact I’m probably the last. But with Super Smash Bros. I could at least pull off an inkling of a clear combo.
That’s really my main problem with All-Stars, I couldn’t seem to make a combo link whatsoever. The most was maybe linking together two attacks with Jak. Drake was ridiculous, even doing the same punch attack led to him just redoing it over and over. That is to say instead of doing a jab and then an uppercut, he’d do a jab, stop, another jab, and stop. It felt clunky and it really put a damper on the fast pace that a game like this should have. Hopefully this changes some or at the very least hopefully the rest of the characters are much smoother with their attacks. There also seem to be a small amount of attacks. I found that pressing down and triangle was basically just like doing the triangle attack to enemies below you rather than doing another move all together. Square’s attacks seem to switch up depending on what direction you’re pushing the analog stick, but that’s about it.
The arenas themselves are awesome. You’ll see a lot of familiar places modeled after first party PlayStation games and it’s a complete fan service package. As for items I didn’t really see another besides this bomb type one that enabled you to throw it and make it explode where it lands. There’s a super power that you can unleash, seemingly when you have kicked enough ass, which makes your character do a special move. For Jak he turned into Dark Jak and made the ground blow up around the enemies. I didn’t kick enough asses as Drake to see his. If you would ask me how the characters get hurt, I would tell you I have no idea. There’s a life bar that gets depleted the more you get attacked but then will regenerate when you’re attacking or just standing around not getting hurt. It’s reminiscent of WCW Vs NWO for the N64 if anybody remembers it. The smaller your bar, the more likely you are of being knocked out of the arena and “killed.” Then again I could be totally wrong and that wasn’t even a life bar.
A good point was brought up to me by fellow games blogger and friend, David Rodriguez, that maybe it’s not so much that PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is blatantly ripping off Super Smash Bros. but rather that this specific sub-genre in fighting games hasn’t been explored enough by too many games. The most popular one that comes to mind is Super Smash and that will be the one that everyone will quickly blame Sony for copying, but in reality there have been others to do it too. I for one am glad to see it explored more because they’ve always been my favorite kind of fighting game. It’s just plain fun rather than all about the combos. If you’re excited to see what else All-Stars has in store, be on the lookout for its release November 20th, 2012.