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Game Review: Playstation All Stars Battle Royale

Roger Aguirre |
December 2, 2012 | 5:42 p.m. PST



Box Art for PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale (Sony)
Box Art for PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale (Sony)
Playstation All Stars Battle Royale is out for the PS3 and despite the first impression of this game simply being a Super Smash Bros. rip-off , it proves to be something much more.  Playstation All Stars takes some of Sony’s greatest characters, such as Kratos from God of War, PaRappa from PaRappa the Rapper, Cole MacGrath from Infamous, and mixes in some third party characters like Capcom’s DMC Dante and 2k Games Bioshock’s Big Daddy and allows players to pit them all against each other in an all-out battle royale.

Again Nintendo originally did something similar with the Smash Bros. series but comparing that to All Stars is like comparing Street Fighter to Mortal Kombat. It might look similar in style, but the game play is completely different.  

The goal of the game is to build up AP meter (or All-Star Power according to the manual), which builds up and eventually allows a super attack in a similar vein to a smash attack in Smash Bros.  The difference is that your character has access to a level 1, 2 or 3 super attack, which not only provides different ways of defeating enemies but is also the only way to defeat enemies. A level 1 can simply be a strong punch whereas a level 3 could involve strapping your opponents to the side of a rocket and shooting them out into space, such as the case with Heihaichi from Tekken fame.  

All Stars also doesn’t have a health meter system, so instead you just build up AP meter through basic attacks and each character you kill with a super attack grants you 2 points.  The player with the most points at the end of a match wins.

While it sounds like a simple enough battle system, SuperBot Entertainment, the company in charge of developing All Stars, also added a degree of complexity to their fighting system.   The square, triangle and circle buttons all offer different attacks and when paired with a different direction on the d-pad or analog stick, each character can increase their array of moves.  There is even a combo system in the game where players can chain attacks together in order to build their AP even faster.

SuperBot also did a good job in getting their characters to more or less control like how they would in their respective games.  A player can go from playing God of War, to using Kratos in All Stars and for the most part they will feel like they’re playing with a similar control scheme, such as attacking with the triangle button to launch an opponent and having Kratos automatically jump after them to continue his beatdown.  With 20 characters in the game, that is quite a feat for SuperBot to accomplish.  The visuals for the game are also noteworthy, so characters either look as good as or better than in their own games, which for fans should be a big plus.

Another complaint some people have about other fighting games are clones, characters who control just like another character except for a small difference like being slower but stronger or even just being a different color.  All Stars for the most part avoids that. Ratchet and Clank and Jak and Daxter mix shooting guns with some melee attacks but both of them control differently with various speeds, strengths, and styles as well as having vastly different super attacks.  The closest to being a clone would be Good Cole and Evil Cole from the Infamous series, with their similar fighting style, but are differentiated by Good Cole having added ice powers and Evil Cole having fire powers instead.  It may seem a little cheap but Infamous is a game where players can choose to be either good or bad, so the fans of the series could still appreciate the two Coles.

The Locoroco stage (beefjunk)
The Locoroco stage (beefjunk)
All Stars is comprised of two modes, single player and multiplayer.  The single player is fairly bare bones.  You take your character through a few fights until you reach the final boss: The Polygon Man.  There’s a basic story where your selected character is looking for something, be it help or a challenge, and they decide to meet the other characters to do battle.  The issue is this is all expressed through portraits as opposed to a fully animated opening, which adds to the blandness of the single player mode.  The neat little spin though is that each character has a rival in the game.  The rivalries are based on different elements. Nathan Drake, from Uncharted, and Sly Cooper, from the Sly Cooper series, are both thieves and decide to compete with each other or Big Daddy being jealous that his “Little Sister” hugs Sackboy, from Little Big Planet.  The rivalries add a little bit of fun to the rather mediocre single player mode.

The bulk of the games enjoyment stems from the multiplayer though.  You have four people competing against one another and this basic fighting system starts to develop some differences.  Each player can devise different strategies, they can use a level 1 early and often to try and build up points quickly, or they can save up for a level 3 and get easier points late in the match.  The game also has weapons dropped occasionally throughout a match which adds an extra degree of havoc.   The Stages are unique and add a different quality, by largely combining two different games such as Locoroco and Metal Gear solid.  Most stages interact with the players and again add an extra layer of havoc to the game.

Overall Playstation All Stars Battle Royale is a very enjoyable game.  The fight system is unique and with 20 characters (more are promised in future DLC) every person can find a character that they like.  The camera occasionally goes a little wonky and can make it difficult to see your character.  The single player is somewhat lackluster.  The fight system may be too different for some people to enjoy.  Regardless the game is still very fun and well worth the time, and for any of the 3 people with Sony Playstation Vitas  (including myself) All Stars is also part of the Cross Buy program, which means if you buy the PS3 version you receive a free copy of the Vita version.  

Reach Contributor Roger Aguirre here.



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