Playstation All Stars Battle Royale was the kind of game I craved for awhile, pitting Sony’s first party characters and other notable third party characters against each other, it’s just a concept that works. As soon as the was announced, players instantly deemed this game a blatant Smash Bros rip off. When you actually spend time with the game, you’ll know that those statements and public proclamations are entirely false. Although the concept isn’t entirely unique, all of the gameplay mechanics and components are.
Before I talk about the game’s fighting mechanics, I want to discuss the game’s diverse visuals. Its pretty clear that the game looks good, but its interesting how they made each character look solid. Its obvious that Kratos isn’t going to look as he did in his own game, and the same goes for Radec and Cole, but they still look great. Once the characters were transferred over, they didnt lose any of their little intricacies that made them who they are. Sackboy is still his normal self, Nathan Drake’s witty charm is still here as well. The roster of first and third party characters is sufficient, although I would have liked at least one Final Fantasy character, maybe Lightning or Cloud? Hopefully they’ll become available via DLC later down the road. The developers have already announced a couple of DLC characters. Emmett Graves from Starhawk, and Kat from Gravity Rush. It’s gonna be interesting seeing more characters announced, hopefully they’ll fulfill my requests.
The developers did a nice job recreating iconic scenes from different games, and turning them into battlefields. The stages blend together multiple games into one. You start off on a level that’s clearly a local from a certain game, then after a while, new elements from another game invade the level. For example, the San Francisco level from Resistance starts off as you would expect, but after awhile, elements from Ratchet and Clank will start to invade and change up the level completely. You can always expect this with each new level you play on, it shows exactly how much work and care went into combining these storied franchises into one game. There is some great music in the game as well, but a lot of it I’ve heard before. There are some cool new remixed tracks to shade that problem a little, and it works.
Despite the great visuals, you don’t buy a fighting game for the graphics alone, you buy it for the actual fighting itself. If the gameplay mechanics don’t work, then the game just isn’t going to be fun. Luckily, the fighting mechanics in PASBR is what makes the game a blast, and also unique. When you compare the fighting system to Smash Bros, it just doesn’t stack up. The main objection in Smash Bros. was to knock your opponents off the stage, by any means necessary. PASBR’s main goal is to build up your supers by pulling of extensive combos. Since this is the only way to kill your opponents, it adds a lot more strategy to the game.
Each character has their own attacks and combos, and they also have their own supers. 3 different levels of supers gives you the option of saving up your to your level 3, to unleash chaos and rack up the kills. Or if you just want to get quick kills, you can just use your level 1 as soon as you get it. Depending on the character you choose, it can affect the way you choose as well. Maybe you don’t like Cole’s level 1, but you love his level 3. Or if you like Sackboy’s level 1 instead of his other 2, the character can definitely change your strategy. You also have other basic attacks, as well as cool grab attacks and item pickups. The key to your success will be finding the character that fits you the best. As you play with that particular character, you can unlock more alternate costumes for your favorite fighter. You can learn who you’ll like the most by completing each characters’ Adventures mode, which is just a long tutorial. There could have been some cool interaction with the characters, but its just still images with a few lines of dialogue. Its a bit of a missed opportunity if you ask me.
There’s a few problems, the biggest being the game’s balancing issues. Some characters are flat out stronger than others, and you’ll quickly find out which ones when you take your game online. The multiplayer itself works perfectly, there wasn’t any lag in any of my matches. Even with the fact that you’re playing against Vita and PS3 users makes it that much more impressive. Tournaments are fun, but there really isn’t much else to play other than your basic free-for-all.
Playstation All Stars Battle Royale is a great game, and a terrific fighter. Even if you’re not a hardcore Sony fan, you’ll still find a bit of nostalgia in the package. If you own the Vita and the PS3, you can get both versions of the game for one price. This is another great reason to pick it up. Those still convinced that the game is nothing more than a SB ripoff, need to get their hands on it, and try it for themselves.