Every now and then I need a break from fast paced, super intense shooter experiences and return to the old school awesome of arcade fighters. PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale brings four player Smash Bros. brawling into next gen gaming. Will it succeed?
If I could ever be considered a fanboy of any console it would have to be PlayStation. The first console I ever bought was a PlayStation One and some of the happiest gaming memories I have come from the times I locked myself in my room and powered up that ugly gray box, and I’m not the only one. PlayStation’s fan base spans the globe and each fan leans towards an iconic character who has been with them through many a world saving experience. That’s what makes PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale such a fantastic idea.
Take a bunch of the most well known PlayStation icons, throw them into an arena and let them duke it out. Sure, we need to acknowledge that the game is a redesigned version of Smash Bros. from the Nintendo camp, and even though the setup it screams plagiarism, Sony is striving hard to make this its own game.
The idea is simple. Pick from a roster of heroes and villains, select a location to battle in and then try to amass the most kills within the time limit. It’s pure arcade fun. Now, don’t let the simple concept fool you. There is a huge amount of depth for players willing to discover it. All of the characters are (reasonably) well balanced, each with their own strengths and weaknesses faithfully recreated to reflect their original game’s play style.
For example, Good Cole (from inFamous) uses ice bolts to stop opponents dead in their tracks, whereas Evil Cole’s play style is more violent using exploding electricity grenades and fire moves. Big Daddy (from BioShock) moves slowly with a very short range but his hits send enemies flying and Ratchet (Ratchet and Clank) and Jak (Jak and Daxter) are predominantly gear focused, dropping traps and using big weapons.
Each of these skills and attacks can be deadly, however true mastery comes in knowing when and how to best to use them. Finishers are earned from successful attacks and in the tradition of most fighting games, players can choose to use a level one finisher for a short ranged kill or build up levels to drop a massive game changer, if the match calls for it.
This is why PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is so much more than a five minute distraction. It’s a proper fighting game. Once the tutorial is done and you have learned the controls, you are let loose to play any mode you want to. There is an arcade mode to take a single character though a short story campaign, time attack modes, training and numerous other modes to tangle with.
Working your way through each is great way to find the most effective characters to suit your play style before crossing over into the game’s real fun, online and local multiplayer. Each mode you play is accessible and suitable for players at any level of ability, but those who spend the time and learn how each level plays will find the best opportunities to launch attack flurries and execute finishers.
My only concern is how reliant it is on online play. Like many online multiplayer games, the single player experience is entirely for training purposes. Within 20 minutes of play I was already at the hardest difficulty setting and have now finished the game several times over. Players who don’t venture online or have a large friends list will feel robbed and even the ability to cross play with the PlayStation Vita will not really extend the experience as it offers an almost identical experience.
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale has launched the four-player arcade fighter into the next gen era. It’s fast, polished and super addictive. This title offers a great experience for on the couch game nights or an excellent PS Vita title for those boring rides to and from work. At its core it is still a basic versus fighter and should be avoided by those looking for customization or progression. However at its price, it will give you endless amounts of fun, assuming you have enough friends to battle against.
For a second same same but different opinion check out Dave’s review of the same game for AusGamers by clicking here.