Format reviewed: PS3
Other formats available: PS Vita
Developer: SuperBot Entertainment / SCE Santa Monica
It’s hard to believe that Sony took this long to produce what can be interpreted as an answer to Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. series.
A recent offer in the fighting game department on Sony’s consoles, Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale (what a mouthful) is a game where multiple characters throughout the history of the Playstation, from Sly Cooper to Nathan Drake come together to beat the living hell out of each other. But surprisingly, the game is only really similar to Smash Bros. in terms of premise and nothing else. So as such, Smash Bros. comparisons will be absent in this review.
The gameplay involves up to four characters in a match that are competing against each other or in teams to reach a criteria before their opponents, such as getting the most kills or killing opponents a certain number of times. The characters fight to fill up their super gauges up to three levels.
Once the gauge fills up to at least one level, the characters can unleash a super move, which gets more effective with each level. Level 3 supers are hugely destructive and are usually guaranteed to net at least one kill. If a super move connects with a character, they die (as the game refers to it anyway) and the killer is awarded two points.
Usually, the one with the most points by the end of the round wins, with any ties causing overtime, which gives double, or even triple gauge points in the event of more than one tie.
Each character has their own form of story mode, known as Arcade, which is a short series of matches, culminating in fighting that character’s rival (Nathan Drake for Sly Cooper, Kratos for Sweet Tooth, etc.) and then the final boss. Each one is relatively short and should take a couple of hours each to finish.
As a character wins matches, they will gain Ranks, which unlock new costumes, entrances, win animations, taunts and victory music for that character. They also unlock minions who appear at various moments for that character (including a chibified Sully from Uncharted... ew) as well as icons and backgrounds for a player card that appears to online players... if you’re into that.
There are also Combat Trials, which involve you performing tasks that are either general, which are basically performing the fundamentals of the game, or character-specific that have you performing the same trials such as Super Level 1 trials with different characters. There are also some special trials tailor-made for each character. These are optional, so you don’t have to do them if you don’t want.
The stages all have a specific gimmick to them and they all come from a character’s different game. They include Alden’s Tower from inFAMOUS, Metropolis from Ratchet and Clank, etc. However, each stage also has a crossover with another game.
That is, as you're playing a stage, suddenly elements from another game will appear. An example of this was when God of War’s Hydra got sick of its status as a first boss and decided to bring the party to Metropolis by bursting out of the floor and attacking everyone. Erm, this IS a Ratchet and Clank themed stage, right?
The graphics look fantastic. Every stage looks colourful and detailed whereas each character retains the art style from the game that they came from, which was a nice touch. The controls all work well with very little issue. Each character controls smoothly with little difficulty.
Now admittedly, a problem does seem to come with balance issues. For example, if you’re playing as a melee-based character like Sir Daniel and come across a character with a moveset that revolves around guns and the like such as Colonel Radec, then good luck approaching them, because their guns will keep you from even getting near them to attack them.
This was quite a frustrating moment when fighting Radec as Daniel in Arcade mode, because his guns would keep knocking Daniel back, which felt rather cheap when playing Arcade mode.
Another downside is that the game takes a long time to load each stage. This can get very frustrating to have to wait for each stage to load.
Timing the loading for a Kratos and PaRappa practice match on the Hades level revealed a loading time of 18 seconds. Hope you have the patience to sit through load times like that.
Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale (whew) is a great game. The graphics are nice, the controls work well, there’s a nice selection of characters that are all unlocked from the start, fairly smart AI for the CPU players (on higher difficulties) and the game is a blast to play alone or with friends.
The only downsides are the aforementioned balancing issues when it comes to gun-play characters and the long loading times. If you can get past those, however, then this is without doubt a worthy contender to the Mascot Fighter market and something for every PS3/Vita owner to have.
Review by Snipertoaster for BCS