PlayStation All Stars title

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale: Now Playing

Sony’s answer to Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros series was PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. I spent some more time playing today and I have to say, I really like this game. It got a bad rap when it first launched that really hurt the games’ longevity. Prior to its release though, the internet was all abuzz with rumors and conjecture as to which famous PlayStation characters from gaming history would fill out the roster.

PS All-Stars Battle Royale Character Roster The initial launch lineup boasted 20 playable characters to choose from including: Kratos, Sly Cooper, Nathan Drake, Dante, PaRappa the Rapper, Sack Boy and more. I personally felt like that was a ton of choice, while others felt it paled in comparison to Super Smash Bros Brawl on the Wii, which had a whopping 35 playable characters. But in all fairness this is the very first entry in the series for PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. When the first entry in the Smash Bros series was released on the N64, there were only 12 characters to pick from. As the series found its legs, SSB:Melee (GameCube) launched with a playable roster of 25. It wasn’t until the Wii version, and soon to be the new Wii U version that has/will have, 30+ characters. The character roster grew over time with each new game. That point shouldn’t be missed with the first game in the PS All-Stars series, concerning the character roster.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Roster

Controls

PlayStation All-Stars is easy enough to pick up, so fighting and non-fighting game enthusiasts alike can find something to love here. Square, Triangle, and Circle are your attack buttons and each of those attacks are altered by pressing up, down, left/right in combination. So with very few button presses, a wide variety of attacks can be unleashed rather quickly and easily. The L-Trigger is used to block/roll, while the R-Trigger is used to launch your “Super” attack. The stages you fight on are made up of mash-ups from different games. Each level has a starter map and 2nd stage map. Fights ensue over the multilevel stages that change dynamically while you fight, sometimes leaving hazardous zones during the transitions. Furthermore, item pickups are available throughout battles, some of which cause players not to be able to use their super attacks, or drop the precious AP orbs they’ve been accumulating.

Kratos Super meter filled to level 2. Polygon Man is the main villain in arcade mode, an ambiguous choice to say the least, and he uses “time holes” to scatter the heroes across the history of PlayStation. PS All-Stars pits up to four players against each other in versus battles. The damage you do to your opponents doesn’t tick off life, but rather gives you “AP” orbs that fill a meter, which can be charged to level three. Each level reached allows you to unleash your characters unique “super” attack.

Level one is usually pretty simple and good for killing someone right in front of you. Level two supers are more powerful and usually kill a few opponents in a greater area. And of course, level three supers are the highest. They’re accompanied by a short cut-scene and greatly empower your character to unleash devastating attacks. Supers last approximately 5 seconds.

How To Score

The only way to “score” is by killing an opponent with one of the Super attacks. It’s an interesting take on the game, but it seems more likely that developer SuperBot went this route to distinguish their game from the Smash Bros series. It’s a novel idea, and may have severed as a fun stand-alone mode, but not the ONLY mode. Instead of chipping away at your opponents’ health until killing them, you wait to land your Super, which does add a certain level of strategy, but leaves you largely feeling like the bulk of the battle counts for nothing.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Fight

So what if you just landed a string of flashy combos, one after another, for a minute and a half straight. It only culminated in 2 kills when you finally used your level 2 super, or worse yet, you miss all together and get nothing for your efforts. Along with the “lack of characters” this mode was the single biggest gripe from gamers. Maybe if the game would have included other modes, in addition to super kills = points, it would have stuck around longer. As it is now I usually only play against the computer in arcade mode, which isn’t all that bad, as SuperBot did an excellent job balancing the difficulty level.

Playing on the “All-Star” difficulty (hardest) is usually pretty challenging, especially the final round, where it’s 3 vs 1. Online activity is almost non-existent. There’s a select few gamers, like myself, who still own and enjoy the game, but most who appear online are level 650, and you know what it’s like playing against people like that….yea, no fun at all. After battles are over, you get points that raise your character level which unlocks alternate costumes, taunts, stances, minion characters, and more. Your character level rises much slower playing in Arcade mode than it does in online mode, because in online mode you get extra points for kill streaks and the like.

DLC Content

DLC character Zeus (on left and glowing blue) from God of War. PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale did have a few pieces of DLC, which included playable characters; Kat from Gravity Rush, Emmit from Starhawk, Zeus from God of War, and Isaac from Dead Space. It’s a shame the game fell off everyone’s radar so quickly. Each character feels unique and fun in their own way. Some of my favorites have been Raiden, Sly Cooper, Sack Boy, Kratos, and Dante.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Zeus

Every time I sit down to play I have a blast. The fighting is fast paced and frantic, although the loading screens between battles can make longer play sessions drag. By and large PlayStation All-Stars is a nice mix of charm, fun, excitement, and squandered potential. Here’s hoping that Sony will green light the second installment in the PlayStation All-Stars series soon, as it’s just too good an IP to drop completely. With a few tweaks, some added game modes, and an expanded character roster, PS All-Stars 2 should be every bit as good as it’s inspired counter part, Smash Bros.

Battling it Out

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