PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale does some unique things with the classic brawler format by introducing Super moves and a new score format. Online and local multiplayer are both exceptionally solid but there isn't a strong enough focus put on the single-player stories.
- Multiplayer is great and feels right.
- Characters control and sound just as they would in their own game.
- There's a good mix of characters that give players many different play-styles to choose from.
- I would have loved to see more of a focus on the single-player.
- Stages can get quite repetitive, as there aren't too many.
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Review:
For as much as SuperBot Entertainment and Sony Santa Monica are trying to separate PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale from the idea of being a clone of Nintendo’s Smash Bros. series, it doesn’t do much to differentiate itself. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, as the formula proves to be extremely solid. It might be familiar, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t without new tricks.
Changing Up A Familiar Formula
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale follows a familiar gameplay formula, but it makes some slight changes that manage to vary up the basic combat and give it a new feel entirely. It doesn’t feel like the same game that you’ve been playing on Nintendo consoles for the last thirteen years, but rather a new experience entirely, partially due to the new scoring system.
It isn’t about keeping all five of your lives or staying alive the longest anymore, but rather who has the most points at the end. Each kill is worth two points and each death is minus one. It works well because it doesn’t punish the player too badly for dying, but doesn’t let it go either.
Characters From Everywhere
There’s 20 characters on disc and a few more confirmed through DLC, that encapsulate all areas of PlayStation’s historic legacy, from PaRappa the Rapper to Cole MacGrath and Kratos. It’s a good mix of characters that range from quick and smooth like Raiden from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance to heavy and powerful like Big Daddy from BioShock.
The difference between character types is substantive and there’s a distinct feel to each. They control as they would in their own game –despite most not fighting in their original title– but also have a consistent control feel that made it easy to control each character, no matter what style of fighting they use. Kratos has the same combos that he does in game, despite combat taking place in a different perspective, and the same goes for most characters. It’s one of the most intuitive parts of All-Stars Battle Royale, everything feels right when controlling characters.
LEVEL 3 SUPER!
Another major component of PlayStation: All-Stars Battle Royale is character super attacks. As you attack opponents, your super meter will start to build, eventually hitting three different tiers that allow you to call in devastating attacks that often kill multiple enemies in one shot. While each character’s super moves are completely different, you can usually guess that a level one super is good for a kill, maybe two. While a level two is usually good for two or three. If you can manage to get up to a level three super before time expires –which can be extremely difficult with some characters yet blindingly easy with others– you can usually account of five or so kills, killing the same players more than once.
Super moves change up the dynamic drastically, it isn’t all about a mad dash for the items, there’s some strategy involved. You have to plan how you’re going to use the super moves, and when. You might even duck out early and go with a level two just to sneak in a few last kills before time expires. It’s all a delicate balance that ends up working out really well.
The stages take the best of the universes that PlayStation has to offer and mashes them to make interesting hybrid levels. One minute you’ll be playing on a LittleBigPlanet level that is building itself as you play, and the next you’ll be partaking in a BUZZ! quizshow. It’s really neat to see a level like Columbia break down the wall between BioShock Infinite and Twisted Metal, as Dollface from the Twisted Metal series starts toppling over buildings, firing rockets at players, and breaking down the environment in Columbia, BioShock Infinite’s homeland.
Despite there being 14 main stages and six practice stages, it still felt like it was a bit short on variety. Sure, each stage did something different, but the rounds go pretty quickly, so it wouldn’t even take an hour of play before you’d have played on all of the stages. It would have been nice to see a larger variety of stages, or at least a different turn of events when playing the same level again.
Battle With Your Friends – or Enemies
There’s a few different single-player modes, but they all serve more as practice for online play than anything substantive story wise. Each character has an intro and outro sequence that are unique to them with other small stuff littered between fights, but even on the highest difficulty, it didn’t take more than 30 minutes to complete each character’s story. I would have loved to see more of a focus on bringing characters together.
The Combat Trials allow you to practice certain moves or even a specific character’s move set, but it feels unnecessary and somewhat useless unless you’re planning to get serious into online play with one character. I managed to learn more character moves by playing through their story than in the Combat Trials.
Online multiplayer is a huge component of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale and works really well when finding other players through the Tournament mode. It’s the best way to just get in and play a few matches in a row without having to worry about setup. Unfortunately, setting up an online Versus Match isn’t as simple. Each friend must be added individually, which isn’t much of a hassle, until you have to keep doing it because pressing the wrong button kicked them to the main menu. It’s way too easy for the whole thing to become overbearing and time consuming.
Thankfully, there wasn’t any real slowdown or lag, which is crucial in online fighters, especially one as quick and focused as this. Online matches also loaded quickly, so it’s pretty easy to get a few matches in without much extra effort.
The Final Blow?
Comparisons to the Super Smash Bros. series are apt, but PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale stands on its own. If you’re looking for a rich single-player experience that brings together all your favorite PlayStation characters into one ultimate story, this isn’t your game. It is very evident that much of the focus went into character combat design for the explicit purpose of a deep online community and that’s where PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale excels.