- Replay Value
I don’t know about everyone else, but I always thought that Smash Bros. was going to be something that Nintendo kept to themselves. A big compilation game involving multiple key franchises was a truly great idea, but you have to consider that if anyone did go ahead and try to create a similar game, some comparisons would definitely be drawn. Luckily for Superbot and Sony fans alike, Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale really doesn’t fall into any shadows, and manages to create a unique fighting experience that no other game has attempted before. While the fighting style is similar to that of SSB, the gameplay mechanics at play create a much different experience. The only question remaining now is whether this new system works, or if the whole thing went up in flames.
Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale starts off with a bang, having one of the best opening scenes that I have seen in any game. It sent shivers down my spine to watch the various Sony characters square off against eachother, regardless of the fact that quite a few of the match-ups don’t make a lick of sense. I mean, why would Cole want to fight Raiden? Does Fat Princess really have that big of an issue with Evil Cole? Combine these opening cinematics with a great song, “Finale” by Madeon, and before you even get the game started a great first impression has been made. Then you start up arcade mode and you wonder “Wait, what just happened….?”
As a fighting game, one of the most popular modes for people, or at least the people who choose to opt out of online play, is the arcade mode. Almost every fighting game comes packed with one, and it comes with plenty of difficulties that set apart different levels of players. Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale has three modes, each of which equivocate to easy, medium and hard. The only problem with that is none is really any harder than the other. The AI, regardless of which level they are, are really no harder than the ones before the. I would go through arcade mode on the most difficult setting with a character I wasn’t very good with, such as Toro and Dante, and still manage to get upwards of 6-8 kills per match. The computers would openly stand there, and get hit by my super. Enemies would get locked into walls easily, and in a lot of cases, would purposely wander into your super attacks. In some cases, I would get 4 or 5 kills with a character, put down the controller for 2 minutes, and still come out with 0 deaths. This would go on until you made it to the rival fight. Then, after watching a very lame animation that usually left you laughing at how corny it was (seriously, Fat Princesses was hilarious because she says something to Evil Cole, pauses for 4 seconds, then shouts “You Ruffian!” in her ridiculous voice), you would have to fight the only “difficult fight” the game has to offer. Even though it was the most difficult fight, I personally never lost more than 2 lives in the process of winning. When it gets down to it, the offline play in Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale isn’t very good, and ends up being very easy. It got to the point where the only reason I played offline for more than one arcade run was to get the platinum trophy.
As far as other offline modes go, things don’t really go anywhere. There are a few bios, galleries and customizables to look at, but those get old fast. The only other thing even worth mentioning is the combo tutorials, which ended up being very helpful when it came to honing my skills to take online. Each character has a tutorial consisting of anywhere from 5-10 combos, and the tutorial takes you through each one, teaching you how to execute it. I have never been one for training modes, but this did end up showing me some pretty obscure moves that I could string together to use online. It’s a tool that I think players should try, or at least give a run through with their best characters. Then once you do that, you can go ahead and get into the one thing with Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale that is done well, which is the online multiplayer.
There are a few ways to play the game online, some of which are better than others. The first way to play online is by going in alone, and playing a 4FA match where you have to fight three other players, get multiple kills, and increase your rank with each character. It’s a pretty fun mode, but usually gets either clustered, or spread out quite quickly. The best mode to play online would undoubtedly be the 2v2 online mode. In here, you can pair up with a friend, either online or locally, and take on the competition. You have three minutes to get as many kills as you can, then you and your teammates scores are are added together, and put against your opponents. While in other games team modes seem weird and strained, the 2v2 multiplayer in Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale runs very well, and creates a much better experience than any other match up type in the game. This if the mode I would check out and get into, if any. The last mode you can play online is a man-made game that you play with your friends. You can invite your friends to play with you in a match that is up to four characters. This mode is where Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale shows its true potential not as a fighting game, but as a really well done party game. The game itself was obviously made to pay homage to Sony’s heritage and to bring fans together, and that is exactly what this online/local mode does. It makes it so you can play with friends, which is the only time that Playstation All-Stars is really fun.
While the online was pretty well done, there are obviously quite a few flaws. One huge one I found was with the matchmaking. Even though the online was better than what you would find with SSBB, it is by no means good. Errors will frequently occur, with errors ranging from making you use a character you did not use, having games lag out, having people teleporting across the screen, disrupted movements, and just simple inability to function. I would say that on average, you will experience at least one error for every 4-5 matches you play, which is pretty high for a game that focusses on its online play. Another huge flaw lies in the stupidity that is a 1v1 match. As a fighting game, one of the main focusses should be competing in 1v1 matches in order to exert yourself over your competition. Almost every fighting game has it, besides Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale. However, this might not be something that will be missed. Considering how unique the mechanics are in Playstation All-Stars, it really doesn’t allow for you to play against one other person and still have fun. The supers that are required to gain points are so predictable after playing for long periods of time that hitting with them becomes next to impossible (unless you use Fat Princess or something who can combo into their super, but even then everything becomes very predictable). I fought a match against a friend that took upwards of 10 minutes to get the final kill simply because both Dante and Radec have such predictable supers that neither of us could land the final hit. Needless to say, it left a sour taste in my mouth.
Online play is the only reason anyone would even consider picking up Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale, but it comes with its obvious flaws, which range from wonky matchmaking to lacking game modes. The biggest thing it has going for it is the fact that it is fun, which made me look over the flaws in most cases.
Now it’s time to talk about one of the most important things in Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale, the roster. For anyone who has played the game, it’s obvious that it might have one of the most unbalanced rosters of any fighting title of this year. I mean….Kratos….isn’t that enough of an explanation? Okay that was a joke, but if you think about it, the roster itself is very limited in terms of balance. The way things are now, the only characers that can be considered useful are those who gain AP fast (Sackboy, Sweet Tooth, Raiden, Parappa), have a good level 1 super (Fat Princess, Raiden, Sly), or are named Kratos.Other than those characters, most of the other ones have little or no use online, and are only used because of players loyalty. The roster is also unbalanced when it comes to characters individual moves. There are so many moves which serve no purpose at all, such as Jak’s disc, Jak’s down slam, and Jak in general. Superbot is going to have to do some serious rebalancing if they want to salvage any sort of roster they hope to keep. And for the love of all that is good in the world, nerf Kratos like no other.
I think a good tagline for a game like this is “It’s pretty fun, but…..”. Nothing about the game stands out as spectacular, but through it all, I put quite a lot of time into it. The game is fun, regardless of all the other aspects. However, you have to look at the other aspects and realize that everything feels really rushed. From the skimpy customization options to the really unbalanced roster, Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale does not hold up as a fighting game; There’s just not enough content there. It doesn’t even begin to compare to titles such as Street Fighter x Tekken, Skullgirls, or DoA5, but it does hold up as a party game. The only suggestions I have are that if you are looking to play the game competitively with only rank in mind, just pass on the game. If you are looking for a game to play with friends, play online for fun and not think of it in a competitive sense, this game is definitely for you. Through it all, Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale is a game that every PS3 user should have in their homes. Just wait for a price drop before you pick it up.