PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Review
Filling a void that PlayStation fans didn’t even knew they had, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale pits a bunch of the brand’s more famous characters head-to-head in this new brawler. Taking characters from some of Sony’s biggest franchises and a few from multiplatform games, PS All-Stars Battle Royale brings the likes of Kratos, Sweet Tooth, Dante, Raiden and many more together, to see who truly is the best fighter. Though there are many comparisons between PS All-Stars and Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros., don’t believe them. PS All-Stars is its own form of fighting game, and quite frankly a lot deeper one in that. The game is not perfect, but makes up for it in fun and fan-service.
To say there is a story within PS All-Stars would be just fibbing to you, my fine readers. Honestly, the single player portion of the game is really just used as practice for the great online that you will get to later. Each of the 20 characters (already more announced as DLC), has their own story, but that really only means you get to watch a series of about 6 – 7 still images fade in and out with the character speaking of something; there is no story. Honestly though, does it really matter that there is no story? Not really; all they do is keep you from getting into a match sooner, which once you play you will understand how bad that is. The images/voice over can be skipped with the press of the ‘Start’ button, which is a nice addition.
The roster is full of some recent PlayStation familiar faces (Nathan Drake, Kratos, Sackboy and Cole McGrath) while also bring back some of the old school PlayStation characters (PaRappa, Sir Daniel, Jak and Ratchet). Coming along with the Sony characters are faces from other famous franchises (Spike – Ape Escape, Big Daddy – BioShock, and Dante – DMC). Each character look amazing and accompany those great character models is voice acting done by almost all of the original actors. Kratos actually sounds like Kratos, Drake still spits those one-liners in all his original glory, and Ratchet and Clank sound better than ever. If seeing all these great characters together already gets your blood pumping , then once you actually start playing the game and seeing the levels you fight on, you might just faint from the awesomeness.
Levels within the game are combinations of two non-similar games creating constant eye-candy for fans as well as making each level unique and unlike any other in the game. Each level features a changing battlefield as the terrain changes throughout the match and events taking place in the background can and will affect the battle you are waging against others. Take for example a level designed after Patapon featuring some God of War influence. Starting the match off you are playing in a world straight out of Patapon; it is full color and even comes with the catchy, rhythmic beat from those games. About half way through the match the god of the underworld, Hades, emerges from hell to impact the match but attacking the players. All along, in the far background, archers from Patapon are firing arrows at you that you constantly have to be dodging.
Now, down to the actual battles between characters. Unlike many fighting games you have played before, a PS All-Stars match isn’t over once you have killed your opponent. The whole goal within a match is to gain the coveted Specials for those are the only way of killing your opponent. Specials are gained from attacking other players, which will fill a gauge at the bottom of the screen. Once you have a Special, unleash it on your enemies to gain a kill. The player with the most kills at the end of the match is declared the winner. So again, your goal is to gain Specials.
Each character has three Specials they are able to gain; Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. The higher level special you want to obtain, the most punishment you have to deal out. For every hit, your Special’s bar will fill up slowly. Once you gain your first Special just a press of the R button will unleash your power. Waiting though to gain a Level 2 or Level 3 special takes more time, but can mean more kills – so you need to decide how you like to play since each level has its own positives and negatives.
Level 1 Specials are quick to gain, yet have no lock on feature so they are able to miss their target, leaving you with having to fill your gauge back up. Level 2 Specials are more effective than Level 1 and have a higher chance of getting a hit, resulting in a kill; yet they still don’t lock-on. The final stage of a Special is Level 3; these are your most powerful attack, yet can take a long time to gain. While Level 1 and Level 2 Specials take place while your character is still on the floor where the fighting is taking place; they can be blocked or interrupted if you are hit. Level 3 on the other hand removes you from the fighting so you can take full advantage of your power and get multiple, quick kills.
Once you play through the short single player campaigns, PS All-Stars offers a wonderful online experience and is where you need to spend most of your time with the game. Complete with matchmaking, tournaments and leaderboards; the multiplayer is where you will be spending most of your time. Each character has an over-all level, which really means nothing except for unlocking addition costumes and match starting/ending taunts. With the way the game is built, if you get into a match with someone who is at level 50 while you are on level 3, you two still are evenly matched as far as characters go. There are not additional skills or powerups that you get for being at a super high level.
PlayStation All-Star Battle Royale is a brilliant, in-depth fighter that just happens to be featuring these great, lovable characters from Sony’s past. If you are either looking for a deep fighting game or just want to see what would happen when Sweet Tooth goes head-to-head with Raiden; PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is well worth the money.