Playstation All-Stars: How Mechanics Define Games Within a Genre

Posted by StarvingGamer (7991 posts) -

Ripoff n. a blatant or unscrupulous copy or imitation

Last week the internet was jostled by Kamiya and his condemnation of Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale (PAS) as a rip-off of Smash Bros. This blew my mind. I've always respected Kamiya as a mechanics guy, I mean look at the way his games play. As someone who gets his kicks digging deep into systems, the myriad ways that PAS is decidedly NOT a rip-off of Smash seem glaringly obvious. So Hideki Kamiya, allow me to educate you.

Parallels within a genre

As the medium has grown, genres have been free to develop their own sets of best practices, various bits of design that remain a near constant between games regardless of developer. Take the fighting game genre for example. Pick up any fighting game from the past decade and chances are you're going to have two life bars on top, a timer in between, and more often than not a pair of super meters in the bottom corners. On your controller up will jump and down will crouch. For defense you're either going to be holding back or a dedicated block button.

Throws will beat blocks, blocks will beat attacks, and attacks will beat throws. Attacks will be divided into start-up, active, and recovery frames. Your character will have a hitbox and a hurtbox. And more likely than not, at some point you will be rolling your directional pad/joystick from down to down-forward to forward and pressing a button to get an attack. Bonus points if that attack happens to be a projectile and you used it to truncate the recovery animation of your previous attack.

None of these games is just like the others

Pick up any racing game and you know which shoulder button to press for gas and for brake. Somewhere on the screen you're going to find a minimap giving you a preview of the upcoming track. These things have become standard for a reason, because they work and they work well and they work best. You know what happens when a current-era-army-shooting-from-a-first-person-perspective game comes out and LT/L2 ISN'T ironsights. People throw a fit, and for good reason.

That's the great thing about working in an established genre. You have the work of thousands of people trying to make the best experience possible to use as reference. Ignoring that collective wisdom would be irresponsible and, quite frankly, stupid.

Of course the PAS situation is a little bit trickier. Outside of Power Stone (and a few blips not worth mentioning *koff* Onimusha: Blade Warriors *koff*), the arena fighting genre has been largely defined by a single franchise, Super Smash Bros. While quantity shouldn't matter, this significantly smaller playing field makes it easier to make comparisons and cry foul. But if we look a little closer, we can see that the mechanical divide between PAS and Smash is actually so large that in a more crowded category, each game could be considered part of a different sub-genre.

How are they similar?

Of course that isn't an entirely accurate assessment. In fighting games it has always been easier to split them up as 2D vs. 3D. But what about a genre where no matter the style of game, the playing field is going to be more or less the same like say, the driving genre?

Modern driving games are interesting in that, no matter their race, color, or creed, they're always going to be played from the same perspective. Whether it's carting, arcade, or simulation, the camera is going to be placed behind and slightly above the vehicle (with an optional cockpit/hood cam thrown in on occasion). The gas button and analog stick/D-pad will always be your primary way of interacting with the game liberally seasoned with brake or e.brake, boost, and shoot buttons. There will always be a mini-map somewhere on screen to let you know about your current position and a timer during race events.

Outside of the motion blur and flames, these games look pretty similar

The same parallels exist between PAS and Smash. Both games are played from a pulled-out side view of a 2d playing field. Your analog stick controls your movement and you use your buttons to whip out attacks, blocks, and grabs. On the bottom of the screen space is allotted to inform players of their current status as well as the status of their opponents. But that's where the games diverge.

What makes them different?

So how do you differentiate games like these? Much like the above example of GT5 vs Hot Pursuit, it comes down to mechanics.

In GT it's all about playing conservatively and controlled, following your line and waiting until the perfect moment to make a pass. Similarly, Smash is a position-based game that favors intelligent defensive play. Because of the % system, the only hit that really matters is the last one that scores the KO. This means that you actually derive more of a strategic advantage from avoiding combat altogether

In a 4-man FFA, every time you hit an opponent three players benefit: yourself and your two other opponents. In the cold calculus of the battlefield you are working to give a total of +2 advantage between your opponents while only earning +1 advantage for yourself. The deficit this leaves you at is compounded by the fact that you are now at risk of taking hits yourself which benefits all of your opponents. Tactical play of Smash involves avoiding conflict and pushing your opponents toward conflict with each other (made especially easy in a game designed around attacks that knock your opponent away), taking safe potshots from far away, and waiting for the crucial moment when you can swoop in and land a decisive smash.

Link has the right idea

On the flip side, Hot Pursuit is much more about aggressive risk-taking: drifting, oncoming, near-miss madness to build up boost to go even more dangerously fast. PAS is capturing a similar feeling by making the change from % based ring-outs to a super-meter system. Under this system, the one player benefits when you hit your enemy: you. Also the downsides of getting hit are significantly smaller since you're only worrying about the enemy doing the hitting getting closer to their own KO's, not every enemy on the field.

In a way, this almost makes PAS more true to the names Brawl and Melee. This focus on maintaining an effective offense is facilitated further by the introduction of combos. Unlike Smash where almost every attack is a one-off sort of thing that knocks your opponent away and allows them to reset to a neutral state before you can follow up, characters in PAS will be able to execute true combo strings of multiple attacks keeping your opponent in hit-stun. Sony even went as far as to include an infinite prevention system in the game. That's how far these combos might go.

It's almost as if PSA is MvC3 and Smash is a version of MK9 where every non-special attack is an uppercut.

Situations like this should be much more common in PAS

In conclusion (TL;DR)

All the games in the Smash series are great, and a lot of that comes from intelligent design in terms of UI and controls. It's true that Sony borrowed a lot from Nintendo in this regard to make PAS, but game genres are incestuous as all get-out so this should come as no surprise. When you take a moment to consider the mechanics and the different ways they influence gameplay it should become clear that PAS is no more a ripoff of Smash than MK is a ripoff of SFII than Burnout is a ripoff of Gran Turismo.

Fuck man, video games.

#1 Edited by StarvingGamer (7991 posts) -

Ripoff n. a blatant or unscrupulous copy or imitation

Last week the internet was jostled by Kamiya and his condemnation of Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale (PAS) as a rip-off of Smash Bros. This blew my mind. I've always respected Kamiya as a mechanics guy, I mean look at the way his games play. As someone who gets his kicks digging deep into systems, the myriad ways that PAS is decidedly NOT a rip-off of Smash seem glaringly obvious. So Hideki Kamiya, allow me to educate you.

Parallels within a genre

As the medium has grown, genres have been free to develop their own sets of best practices, various bits of design that remain a near constant between games regardless of developer. Take the fighting game genre for example. Pick up any fighting game from the past decade and chances are you're going to have two life bars on top, a timer in between, and more often than not a pair of super meters in the bottom corners. On your controller up will jump and down will crouch. For defense you're either going to be holding back or a dedicated block button.

Throws will beat blocks, blocks will beat attacks, and attacks will beat throws. Attacks will be divided into start-up, active, and recovery frames. Your character will have a hitbox and a hurtbox. And more likely than not, at some point you will be rolling your directional pad/joystick from down to down-forward to forward and pressing a button to get an attack. Bonus points if that attack happens to be a projectile and you used it to truncate the recovery animation of your previous attack.

None of these games is just like the others

Pick up any racing game and you know which shoulder button to press for gas and for brake. Somewhere on the screen you're going to find a minimap giving you a preview of the upcoming track. These things have become standard for a reason, because they work and they work well and they work best. You know what happens when a current-era-army-shooting-from-a-first-person-perspective game comes out and LT/L2 ISN'T ironsights. People throw a fit, and for good reason.

That's the great thing about working in an established genre. You have the work of thousands of people trying to make the best experience possible to use as reference. Ignoring that collective wisdom would be irresponsible and, quite frankly, stupid.

Of course the PAS situation is a little bit trickier. Outside of Power Stone (and a few blips not worth mentioning *koff* Onimusha: Blade Warriors *koff*), the arena fighting genre has been largely defined by a single franchise, Super Smash Bros. While quantity shouldn't matter, this significantly smaller playing field makes it easier to make comparisons and cry foul. But if we look a little closer, we can see that the mechanical divide between PAS and Smash is actually so large that in a more crowded category, each game could be considered part of a different sub-genre.

How are they similar?

Of course that isn't an entirely accurate assessment. In fighting games it has always been easier to split them up as 2D vs. 3D. But what about a genre where no matter the style of game, the playing field is going to be more or less the same like say, the driving genre?

Modern driving games are interesting in that, no matter their race, color, or creed, they're always going to be played from the same perspective. Whether it's carting, arcade, or simulation, the camera is going to be placed behind and slightly above the vehicle (with an optional cockpit/hood cam thrown in on occasion). The gas button and analog stick/D-pad will always be your primary way of interacting with the game liberally seasoned with brake or e.brake, boost, and shoot buttons. There will always be a mini-map somewhere on screen to let you know about your current position and a timer during race events.

Outside of the motion blur and flames, these games look pretty similar

The same parallels exist between PAS and Smash. Both games are played from a pulled-out side view of a 2d playing field. Your analog stick controls your movement and you use your buttons to whip out attacks, blocks, and grabs. On the bottom of the screen space is allotted to inform players of their current status as well as the status of their opponents. But that's where the games diverge.

What makes them different?

So how do you differentiate games like these? Much like the above example of GT5 vs Hot Pursuit, it comes down to mechanics.

In GT it's all about playing conservatively and controlled, following your line and waiting until the perfect moment to make a pass. Similarly, Smash is a position-based game that favors intelligent defensive play. Because of the % system, the only hit that really matters is the last one that scores the KO. This means that you actually derive more of a strategic advantage from avoiding combat altogether

In a 4-man FFA, every time you hit an opponent three players benefit: yourself and your two other opponents. In the cold calculus of the battlefield you are working to give a total of +2 advantage between your opponents while only earning +1 advantage for yourself. The deficit this leaves you at is compounded by the fact that you are now at risk of taking hits yourself which benefits all of your opponents. Tactical play of Smash involves avoiding conflict and pushing your opponents toward conflict with each other (made especially easy in a game designed around attacks that knock your opponent away), taking safe potshots from far away, and waiting for the crucial moment when you can swoop in and land a decisive smash.

Link has the right idea

On the flip side, Hot Pursuit is much more about aggressive risk-taking: drifting, oncoming, near-miss madness to build up boost to go even more dangerously fast. PAS is capturing a similar feeling by making the change from % based ring-outs to a super-meter system. Under this system, the one player benefits when you hit your enemy: you. Also the downsides of getting hit are significantly smaller since you're only worrying about the enemy doing the hitting getting closer to their own KO's, not every enemy on the field.

In a way, this almost makes PAS more true to the names Brawl and Melee. This focus on maintaining an effective offense is facilitated further by the introduction of combos. Unlike Smash where almost every attack is a one-off sort of thing that knocks your opponent away and allows them to reset to a neutral state before you can follow up, characters in PAS will be able to execute true combo strings of multiple attacks keeping your opponent in hit-stun. Sony even went as far as to include an infinite prevention system in the game. That's how far these combos might go.

It's almost as if PSA is MvC3 and Smash is a version of MK9 where every non-special attack is an uppercut.

Situations like this should be much more common in PAS

In conclusion (TL;DR)

All the games in the Smash series are great, and a lot of that comes from intelligent design in terms of UI and controls. It's true that Sony borrowed a lot from Nintendo in this regard to make PAS, but game genres are incestuous as all get-out so this should come as no surprise. When you take a moment to consider the mechanics and the different ways they influence gameplay it should become clear that PAS is no more a ripoff of Smash than MK is a ripoff of SFII than Burnout is a ripoff of Gran Turismo.

Fuck man, video games.

#2 Posted by Hailinel (23868 posts) -

I don't think his complaints are entirely based in mechanics. It's not just the mechanics, but the theme of the game. Sony is developing a mascot brawler with more than a slight passing resemblance to Smash Bros. If they're going to develop a mascot brawler, the first question that needs to be asked isn't, "is this game a rip-off?" but rather, "Is there any way that Sony could have developed such a game without lifting directly from the Smash Bros. template so egregiously?"

#3 Posted by Akrid (1356 posts) -

Yep, the core mechanic is completely different, and thus the entire ideology is different. The movesets and characters act completely differently to compliment it's objective that is entirely it's own. The only similarities left are that it's a brawler from a side perspective, featuring a mish-mash of franchise characters.

But honestly, I would have preferred if they ripped SSB off a bit more... This game is not looking good in my eyes, mainly because it seems like you won't get proper feedback, as they talked about in the QL. If all that matters is the supers, unskilfully spamming attacks into a group of people for the majority of the match doesn't really scream fun to me.

#4 Posted by Video_Game_King (35985 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

If they're going to develop a mascot brawler, the first question that needs to be asked isn't, "is this game a rip-off?" but rather, "Is there any way that Sony could have developed such a game without lifting directly from the Smash Bros. template so egregiously?"

Or perhaps it should be "Does this game steal the right things from Super Smash Bros.?".

#5 Posted by Hailinel (23868 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@Hailinel said:

If they're going to develop a mascot brawler, the first question that needs to be asked isn't, "is this game a rip-off?" but rather, "Is there any way that Sony could have developed such a game without lifting directly from the Smash Bros. template so egregiously?"

Or perhaps it should be "Does this game steal the right things from Super Smash Bros.?".

If that's the question, then judging by the Quick Look, I'd say it doesn't look like it so far.

#6 Posted by Yummylee (21242 posts) -

@Akrid said:

Yep, the core mechanic is completely different, and thus the entire ideology is different. The movesets and characters act completely differently to compliment it's objective that is entirely it's own. The only similarities left are that it's a brawler from a side perspective, featuring a mish-mash of franchise characters.

But honestly, I would have preferred if they ripped SSB off a bit more... This game is not looking good in my eyes, mainly because it seems like you won't get proper feedback, as they talked about in the QL. If all that matters is the supers, unskilfully spamming attacks into a group of people for the majority of the match doesn't really scream fun to me.

I agree with this. It's most certainly different, but not for the better. Its attempts to diverge itself from SSB's may even be its own down falling.

#7 Posted by spartanlolz92 (511 posts) -

@Yummylee said:

@Akrid said:

Yep, the core mechanic is completely different, and thus the entire ideology is different. The movesets and characters act completely differently to compliment it's objective that is entirely it's own. The only similarities left are that it's a brawler from a side perspective, featuring a mish-mash of franchise characters.

But honestly, I would have preferred if they ripped SSB off a bit more... This game is not looking good in my eyes, mainly because it seems like you won't get proper feedback, as they talked about in the QL. If all that matters is the supers, unskilfully spamming attacks into a group of people for the majority of the match doesn't really scream fun to me.

I agree with this. It's most certainly different, but not for the better. Its attempts to diverge itself from SSB's may even be its own down falling.

sadly i feel the same. i wish they would add in a health feature of sometype other wise its just going to be all about the supers, I hope im dead wrong in this regard because other wise it looks like something i want to play.

#8 Posted by StarvingGamer (7991 posts) -

@Hailinel: That's what I'm arguing, that the way PAS lifts directly from Smash is not egregious at all (unless you're going with definition 2 of egregious: "remarkably good"). Games can borrow bits of intelligent or established design from one another and still craft an individual experience which is what I believe Sony has done.

@Akrid: Well, any fighting game can be devolved into unskillfully spamming attacks so that's neither here no there. Whether or not PAS is going to have the lasting fun of Smash remains to be seen, but I don't understand the whole feedback thing. In Smash it's the exact same thing. When you kill/die you get a little +1/-1 by your portrait on the bottom of the screen that disappears immediately. There is no way to really know what your score is in relation to everyone else until the match is over.

#9 Edited by Wrighteous86 (3735 posts) -

@StarvingGamer: Ask yourself this question: did they come up with this idea and this fighting system first, want to make a game with it, and then decide to put Playstation characters in it? Or did they say, "hey, Smash Bros. is cool, let's put our characters in it" and then try to find ways to differentiate on it slightly?

It's a rip-off. That's fine. But it's a rip-off.

The goal of the game was to make "their" version of Smash Bros. Not to make a 2D, 4-player party brawler that happened to utilize Playstation mascot characters.

#10 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

@StarvingGamer said:

@Akrid: Well, any fighting game can be devolved into unskillfully spamming attacks so that's neither here no there. Whether or not PAS is going to have the lasting fun of Smash remains to be seen, but I don't understand the whole feedback thing. In Smash it's the exact same thing. When you kill/die you get a little +1/-1 by your portrait on the bottom of the screen that disappears immediately. There is no way to really know what your score is in relation to everyone else until the match is over.

I disagree with you on smash. You always know where you stand because of the stocks and the percents are clearly shown on screen. At a glace it is possible to tell who is winning or losing and how players stand to one another. Plus A %number is more visual feedback then the meter in PAS. Every attack has a certain amount of percent it shall do. In the quick look I had no idea no much meter was being gained per hit. I bet that comes with play, but is not immediately apparent.

#11 Edited by xyzygy (9891 posts) -

I'm so sick of hearing how this game isn't a ripoff.

You can't compare Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, KOF, etc etc because those games belong to an EXTREMELY vast genre and they all have completely different purposes.

However, you CAN compare PAS to SSB simply because it is copying exactly what made SSB stand out in the fighting genre: a brawl fighter with quasi platforming elements which includes characters from a publisher's array of franchises, a damaging system built around weakening opponents before being able to KO (as opposed to a straight-up health bar), items which you can use in battle, and the hazardous environments (which for some reason they made it sound like this is something they came up with themselves at E3 and it's been in Brawl and other games and works exactly the same).

Hell, even the Buzz level looks like a straight rip of the Warioware level in Brawl.

#12 Posted by StarvingGamer (7991 posts) -

@Wrighteous86: You're basing your opinion on an assumption. I'm basing mine on the actual game. I think I'll stick with what I got.

@ImmortalSaiyan: I guess it's because I never played Smash with stocks. It always seemed unfair to the person getting eliminated first.

#13 Posted by Hailinel (23868 posts) -

@StarvingGamer said:

@Wrighteous86: You're basing your opinion on an assumption. I'm basing mine on the actual game. I think I'll stick with what I got.

@ImmortalSaiyan: I guess it's because I never played Smash with stocks. It always seemed unfair to the person getting eliminated first.

Then they should work to not get eliminated first, really.

#14 Posted by Jack268 (3387 posts) -

I don't know why people try to say it's not a ripoff when the devs have been pretty upfront that they want it to be their Smash Bros. People who are desperate to see change in the formula are only changing it for the worse.

#15 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

@StarvingGamer said:

@Wrighteous86: You're basing your opinion on an assumption. I'm basing mine on the actual game. I think I'll stick with what I got.

@ImmortalSaiyan: I guess it's because I never played Smash with stocks. It always seemed unfair to the person getting eliminated first.

You only play time? I never heard of someone doing that. I don't like playing time at all. On occasion is fine, but all the time, I'd rather not play, honestly. Too hard to follow who is winning. Ranting there, opps. How is it unfair in stock? If someone loses their stock that is on them.

#16 Posted by StarvingGamer (7991 posts) -

@xyzygy: I want you to really stop for a moment and think about what you're saying. You can't dictate whether or not a game within a genre is a ripoff simply based on how many games exist within that genre. That's such an arbitrary metric, where do you draw the line? Games are allowed to crib from each other where there are 10 different franchises? Or is the limit 15?

You have to judge the games individually, that's the only way. It's not like MK was a ripoff of SFII when there were only a handful of games in the genre but now that there are hundreds it's retroactively no longer a ripoff. If anything MK is mechanically MORE similar to SFII than PAS is to Smash.

#17 Edited by Ares42 (2573 posts) -

Isn't the problem more or less that it's not really a genre yet ? I mean except for Smash Bros how many other games uses a similar base concept ? It's sorta like what happened to Wreckateer. Angry Birds isn't defined as a genre, so the best way for people to describe the game was to say "it's Angry Birds, but different". In the beginning of any genre the games following the one with the original concept will all be rip-offs (as they are purely inspired by the root concept), but as the genre grows the concept becomes sort of a "common wealth" as all the games start to influence each other. Just looking at your own examples, I'm sure if you went back to 1992 there would be a lot of people calling MK a rip-off of Street Fighter.

#18 Posted by xyzygy (9891 posts) -

@StarvingGamer: I'm not talking about the quantity of games in a genre, I'm saying that SSB was unique enough in the fighting genre that it rules it's own kind of subgenre, which PAS is directly taking advantage of by employing EXTREMELY similar things that SSB did/does.

Sure there were things that have been borrowed by MK from SF, etc etc, and the same goes for many games. But how similar PAS is to SSB is on a whole other level.

#19 Edited by ZombiePie (5581 posts) -

Every single one of your hyperlinks is broken and leads to a 404 error .

Moderator
#20 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

@xyzygy said:

@StarvingGamer: I'm not talking about the quantity of games in a genre, I'm saying that SSB was unique enough in the fighting genre that it rules it's own kind of subgenre, which PAS is directly taking advantage of by employing EXTREMELY similar things that SSB did/does.

Sure there were things that have been borrowed by MK from SF, etc etc, and the same goes for many games. But how similar PAS is to SSB is on a whole other level.

If you look at it from a mechanics perspective, it really is not.

#21 Posted by Dalai (6995 posts) -

Sony is not doing anything unusual in the business. It's not like they're pulling a Zynga and ripping off games for a living. Like the OP said, the brawler genre is sparsely populated so the similarities to Smash Bros. are magnified. If Battle Royale were a classic 2D fighter similar to Street Fighter or the vs. Capcom series, this conversation would never exist.

And Sony is the only company other than Nintendo that can pull off a mascot brawler since they have a decent catalog of characters to use. The only downside is the characters aren't as iconic as the majority of Nintendo's mascots.

#22 Posted by xyzygy (9891 posts) -

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

@xyzygy said:

@StarvingGamer: I'm not talking about the quantity of games in a genre, I'm saying that SSB was unique enough in the fighting genre that it rules it's own kind of subgenre, which PAS is directly taking advantage of by employing EXTREMELY similar things that SSB did/does.

Sure there were things that have been borrowed by MK from SF, etc etc, and the same goes for many games. But how similar PAS is to SSB is on a whole other level.

If you look at it from a mechanics perspective, it really is not.

I'm having a hard time seeing many noteworthy differences in mechanics from gameplay videos that I'm watching, but I guess we'll have to wait until the game is out. The way you damage opponents is different but it's still the same type of rule - pound on each other until you are able to smash them off the stage. PAS focuses on super-KOs a lot more than Brawl, but that change doesn't seem to be a good move. Just a marathon of supers over and over. There's a reason why a lot of people turn off final smashes in Brawl, because they're easy kills and hardly focus on skill.

#23 Posted by Hailinel (23868 posts) -

@Dalai said:

Sony is not doing anything unusual in the business. It's not like they're pulling a Zynga and ripping off games for a living. Like the OP said, the brawler genre is sparsely populated so the similarities to Smash Bros. are magnified. If Battle Royale were a classic 2D fighter similar to Street Fighter or the vs. Capcom series, this conversation would never exist.

And Sony is the only company other than Nintendo that can pull off a mascot brawler since they have a decent catalog of characters to use. The only downside is the characters aren't as iconic as the majority of Nintendo's mascots.

For a brief moment, when you said Battle Royale, I thought of the novel/movie and my GOD that would be one freaky-ass fighting game.

#24 Posted by StarvingGamer (7991 posts) -

@ZombiePie: Thanks, this was typed during down-time at work yesterday and today and saved by e-mailing it to myself draft by draft. I forgot that the hyperlinks were going to freak out because of that.

#25 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

@xyzygy said:

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

@xyzygy said:

@StarvingGamer: I'm not talking about the quantity of games in a genre, I'm saying that SSB was unique enough in the fighting genre that it rules it's own kind of subgenre, which PAS is directly taking advantage of by employing EXTREMELY similar things that SSB did/does.

Sure there were things that have been borrowed by MK from SF, etc etc, and the same goes for many games. But how similar PAS is to SSB is on a whole other level.

If you look at it from a mechanics perspective, it really is not.

I'm having a hard time seeing many noteworthy differences in mechanics from gameplay videos that I'm watching, but I guess we'll have to wait until the game is out. The way you damage opponents is different but it's still the same type of rule - pound on each other until you are able to smash them off the stage. PAS focuses on super-KOs a lot more than Brawl, but that change doesn't seem to be a good move. Just a marathon of supers over and over. There's a reason why a lot of people turn off final smashes in Brawl, because they're easy kills and hardly focus on skill.

The rule is not the same. In Smash your objective is to raise your opponents percentage to knock them off the stage. You can KO them Left, right, up or down. The stage plays a major factor in the fight in Smash. In PAS, your fighting to gain meter so you can kill with a super move. The stages seems to not matter much at all.

#26 Posted by Akrid (1356 posts) -

@StarvingGamer said:

@Akrid: Well, any fighting game can be devolved into unskillfully spamming attacks so that's neither here no there. Whether or not PAS is going to have the lasting fun of Smash remains to be seen, but I don't understand the whole feedback thing. In Smash it's the exact same thing. When you kill/die you get a little +1/-1 by your portrait on the bottom of the screen that disappears immediately. There is no way to really know what your score is in relation to everyone else until the match is over.

By lack of feedback, I don't really mean in terms of progress. Your super bar lets you know exactly how well you're doing at all times, so in that sense it's even more clear then SSB. The fact that it's just a few moments out of the match that matter a whole lot more than the rest bothers me. I mean, you could probably estimate how many level 1's, 2's, and 3's you'll be able to get off in a match before it even starts, and if you happen to flub those (probably) 20 seconds of super out of the whole match that actually count for you, then you might as well give up. I dunno, the whole design rubs me the wrong way. The fact that the majority of the match is just preparation for one point in time is where the lack of feedback lies. You don't know how well you're really doing until your super is over - the stuff before that is only improving your chance of scoring by tiny amounts, as far as I can tell.

Not to say I'm not hopeful - I haven't played it myself after all, so it'd be nice if I was proven wrong and it works really well once you get your hands on it. I could see it being that sort of thing.

#27 Posted by Hailinel (23868 posts) -

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

@xyzygy said:

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

@xyzygy said:

@StarvingGamer: I'm not talking about the quantity of games in a genre, I'm saying that SSB was unique enough in the fighting genre that it rules it's own kind of subgenre, which PAS is directly taking advantage of by employing EXTREMELY similar things that SSB did/does.

Sure there were things that have been borrowed by MK from SF, etc etc, and the same goes for many games. But how similar PAS is to SSB is on a whole other level.

If you look at it from a mechanics perspective, it really is not.

I'm having a hard time seeing many noteworthy differences in mechanics from gameplay videos that I'm watching, but I guess we'll have to wait until the game is out. The way you damage opponents is different but it's still the same type of rule - pound on each other until you are able to smash them off the stage. PAS focuses on super-KOs a lot more than Brawl, but that change doesn't seem to be a good move. Just a marathon of supers over and over. There's a reason why a lot of people turn off final smashes in Brawl, because they're easy kills and hardly focus on skill.

The rule is not the same. In Smash your objective is to raise your opponents percentage to knock them off the stage. You can KO them Left, right, up or down. The stage plays a major factor in the fight in Smash. In PAS, your fighting to gain meter so you can kill with a super move. The stages seems to not matter much at all.

In that sense, PSAS really just boils everything down to Final Smashes, except that they don't require a special item to use and the K.O.s scored are guaranteed. But if that's really the only way to score points, and every other attack performed is in service of building meter, then I don't see how that makes the actual game fun. That's like taking the damage out of Street Fighter and requiring rounds to be won with ultras.

#28 Posted by StarvingGamer (7991 posts) -

@ImmortalSaiyan: Yeah, it's just always been the way I played. That means that everyone playing gets a full 5 minutes of fun and there's a steady pace at which new players can be rotated in. And there's this great moment of tension when the match ends and you're watching the screen with your friends just waiting to see who ended up on top. And when you get a surprise sudden death, fuck that's awesome. It's the chaos of it.

@Akrid: I get where you're coming from, but to me it's not that much different from Smash since in Smash it really just comes down to who was in the right place at the right time when someone was getting to be around 250%. You could have done all 250% of that damage but if you flub the killing smash and someone else jacks it, well, I imagine it's more or less the same as missing your super.

I agree though, this is definitely a wait-and-see sort of thing. I hope it's good but I'm not holding my breath.

#29 Posted by xyzygy (9891 posts) -

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

@xyzygy said:

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

@xyzygy said:

@StarvingGamer: I'm not talking about the quantity of games in a genre, I'm saying that SSB was unique enough in the fighting genre that it rules it's own kind of subgenre, which PAS is directly taking advantage of by employing EXTREMELY similar things that SSB did/does.

Sure there were things that have been borrowed by MK from SF, etc etc, and the same goes for many games. But how similar PAS is to SSB is on a whole other level.

If you look at it from a mechanics perspective, it really is not.

I'm having a hard time seeing many noteworthy differences in mechanics from gameplay videos that I'm watching, but I guess we'll have to wait until the game is out. The way you damage opponents is different but it's still the same type of rule - pound on each other until you are able to smash them off the stage. PAS focuses on super-KOs a lot more than Brawl, but that change doesn't seem to be a good move. Just a marathon of supers over and over. There's a reason why a lot of people turn off final smashes in Brawl, because they're easy kills and hardly focus on skill.

The rule is not the same. In Smash your objective is to raise your opponents percentage to knock them off the stage. You can KO them Left, right, up or down. The stage plays a major factor in the fight in Smash. In PAS, your fighting to gain meter so you can kill with a super move. The stages seems to not matter much at all.

Have you even seen gameplay of PAS? There is a stage from Buzz (those trivia games) that plays exactly like Warioware, they ask you a question and you have to stand on a certain part of the stage. If you get it wrong a pie is thrown at you. Or in one of the Kratos stages, there is this big guy in the background who will hit you. And there are some level where you can fall off. What are you talking about the stages don't play a role?

And the rule seems very similar to me. Instead of increasing an opponenet's meter, you're increasing your own meter. Both are achieved by inflicting damage.

#30 Posted by DarthOrange (3851 posts) -

Marvel Super Hero Squad

http://ds.ign.com/articles/103/1037329p1.html

"The star of the show is battle mode, which is basically a Marvel-themed Smash Bros. rip-off"

.

.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-Up

http://www.officialnintendomagazine.co.uk/12040/reviews/teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-smash-up-review/

"It's Smash Bros. with a shorter lifespan and less interesting characters, but still fun nonetheless."

.

.

Cartoon Network Punch Time Explosion

http://www.gamesradar.com/cartoon-network-punch-time-explosion-xl-review/

"It's like Super Smash Bros. for people who hate themselves"

.

.

Rag Doll Fu: Fists of Plastic

http://www.3djuegos.com/juegos/analisis/4399/1/rag-doll-kung-fu-fists-of-plastic/

"Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fist Of Plastic se perfila como el candidato de PS3 a fin de rellenar el vacío de los Super Party Fighting, y pese a no llegar a la complejidad del referente, Super Smash Bros. Brawl de Wii, su ajustado precio lo hace aún más atractivo."

.

.

Small Arms

http://www.computerandvideogames.com/154088/reviews/small-arms-review/

"Small Arms is pretty blatant about copying the gameplay of Nintendo's "Smash Bros," but it's exactly the kind of frantic action suited for online play."

.

.

Digimon Rumble Arena 2

http://reviews.teamxbox.com/xbox/880/Digimon-Rumble-Arena-2/p2/

"Sadly the game does feel a bit too much like Nintendo’s smash hit which definitely hurts the originality of the title."

.

.

Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/r_viewtifuljoerhr_gc

"Stupor Smash Bros."

.

.

When the hell do they all stop being called Smash Brothers rip-offs? Some of the people who are upset that Sony is making this game should give this a read:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheyCopiedItSoItSucks

"The error here is the automatic assumption that just because something is similar, it can't have any value on its own merits. If everything that was derivative was that bad, it wouldn't be done so much. Some can actually be quite good on their own. And enough followers can even make From Clones to Genre."

.

.

Also, as someone who is playing the beta, allow me to probably break the NDA I skipped over and tell you that when you actually play the game, it is very different from Smash Brothers. You need to save up meter but the more meter you save the more you glow which lets other players know, hey, this punk motherfucker gonna use his level three, lets hit him with as many level 1s or level 2s as we can before he gets the chance so that we can off set the score change. Thus, one strategy would be to only use level ones as soon as you have them as to not gain the attention of other players by glowing and thus never becoming a primary target. Another is of course to save to that level three and just rain hell and make up for your lack of points in one Dark Phoenix like attack at the last moment. Trust me, the game plays very differently.

#31 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

@xyzygy said:

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

@xyzygy said:

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

@xyzygy said:

@StarvingGamer: I'm not talking about the quantity of games in a genre, I'm saying that SSB was unique enough in the fighting genre that it rules it's own kind of subgenre, which PAS is directly taking advantage of by employing EXTREMELY similar things that SSB did/does.

Sure there were things that have been borrowed by MK from SF, etc etc, and the same goes for many games. But how similar PAS is to SSB is on a whole other level.

If you look at it from a mechanics perspective, it really is not.

I'm having a hard time seeing many noteworthy differences in mechanics from gameplay videos that I'm watching, but I guess we'll have to wait until the game is out. The way you damage opponents is different but it's still the same type of rule - pound on each other until you are able to smash them off the stage. PAS focuses on super-KOs a lot more than Brawl, but that change doesn't seem to be a good move. Just a marathon of supers over and over. There's a reason why a lot of people turn off final smashes in Brawl, because they're easy kills and hardly focus on skill.

The rule is not the same. In Smash your objective is to raise your opponents percentage to knock them off the stage. You can KO them Left, right, up or down. The stage plays a major factor in the fight in Smash. In PAS, your fighting to gain meter so you can kill with a super move. The stages seems to not matter much at all.

Have you even seen gameplay of PAS? There is a stage from Buzz (those trivia games) that plays exactly like Warioware, they ask you a question and you have to stand on a certain part of the stage. If you get it wrong a pie is thrown at you. Or in one of the Kratos stages, there is this big guy in the background who will hit you. And there are some level where you can fall off. What are you talking about the stages don't play a role?

And the rule seems very similar to me. Instead of increasing an opponenet's meter, you're increasing your own meter. Both are achieved by inflicting damage.

I have seen gameplay of PAS. Most of what I am basing my opinion on is the quicklook. It was just that all the levels shown in that quicklook were flat, save a couple platforms. They were all boxed in and appeared to be about the same in length. Sure compared to a traditional 2D fighting game, that is a lot. I meant in relation to smash brothers, where the stage is centric to the way the game is played. Because the objective is to knock someone off said stage. Sure are obsticles such as the buzz guy, but that hardly changes the fundamentals of how to approach the match.

The layout of stages in Smash is more varied. Some stages Hyrule temple or Shadow Moses have, walls in certain parts so you have to factor that in when trying to KO a opponent. Some stages are ever moving such as rainbow cruise. Others like hanenbow or 75m are totally different, thus you have to play a different way.

The ceiling on stages are different. Meaning it is harder to KO a opponent upward. I could dissect every stage in brawl and explain what makes them unique and the way you should play on that stage. Certain characters have advantages on stages that others do not. For instance Marth is excellent on battlefield because his long reach takes advantage of the low platforms on that stages. So the opponent has a hard time escaping his pressure.

I doubt the stage will play as big a factor in PAS.

#32 Posted by Sjupp (1910 posts) -

@StarvingGamer said:

In conclusion (TL;DR)

Fuck man, video games.

Yep.

#33 Posted by SuicidalSnowman (396 posts) -

Nice quality write up. I enjoyed.

#34 Posted by Encephalon (1240 posts) -

The revelation that people play SSB on any mode other than Stock continues to blow my mind.

#35 Posted by Hailinel (23868 posts) -

@DarthOrange said:

When the hell do they all stop being called Smash Brothers rip-offs?

Probably when more of them are actually worth a damn caring about. Until then, the games just continue to be watered-down rip-offs of Smash Bros.

#36 Posted by Wrighteous86 (3735 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

@DarthOrange said:

When the hell do they all stop being called Smash Brothers rip-offs?

Probably when more of them are actually worth a damn caring about. Until then, the games just continue to be watered-down rip-offs of Smash Bros.

This. FPS's were called Doom-clones until someone did it better. Only THEN did it become a genre.

#37 Posted by StarvingGamer (7991 posts) -
@Wrighteous86 That's incredibly inane. By your logic a game that is an exact replica of Smash that makes one tiny inspired tweak to make it better has created a genre but a game that borrows basic control structure and layout then adds multiple unique mechanics to create a significantly different gameplay experience is a ripoff if it turns out bad.

Do you understand what the word ripoff means? I put it right up there on top.
#38 Edited by Wrighteous86 (3735 posts) -

@StarvingGamer said:

@Wrighteous86 That's incredibly inane. By your logic a game that is an exact replica of Smash that makes one tiny inspired tweak to make it better has created a genre but a game that borrows basic control structure and layout then adds multiple unique mechanics to create a significantly different gameplay experience is a ripoff if it turns out bad. Do you understand what the word ripoff means? I put it right up there on top.

If something copies the core tenants of something else, and fails to exceed it, I consider it a rip-off. If it improves upon its source of inspiration, I consider it a successor. I mentioned Doom because it's not a "genre" until multiple games do it successfully and put their own stamp on it. Once that happens, and the genre is big enough to contain multiple iterations and sub-genres, it works. Until there are multiple successful and unique games in that "genre" it's just a bunch of games trying to copy and emulate the success of their predecessor. That's why nobody is calling this a TMNT ripoff or a Digimon Fighter ripoff or a Small Arms ripoff. Those games emulated Smash Bros. and didn't add anything to the "genre", so they are largely ignored.

The success of the follow-up, fair or not, changes how society judges it. To the victor goes the spoils. "Rip-off" is a subjective term anyway. They haven't shied away from the fact that Smash Bros. is a huge inspiration for this game. Therefore, it's up to every individual to decide if they have improved or changed the game enough to justify itself. I feel that after the game's release is the only time one can successfully label it a rip-off or not, on their own terms. Most people consider this a rip-off because they feel that the developers have not changed the formula enough to stand on it's own. The product was created specifically and solely in response to the success of it's competition. It's the Zune of video games. The Playstation Move.

Morality is subjective, and thus the term "rip-off" is, because the definition (that you so kindly provided) is one based on morality. People disagree with you. You seem to have a serious problem with that. Lighten up. I'm curious about this game. I'm interested in it. I think it very well could be good, but yes, I think they utilized the concept, the gameplay, and many of the design choices (to a degree that I find uncomfortable) from Smash Bros., while providing very little to differentiate it. The changes I have seen seem to be poorer design decisions instituted specifically to make it slightly different than Smash Bros. I am withholding my opinion until I see some reviews and play the game myself. I'm sorry if that upsets you.

#39 Edited by StarvingGamer (7991 posts) -

A ripoff is an imitation which is a counterfeit or copy. PAS is significantly different from Smash, therefore it is not a counterfeit or copy, therefore it is not a ripoff. Whether it's subjectively unscrupulous or blatant doesn't come in to play because it objectively is not an imitation. I am a mechanics guy, mechanics are an objective thing, I am making an objective argument. You can feel free to disagree with me on subjective topics all that you want. I'm acting incredulous because I'm telling you that the sky is blue, you're telling me that the sky is green, then acting like I should have known that you meant the sky is green when viewed through the green lenses you happen to be wearing.

#40 Posted by MegaLombax (384 posts) -

Personally, the draw for PAS is the character roster. I've always wondered how Fat Princess would fare against Kratos, that kind of thing. It wouldn't matter much if it was actually a SSB ripoff or not, its more about how the different characters play out with their different move sets.

If someone decides to make a Microsoft version of SSB/PAS, I would be interested just the same. Maybe after that, we could have a Nintendo vs Sony vs Microsoft brawler.

#41 Posted by churrific (475 posts) -

Nice write up. I agree mostly. I'm not in the beta, so i can't really say how it feels like in person. Just from the wildly divergent rulesets and that one combo vid though, PAS looks initially to be obviously different from smash. It remains to be seen if it's actually fun to play. Most people just don't want to see past a book's cover, but I'm trying to keep an open mind about it.

#42 Posted by Wrighteous86 (3735 posts) -

@StarvingGamer: I didn't notice you were focusing on mechanics in your article (despite being in the headline). I don't know enough about the game to speak to that yet, so fair point.

#43 Posted by Hailinel (23868 posts) -

@StarvingGamer said:

A ripoff is an imitation which is a counterfeit or copy. PAS is significantly different from Smash, therefore it is not a counterfeit or copy, therefore it is not a ripoff. Whether it's subjectively unscrupulous or blatant doesn't come in to play because it objectively is not an imitation. I am a mechanics guy, mechanics are an objective thing, I am making an objective argument. You can feel free to disagree with me on subjective topics all that you want. I'm acting incredulous because I'm telling you that the sky is blue, you're telling me that the sky is green, then acting like I should have known that you meant the sky is green when viewed through the green lenses you happen to be wearing.

Is the significance of the difference really great enough to matter to people that aren't into highly competitive fighters, though? Anyone can tell from a distance how obvious PSAS's inspirations are, and despite what some might think as an obvious cash-in, it's not a comparison that's proven particularly successful for most if not all of the games that have borrowed from the same source.

#44 Posted by mrpandaman (864 posts) -

@MegaLombax said:

Personally, the draw for PAS is the character roster. I've always wondered how Fat Princess would fare against Kratos, that kind of thing. It wouldn't matter much if it was actually a SSB ripoff or not, its more about how the different characters play out with their different move sets.

If someone decides to make a Microsoft version of SSB/PAS, I would be interested just the same. Maybe after that, we could have a Nintendo vs Sony vs Microsoft brawler.

In all honesty, this is really what it should come down to. The roster.

When people get the game, I'm willing to bet that 90% of people would care less if it played exactly like SSB. This is what many Sony fans wanted, a game like SSB they could call their own even if the game wasn't really it's own thing. It's the insane matchups people want to see, who would win Parappa or Nathan Drake??? Big Daddy or Dante? or how about Jak vs Ratchet? A SSB-type of game, IMO, is the perfect type of game for this idea.

#45 Posted by StarvingGamer (7991 posts) -

@Hailinel: It may not be apparent, but the same can be said of many fighting games, especially those that hew closely together like SF and KoF. But in a genre like fighting games that is almost built entirely on mechanics, I feel that these high-level distinctions are important to make.

#46 Posted by SethPhotopoulos (5101 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

@StarvingGamer said:

A ripoff is an imitation which is a counterfeit or copy. PAS is significantly different from Smash, therefore it is not a counterfeit or copy, therefore it is not a ripoff. Whether it's subjectively unscrupulous or blatant doesn't come in to play because it objectively is not an imitation. I am a mechanics guy, mechanics are an objective thing, I am making an objective argument. You can feel free to disagree with me on subjective topics all that you want. I'm acting incredulous because I'm telling you that the sky is blue, you're telling me that the sky is green, then acting like I should have known that you meant the sky is green when viewed through the green lenses you happen to be wearing.

Is the significance of the difference really great enough to matter to people that aren't into highly competitive fighters, though? Anyone can tell from a distance how obvious PSAS's inspirations are, and despite what some might think as an obvious cash-in, it's not a comparison that's proven particularly successful for most if not all of the games that have borrowed from the same source.

To be fair many games that use the SSB formula and failed were one to all of these:

1. Wasn't released in the U.S

2. Was on a Nintendo platform which already has their SSB inspired game.

3. Was a franchise no one cared about.

4. Didn't have the ability to market the product effectively.

Sony may have a chance.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.