A great party-fighter that is unfairly misjudged
- -Awesome character roster
- -Gameplay is fast, addictive, and fun
- -Combat system is deep and unique for each character
- -Tons of unlockables
- -Online is flawless and fun
- -Super Move system is strategic and works very well
- -Stages are dynamic and fun
- -You Get the Vita version for FREE
- -Weak story mode
- -Some missed character opportunities
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is a dream come true! While it was no doubt inspired by Nintendo's Smash Bros. series', All-Stars plays vastly different and delivers it's own unique experience that is great enough to stand on it's own. This is a game that both PlayStation, and party/fighter fans will appreciate.
All-Stars takes various characters from across the PlayStation Universe and pits them together for one ultimate showdown of epic proportions. SuperBot really went to great lengths for it's character roster, and it shows. From the "face" characters of the PlayStation brand such as Drake and Kratos, to the very popular Sly and Rachet, to fan fare characters that only PlayStation veterans will recognize like Parappa The Rapper and Sir Daniel Fortesque, there are also some great 3rd party characters as well including Big Daddy (BioShock), Dante (Devil May Cry), Raiden (Metal Gear Solid), and Heiachi (Tekken). The character roster is very impressive and features a total of 20 characters, all of whom are completely unique from the last and fun to play!
However as epic as the character roster is, it still feels a little disappointing that there is a lack of other great characters who helped make the PlayStation brand great. It would have been amazing to have gotten the chance to play as Spyro, Crash, Cloud, Snake, and other great characters that helped define PlayStation back in it's infancy, while these series' may now be 3rd party, it would have made fans very happy if SuperBot secured them for All-Stars.
Each character in All-Stars has their own motive for joining the Battle Royale, which you will discover in the game's story mode. However the story mode is a bit of a let down, each character's storyline is portrayed through still images with voice over work, it would have been far better to have actually seen these characters talk and move in actual cut scenes. Each character also has their own rival that they compete against, while this was a good idea, it doesn't really go anywhere due to the weak presentation of the story.
Which is a shame as there are some really great rivalries in the game, such as Drake vs Sly, both of whom are hunting down the same treasure. Or Big Daddy vs Sackboy, who are fighting over who will get The Little Sister's attention. It was a really smart and creative idea that could have been great, unfortunately SuperBot chose not to expand on this, making it feel like a missed opportunity.
Another weak aspect of the story mode is it's length, which in a word: Too Short. Each character goes through a variety of different match ups until they fight their rival, and finally the final boss (who I won't spoil for you, but he is underwhelming to say the least), each fight takes only a matter of a few minutes and you can fly through each story line in no time, making it a pretty forgettable experience. It's disappointing that there is no epic story mode for the PlayStation characters as there is for the Nintendo characters in Smash Bros., there is little variety in each characters story and it just consists of one short fight after another. It would have been nice to have gotten some kind of adventure mode.
All-Stars does however offer a challenge type mode, this is a great way to hone your skills with each character and it offers a good deal of variety, from trying to kill a certain amount of enemies with only a level 1 special, or attacking with certain buttons only, and more. This challenge mode varies from character to character and you'll have a great time tackling them.
All Stars also offers a robust multiplayer experience, which can be enjoyed both online or on the couch. The online aspects are flawless, finding matches is quick and easy, and the online is perfectly smooth without any lag or other problems, it's hassle free. Which is quite an impressive feat as this is an issue most fighting games has been struggling with, I don't know how SuperBot did it so well but they deserve a round of applause for accomplishing this.
Local play is great as well, up to 4 friends can take part in these epic fights (All-Stars also supports up to 2 local players for online), you can also add in AI which proves to be a formidable and challenging opponent if set on the right difficulty. There are a variety of different match types you can play; time, stock, and kill limit. You can also play in teams and there is a good amount of match customization that you can tweak to your liking, from enabling or disabling items, to choosing how fast the special meter feels up, and more.
Now I try to avoid comparing the games I review to other games on the market, I feel that it's best to try and look at each game as it's own individual aspect, however in the case of All-Stars I feel this is impossible as it get's compared so much to Nintendo's Smash Bros. series, and on the surface that comparison would seem appropriate. All-Stars no doubt took direct influence from the Smash Bros, it's a horizontal party fighter just like Smash Bros and it features it's own beloved cast of characters fighting it out in a grand showdown. However the concept is where the similarities end, in terms of practice and gameplay All-Stars is completely different.
The biggest difference is that All-Stars is not about health, percentages, or ring outs, in fact there isn't even a health system of any kind. Instead you have a special meter that builds up over time, each character has three different specials, and this is the only way to defeat your opponents. The way to increase your special meter is through attacks, the better your attacks the faster it increases, and getting hit too many times or from a strong attack can cause your special meter to drop. At first this unorthodox system sounds odd, but in practice it works brilliantly, with each player focusing the best way to build up their special and when to use the appropriate attack. This adds a very strategic element to All-Stars and it's one that is very appreciated. The gameplay for All-Stars is fast, very fun, and very addictive. It will keep you coming back for more time and time again.
There is also much depth to the characters, each one has their own very unique set of moves and play style, it will take you quite a while to master each one. Some characters are heavy hitters like Sweet Tooth and Big Daddy, they are more focused on getting into the fray and sending enemies flying about the stage. There are some more quick combo focused characters such as Raiden and Dante, focusing on stringing together fluid combo attacks to quickly build up their specials. Then there are the more versatile characters such as Drake and Kratos, who are good all-around type fighters. And you also have your more tricky characters such as Sly and Sackboy, who rely on outsmarting their opponents. There are many more fighter types in All-Stars, this is merely a small sample of the amount of variety in the characters and their play styles, there is something for everyone in this game.
The best aspect about the characters however is how they all play and feel just like you would expect them to. Sly moves and feels like Sly, Kratos plays just how you would expect Kratos, even characters such as Sweet Tooth feels like Sweet Tooth, which is surprising considering he never leaves his car in the Twisted Metal games. SuperBot paid great attention to the character detail and incorporated them perfectly from their respected series' into All-Stars perfectly. This was no small task I imagine, and SuperBot deserves praise for this. It really shows how talented they are, and more importantly, how much they care about the fans of each game.
This is also apparent in the special moves for each character, for instance Big Daddy can flood the stage with water as violin music plays in the background, bringing back memories of Rapture. Jak and Daxter can turn into his white eco form and fly around the map defeating enemies. Kratos turns into the God of War and lays waste to opponents around the map, while Parappa The Rapper sings a song that instantly defeats all opponents. It's all very impressive and the special system is surprisingly balanced, take for example the Parappa and Kratos specials I mentioned above, where as Parappa will kill all enemies with his special instantly, he is only capable of getting 3 kills max with it. Where as Kratos can get far more kills depending on how skilled you are at doing it. None of the characters feels overpowered compared to another in All-Stars.
The stages of All-Stars are another very well done aspect. There is a total of 14 stages and each one is dynamic and creative, you see All-Stars doesn't just leave stages as they are, instead they constantly mix them up.
For example one stage will place you in the cargo ship from Uncharted 3, it starts off as a small close quarters fight, then suddenly it the latch opens up and the rest of the level expands, and then later within that same level the ship thrusts further into the sky where Columbia from BioShock Infinite can be see, the ship then get's attacked by Songbird who tries to damage the players. Another stage puts you in the world of Little Big Planet where a stage is in the middle of being constructed as you fight, and another has you fighting in a large open area of Metropolis from Rachet and Clank, which later get's attacked by the Leviathan from God of War.
Each stage is very dynamic and fun, they are constantly changing and evolving, which forces you to adapt. The stages never feel stagnant or old, they are always fun and exciting to play. They always keep you on your toes. All-Stars also offers a good amount of unlocks to keep you busy, from things like new costumes to player cards and more. You will find plenty here to keep you very busy.
A nice bonus for this game is that you also get the PlayStation Vita version for free if you buy it on PS3. I do not have a Vita so cannot comment on what the experience is like on that system, but it's definitely an attractive offer.
So is All-Stars better than Smash Bros? In some ways yes, in others no, but that does not matter. All-Stars only looks like a Smash Bros clone on the surface, in reality the two games play vastly different and there is no reason as to why a person cannot be a fan of both games. I love Smash Bros, I love Nintendo characters, but I also love PlayStation as well, and All-Stars definitely has what it takes to stand as it's own unique title. All-Stars has proven that it deserves to exist along Smash Bros, the world is big enough for both.
All-Stars is a game that you can appreciate regardless if you're a PlayStation fan or not, it's a title that you and your friends can laugh well into the night with. You owe it to yourself to buy this game. You will be passing up on a great experience if you don't.
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royal get's a 4/5