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Review: PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale

By Damian Seeto, Fri 30 Nov 2012
FYI, this story is more than a year old

There have been a number of fighting games released over the years that assembled a number of characters from different franchises.

Capcom did it first with its series of Marvel vs. Capcom games and Nintendo released the excellent Super Smash Bros 10 years ago.

Now it is Sony’s turn as many of your favourite PSOne, PS2 and PS3 characters come together for the very first time to fight one another in the long titled “PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale”.

If you have been a long-term PlayStation fan, you will love the diversity of characters that are available in this game.

Many of the characters are from famous PlayStation franchises such as Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series, Kratos from God of War and even Spike from Ape Escape. Even non-Sony characters are playable here such as Raiden and Dante.

Overall there are 20 characters for you to choose from with DLC scheduled to be released in the coming months. The only minor gripe about the game’s roster is that there are only two female characters available here.

Not to mention PSOne fan favourites Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon are missing in action too.

Fighting games are usually titles that can only be mastered by hardcore gamers. Casual gamers usually press the same button combinations which results in them executing the same attack all of the time.

The button layout in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale has been constructed in a way so that any gamer can master its controls. This is because the controls are the same for each character so you don’t have to memorise complicated button combinations like you would for games like Tekken.

All you need to remember is that the “Square”, “Triangle” and “Circle” buttons control your character’s main attacks. The “X” button allows you to jump while the right stick makes you grab your opponent.

The right shoulder button executes special attacks while the left shoulder button is to block.

Many fans will be happy to see that all of the characters in the game have their own unique move sets that have been featured in their own respective video games.

Ratchet & Clank can be seen using the same weapons from their own series of video games while Nathan Drake can be seen hiding undercover while shooting with a machine gun and throwing grenades.

It is neat little touches like this that show that Superbot Entertainment (the developer) has truly done its research to make the characters in the game feel as authentic to the fans as possible.

The fighting mechanics and physics play similarly to Nintendo’s game, although there are elements of Capcom’s MvC series featured on here as well.

As aforementioned, each character has their own specific special moves that they can execute. There are three tiers of super moves that are available and each of them have varying levels of damage.

The third tier super move is undoubtedly the most entertaining because not only does it do the most damage, they’re also the most entertaining to watch as well. One of my personal favourites from the entire game is when Tekken’s Heihachi straps his opponents onto a burning rocket!

Another thing to note about PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is that this game does not play like more traditional fighting games out there.

Characters do not all have a life bar that needs to be diminished nor is it just a one-on-one match either. You can have a four way match like those seen in the professional wrestling industry.

This results in fights that are fast, unpredictable and downright fun to play. The only way to win in this game is by executing super moves to “kill” you opponents. Whoever scores the most kills is declared the winner.

The level design also plays a part in battle as well. The great thing about the levels is that they are directly based on famous PlayStation games fans may have already played before.

There is a level in the game that perfectly recreates the dramatic scene from Uncharted 3 where all of the cargo falls off of the plane. It’s your job to try and hang on while you’re fighting or else you’ll die.

The levels also change their themes mid-way through each battle too. One of my favourite moments in the entire game is when the Jak and Daxter beach-like level transforms into a golf course where the Everybody’s Golf cast join in on the action.

The levels aren’t there just for eye candy either. Some non-playable characters will join in on the fun and will try and hinder you while you are fighting.

The characters that decide to pop-in include Dr. Nefarious from the Ratchet & Clank series plus monsters from the Resistance and God of War series come in as well.

In terms of the modes that are available here, there is nothing new here fans of fighting games haven’t seen before. There is still the traditional Arcade, Practice, Versus and Trial modes on offer.

The single player arcade mode is one of the lengthier ones I have ever played in a fighting game before. Whereas the arcade mode in Tekken Tag Tournament 2 averages around 10 minutes long, the average length of completing the mode here in this game is between 20 – 30 minutes.

With 20 characters to be each with different endings and other unlockable to collect, there is hours of gameplay to enjoy on the single player mode alone.

The versus mode is where you are likely to have the most fun. Up to four players can join in locally in a frantic four-way battle. Thanks to the cross play connectivity features of the PS3 and PS Vita, you could play against gamers online using both consoles.

You could have two friends playing on the PS3, while another two friends are playing on the PS Vita. PS Vita fans will be happy to know that their version of the game is virtually identical to the PS3 version.

Not only do the visuals look exactly the same, but the game features the exact same modes and characters. Usually portable versions of games are cheap ports so it’s nice to see that PS Vita owners are not missing out on any content.

All isn’t perfect about this game however. I do feel that some characters are more powerful than others and fights can be a little unfair because of this.

Characters with big swords and guns such as Kratos and Nathan Drake have more of an advantage over smaller characters in the game such as Sackboy and Fat Princess.

Also, fights can sometimes be too frantic for their own good and it’s often sometimes hard to see where you are or what you are doing when everyone around you is jumping around at a very fast pace.

The character endings are watchable, although they’re not as entertaining like in other fighting games.

Other than that, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is a highly enjoyable fighting game that PS3 and PS Vita owners will enjoy.

It may not introduce much new features to the fighting game genre, although the diversity of PlayStation characters on offer here is the main sales pitch here. If you’ve ever dreamed about Jak fighting against Ratchet or Kratos battling against Raiden, then this game is for you.

Graphics: 8.0Gameplay: 8.0Sound: 7.5Lasting appeal: 8.5

Overall: 8.0

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