PlayStation has had its fair share of interesting characters and stories throughout its lifetime and for most of us those moments will never be forgotten. Still, there hasn’t been a gathering such as this ever in PlayStation history, and if you want to know where the fight’s at, well then you’ve found it. So is PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale a unique fighting game experience? Well look no further cause your about to find out.
From what we have come to understand from most fighting games is there isn’t usually much of a story element involved and if there is, we don’t come to expect too much from it. When it comes down to the wire in PlayStation All-Stars, the story isn’t really what you would expect at all which isn’t necessarily all bad. The story is showcased by an introduction to each character through an opening picture slideshow as well as an ending one. Part of what makes the story very unique are the rival battles between your PlayStation favorites, which I find to be a neat way of bringing certain characters together into “what if” type of situations. Small in game cut-scenes represent these little happenings which act like more of a bonus for playing through each one’s story line. To my understanding it’s a pretty basic formula for a story and it’s there for the purpose of showing you how and why the PlayStation All-Stars came together to fight against one another in the first place. Although the story is somewhat interesting, it does make for a pretty good introduction to the game allowing you to immediately jump in as your favorite All-Star, and start duking it out.
The gameplay of All-Stars isn’t exactly what you might expect right off the bat but, it is very similar to that of Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. Instead of trying to smash an opponent off the screen, your entire goal is to build a meter by gathering AP to pull off a multitude of super attacks. This may seem like it would make the gameplay less exciting but instead you would find yourself actually being more strategic with your actions. This adds a whole new level of challenge to the gameplay, and honestly it makes All-Stars feel more like a traditional fighter because of this change. Some of the stages also play a role in mixing things up a little, with the addition of different kinds of trap hazards which make you lose AP if you’re not careful. It’s not exactly a huge loss but it’s enough to turn the tides of battle in your favor in some cases. Items do come into play as well, spawning randomly on the stage, and they each have their own variety of effects and uses. Mastering the use of items can really give you the advantage in a close match, and while most items deal damage to the opponents AP meter, others might cause disorientation or slow a character down. Like Super Smash Bros you can also avoid taking unnecessary hits by rolling, air dodging and blocking but in All-Stars’ case, you can also use these methods to avoid deaths from supers if you can get the timing just right. To be quite honest this makes the gameplay that much more exciting and if you can dodge a wrench… you can dodge a level 3 super from the God of War. It may take skill and strategy to activate a super but it takes ten times more of that to avoid a super, so you pretty much come out of battle feeling awesome if you can make that happen.
All-Stars does it’s best to appeal to Sony fans with the look and design of the game, but graphic wise… it certainly isn’t the best looking game out there. One thing good to come out of All Stars is how equal the likenesses are for the characters representing their own games. You will find that most characters look like they have been polished to a cartoony perfection, since the time obviously hasn’t done them justice. On the other hand, some of the newer generation of All-Stars looks like they have been thrown into the mix not entirely fitting in with the whole look. Still you can appreciate the move lists and styles that have been created for your favorite characters, which overall flows very nicely on screen. The stages also look very closely related to the games they come from and vary from all kinds of PlayStation titles. There’s even the odd bunch that are like two stages in one, which do seem to add some creativity to the on screen visuals.
The game starts off sounding great with a pretty amazing opening theme song (Finale by Madeon). You’ll also be glad to know that the music of the game is mostly stage/character related and if you are familiar with the many PlayStation titles out there to date, you might recognize quite a few of the themes you hear. Characters specifically having their own set of victory themes adds a nice touch to the amount of sounds you hear throughout the game. One thing you do have to give a hand to SuperBot for though is all the spot on voice work that went into the characters that play a role in PlayStation All Stars, making it truly feel like a genuine mash up of all your favorite characters.
The replay value of PlayStation All-Stars is certainly there, considering how much I’ve found myself coming back for more. With the inclusion of online functionality, it definitely gives you a reason to take the battle online in free for all or with a buddy in 2v2 ranked tournament play. Also if you just want to jump into a mix of other modes such as stock match, and kill limit feel free to do just that. There is also a set list of challenges you can complete for each character, which I found to be a little bit helpful in the learning stages. There is quite a few types of different things to unlock as you play such as titles, taunts, an alternate costume, and different kinds of character minions, who are mainly just there for show. My only complaint out of all this though, is the fact that there needed to be a more rewarding system for the amount of time you play. Another thing to note is the cross-play compatibility. With the feature Vita Players can brawl against PS3 players online without any difference between them. Kudos to SuperBot and BluePoint Games for making this happen.
In the end I feel like PlayStation All-Stars did what it set out to do, but it definitely leaves you feeling like there needed to be more of everything just in general. Even if that’s the case I still can’t help but come back to it every so often and have a good time with it. I think we at PlayStation Euphoria have proved our point of just how addictive the gameplay is. Furthermore we can definitely look forward to this game being supported further down the line by Sony Santa Monica Studios with more All-Stars to be seen. For now, we can just enjoy this celebration of characters and brawl to our hearts content.
PSE’s Fighting Game of 2012