Ever since the initial rumors about Title Fight, many gamers have stated that PlayStation All-Stars is simply a rip off to Super Smash Bros. Honestly, I thought the same at first. All-Stars has the same concept of placing mascots together, the same idea of a platforming brawler, and the same “Final Smash” styled level 3 attacks. However, as I watched more gameplay for All-Stars, it became apparent that it wasn’t just a rip off to Nintendo’s popular fighting game series. PlayStation All-Stars has different mechanics, move sets and art styles which have innovated the brawler genre. The relationship between PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale and Smash Bros is very much like “Tekken and Soul Calibur.” They both have the same initial appearance but the gameplay mechanics make them much different games. Tekken is about juggling combos with melee based attacks and Soul Calibur focuses on spacial awareness with weapon based attacks.
Also, at D.I.C.E 2013, The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences gave PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, “Best Fighting Game”, winning over the heavy hitters of the genre, Tekken and Street Fighter. With such prestige and innovation to the brawler genre, All-Stars may help Nintendo evolve Super Smash Bros in the long run by having them think more outside the box; competition can sometimes bring out the best in a studio’s creativity. Look at Crystal Dynamics with Tomb Raider in response to Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series for example. Despite that, here are my reasons why PlayStation All-Stars should not be considered as “just a Smash Bros clone.”
NOTE: I adore both Super Smash Bros and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale but I wanted to point out that PlayStation All-Stars is not an inferior product and is not a clone of Nintendo’s popular brawler. It has merits that not even Nintendo have been able to accomplish in their series and that’s what excites me. Super Smash Bros is a grand part of my childhood and I played hundreds of hours with the original Nintendo 64 game alongside my best pal. Also, I have played all the Super Smash Bros iterations so far and it is one of my favorite game series, period. Many of you will disagree with this article and that’s fine. I would also like to state that this is not made for hits. I have personally been very annoyed by the loose statements, made by quite a few people, about this game being a clone without any reasoning. All those ignorant posts have led me to write this. For those who actually have a valid reasoning for calling it a clone and have played the game, I am open to hear what you have to say. All I ask is for you to read the article, comment below and we’ll start a discussion.We would appreciate, however, if you comment in a polite manner rather than bashing the PlayStation fan base, PlayStation Euphoria or myself and only critique the game if you’ve actually played it. Thank you.
The AP System
The AP system is the main feature of PlayStation All-Stars which keeps the genre fresh and makes the claim of it being a Smash Bros clone void. Rather than knocking out your opponent from the screen, players must use super attacks to eliminate their enemies. When you hit characters, you will have a meter you need to fill up in order to use these supers and there are three levels of growth. Level 1 is usually a small ranged attack which usually takes out one person. Level 2 is usually a middle ranged attack which usually takes out two people. Level 3 is usually a huge attack which covers the entire screen and effects the battle area. Plus, you can usually get upwards to six kills with a level three super. With this comes strategy and unlike Super Smash Bros, you have to earn your “Final Smash” rather than simply obtaining it through a couple of hits on the Smash Ball. Each level, also, has the capability of taking out three people at once earning you six points but when the level is lower, it is harder to succeed that feat. Many fighting gamers have tried to figure out a way of setting up these level 1 attacks so they can receive kills in a quicker fashion rather than getting up to the level 3, which takes the majority of the match to fill up. With the AP system, PlayStation All-Stars also encourages players to learn combos so their AP (level) can gain in a quicker pace. While Super Smash Bros contains some combos, PlayStation All-Stars features a much grander array of moves at your disposal. The game also has a tutorial system where you can learn these off by heart. Beginners, however, can easily pick this game up and play it when instructed with the basic rules. Kratos, for example, is a perfect beginner character who can set up combos easily and has strong attacks at his disposal. Omar Kendall, the creative director of the game previously, has stated that the moveset of Kratos was made for this function.
While Super Smash Bros carries many elements that people like (including myself), PlayStation All-Stars offers up an in depth AP system which all types of players, casual and veterans, can grasp and have a great time with. While throwing or smashing characters out of the stage is still extremely fun, PlayStation All-Stars features a much more strategic feel when figuring out which level to save up for. When it comes down to the wire, Super Smash Bros has not come close to the excitement you can get from doing a last minute level 1 attack. That is why PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is not a clone of Super Smash Bros despite its appearance on screen.
Addictive (and functioning…) Online Play
While the online connectivity has been a mixed bag (at least it’s playable…), PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale has a few addicting features to keep you coming back. Firstly, there is the belt system which grades players on how well they play and as you beat your opponents, your belt rating increases. However, if you’re a high ranked black belt player and you lose to a white belt, prepare to lose many points. In result of this, PlayStation All-Stars keeps you coming back for more as you try and achieve the highest rank in the game. Just ask our own All-Star Addict, Andrew Flores. Plus, for those who like to check their rank on the leaderboards, there is that too, which accurately gives you a world rank depending on how many times you have lost, won or what place you have taken (first place, second place, third place, fourth place).
The dominant factor which keeps me coming back and not the belt system, is that you can level up your characters to unlock content. Unlike Smash Bros, you can change up a character’s intro, outro, victory theme, costume and taunt by unlocking them. With every match you play, you level up your character and when they hit a new level, you can scroll through the match analysis page and see what you’ve unlocked. You can also get cool backgrounds and icons for your signature as well when your name shows up on loading screens. Even to this day, I’m finding myself leveling up a new character, finding out how they play, and then unlocking some more interesting content. Sure, there are trophies and songs to unlock in Super Smash Bros but it doesn’t match the fun of customizing your character/profile.
The belt system and the ability to unlock different features of a character/look of your profile really makes the game addictive to play. These two new ideas establish PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale as a different beast to Super Smash Bros which had nothing more than a spectator mode and unplayable laggy gameplay for its online capabilities.
Creative Stage Design
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale features a unique way of incorporating their brands onto a stage by blending two games at one time and place. In the Metropolis stage, we see Ratchet and Clank’s majestic city but a Hydra, from the God of War series, attacks the area. Also, in the Stowaways stage, we see two different locations of Uncharted 3′s burning plane and BioShock Infinite’s Columbia. The whole concept is brimming with potential and the stages themselves prosper from this feature. The hydra in the back, for example, can attack players on the stage and the Stowaways level has two different sections: one is an tight area inside the plane itself and the other is in a wide open space with the Songbird (from BioShock Infinite) flying around the level. This idea can bring so many ways for crossovers and cinematic stage design. This “cinematic” nature of the stages really morphs the stages from the beginning to end of the match and this feature establishes why PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is not “just a Smash Bros clone.”
Enough of the fanboyisms
In conclusion, both Super Smash Bros and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale are great games which should be noticed by either side. I would gladly get a Wii U just for Super Smash Bros 4 alone and I’m sure many other PlayStation fans will too. However, discarding PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale just because it “looks like” Super Smash Bros is a grand mistake, Nintendo fans. With the unique AP system, an addictive online mode and a creative variety of stages, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is an exceptional and unique game which everyone (including the most dedicated Nintendo fan) should try out. So… enough with the fanboyisms, enough with the groans about it being a clone, it’s time for a Battle Royale.