PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale review

Round up your favourite characters from the PlayStation world and fight against and alongside your friends, sharing couch or meeting up online with friends from far away.

I clearly remember the debate this game sparkled prior to release, and various media calling it the PlayStation Smash Bros. was a two edged sword to say the least. One one side we had the fans of the Smash Bros. games who got kind of disappointed from gameplay videos and the beta testing, saying the game was dull and shallow in gameplay. On the other hand we had the gamers who downright didn’t like the Smash Bros. game and that way disregarded Battle Royale the second the media started the comparison. I, myself, have never even tried the Smash Bros. games, but I do (and did at the time) know what it’s about – and it got me excited, I simply loved the concept.

Not entirely a buttonmasher

I had tried the game at a press event or two, and I was intrigued by the game and the idea behind it, yet I felt that the game lacked depth of gameplay and I got the impression that it was a careless buttonmasher. I’ve always been interested in the Smash Bros. games, but never actually got to play them, so I can’t really sit here and compare the games, much less tell you which is better based on what. But then again, this will also make this review that much more unprejudiced, and also free of constant comparing the two.

When I got my hands on the full game, I decided to go through the tutorial, as I knew it would help me down the road anyway – something I didn’t do with the version I had hands-on with at the press events. I was amazed how much more diverse the game actually is than first presumed, and other players has experienced the same thing when I asked them about it online on communities.

Left stick along with directional buttons moves your character, X makes him/her jump, square is hands, triangle is feet, and circle is a special move. Throw your opponents with right stick, block their attacks with left trigger(Vita) use your super move with right trigger (Vita). Now that you’re up to speed, this is not just a button masher like Tekken is, but it’s not as timing leet skills demanding as for example Soul Calibur – but somewhere in the middle, with Supers as the unique item.

Take down your opponents!

You can not kill your opponents with other moves than your Super moves, and this is what have been criticised by players, but also praised as something that makes the game unique from other fighters on the market. To me, the big issue at the moment is the difference on how easy some characters is to play versus other characters which are hard to learn, to such an extent that even some feel overpowered over other characters. In the end it all dubs down to style and preferences of play. Basically you hit your opponent with various moves until you’ve earned your Super move, then use it to get your kills. There’s three levels of supers, the higher, the more heavy your attack will be, and of course how these works is unique to each character.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale arrived at the stores with 20 characters to play with, and no unlockables as rumored – but with promises of more down the road. In 2 weeks we’ll see Kat from Gravity Rush and Emmet from Starhawk arrive as a DLC pack – free for two weeks. I expect more to join the cast, especially since the community has been urging for some characters to arrive. The only real thing standing in the way is licenses and the money (time) for development. I’ve seen names such as Spyro, Ryo and Crash Bandicoot being mentioned as something the players would like to see. I, myself would love to see Crash and perhaps another Tekken character joining Heihachi, but I am biased as I am a fan of that series.

The future of the game and the ending of my review

The online community surrounding this game seems to be sprouting heavily, players sharing their thoughts on the game, their wishes for future updates, and not to mention un-official tournaments – but the real deal is when official tournaments includes this game, like the Winter Brawl 7 going on in Philadelphia in February. If this keeps up, hopefully Superbot will keep adding new playable characters to the rooster and other updates.

All in all, I was so psyched for this game when I first heard about it, got a little let down by the demo version, and agreed with what others said – something was missing out on the game, it felt shallow and not something that would be fun for long. I was pleasantly surprised when I started the full game and got to know all the controls through the tutorial sequence. This is not something I will be sitting and playing for hours on my own, but this is absolutely something I will dig out when having friends over.

Note that this game was primarily played on Vita, but was tested on PS3 as well.

Hit; A great mix of characters from various games is always fun, different universes colliding will never be dull.

Miss; The differences in power and easy-to-play characters. I had a hard time playing on the hardest difficulty with certain characters, and I was told other players experienced the same thing.

Need; More characters and stages, simple enough. The game live just fine without an actual single player story, though it could have been fun to experience a story in the universe.

Written by

Getting sucked into games by Super Mario as a kid, gaming got on hold during her teens. Lured into gaming with the 7th generation by GTA IV, and a few years later intrigued by reviewing games, and now she's running gamingirl since 2009.
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