Playstation All Stars Battle Royale Preview
Eurogamer 2012: Playstation All Stars is more of a street fight than a battle royale.
I’ve stated in the past how it’s been a long time dream of mine to see a mascot brawler appear on the Playstation platform. So it was with great excitement that I sat down to play Playstation All Stars Battle Royale with three other Eurogamer attendees. It is unfortunate then that when I left it had gone down somewhat in my estimations, going from a must buy to a maybe I’ll just pick it up for cheap later on. All Stars isn’t a clone of Smash Brothers, simply because it doesn’t have the accessibility and overall fun factor that Nintendo’s property has.
The idea is sound, but the execution is lacking. Jumping into the game, the first thing I noticed was how inaccessible it was to the new player. While with Smash Brothers a newcomer can jump in and have fun with it, but provide a deeper experience for veterans, All Stars wants you to spend time with it, which was impossible during my demo time of two battles. Would I have enjoyed it better if I knew what I was doing? Undoubtedly, however I need to take my experience at face value.
Concerning the roster, it’s a bit hit and miss when it comes to iconic characters. My partner in crime Joe commented on how it made you realise how few stand out characters Sony has, while another player raised concerns that there was a distinct lack of female characters on the board. For my part I found the selection to be adequate, if a bit lacklustre. While it’s awesome to see the likes of Sir Daniel, Spike and Parappa back on the big screen, there are a few characters that just don’t have the same appeal. It makes the exclusion of characters like Crash Bandicoot even more glaring.
The battles themselves are explosive affairs. Characters jump around and show off their remarkably flashy move sets. There’s a lot of depth to be had if you had time to really get into it, with the square, triangle and circle buttons all serving attack purposes, with different moves mapped to those depending on flicks of the analogue stick.
The game looks great and the level design is vibrant and a joy to fight on, each delivering a unique set of challenges. We fought on a Buzz/LittleBigPlanet hybrid and were pelted with pies for getting a question wrong. The fighting however is chaotic, and we found it hard to keep track of what was going on. We would die and not know who killed us or how. The game is faster than Smash Brothers which lends to the finesse, and confusion.
There’s also no on-screen data on how well you’re doing compared to other players. Whether it’s how often you’ve died or how many kills you’ve racked up. All of this is only revealed at the end, where your kills are weighed against your deaths, the winner being those who score the highest. It’s a little disconcerting not knowing just how well the fight is going, which lends to a feeling of ambiguity that did put some people off.
It’s difficult to comment on whether characters are overpowered or not, again because of the steep learning curve of the game. I did better with Cole than I did with Sir Daniel, utilising a mix of ranged and melee attacks, while Joe likened Parappa to about as useful as a wet paper bag, feeling distinctly underpowered compared to the sweeping attacks of Kratos or Raiden.
The game has a lot of potential, and looks to reward players who are willing to dedicate the time and hard work in figuring out all of the nuances of each of the characters. The inaccessibility will hurt it though, and younger players, who should provide a large audience, dragged in by the visuals and very concept of the game, could be put off. Sony and SuperBot Entertainment seem to want to create a hardcore tournament brawler when they should in fact be heading in the opposite direction.