Dylan Wiggan looks at Sony’s attempt to emulate the success of Super Smash Bros.
Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale is an upcoming PS3 and PSVita exclusive, unashamedly inspired by Nintendo’s popular franchise Smash Bros. Like that title, All-Stars is a mascot-brawler but instead of sporting Mario, Link, Donkey Kong et al, it brings together past, present and even future icons from Sony’s consoles such as Ratchet and Clank, Nathan Drake, Metal Gear Revengence’s Raidan. As a pretty dedicated Smash Bros fan I met the announcement of All-Stars with mixed emotions. The opportunity of playing this type of game with all my favourite Sony characters, on a HD console, with a real online system was a cause of great excitement. However, moving in directly on Nintendo’s patch has not always proved successful for Sony (See PlayStation Move). Therefore after hours of playing the All-Stars’ beta I was relieved to be tremendously enjoying myself.
What’s really exciting is that the Beta, available for anyone to download off the PlayStation Store until the October 31st, is extremely bare-bones. Only six characters and two stages were playable and the only mode was online free for all matches. Yet despite this lack of diversity, the ‘easy to pick up, difficult to master’ gameplay was completely engrossing.
In All-Stars you fight opponents to gain ‘AP’, earning enough ‘AP’ allows players to use one of three levels of ‘Super’ moves which can be used to defeat opponents and earn points. Each character has different ‘Super’ moves and lots of the fun is learning what these moves are and how best to use them. There is surprising depth of strategy involved as the characters gain ‘AP’ at different rates and their ‘Supers’ have varying degrees of effectiveness. Therefore learning each character and how they suit your play style is essential to dominate online, as you need to decide whether to save up your ‘AP’ for a level three super or fire out several level ones or twos. That’s getting a little technical however; as All-Stars is a broadly appealing game with deliberate Nintendo-esque ‘pickup and play’ ability, with the depth there for those only who seek it.
The Vita version of All-Stars should not be ignored as after my time playing it the best compliment I can give it is that is incredibly similar experience to its PS3 counterpart. Also thanks to Sony’s ‘Cross Buy’ promotion anyone who buys the PS3 version receives Vita version for free.
After my time with this beta I can’t wait to play the full game when it’s released on November 23rd. Don’t be put off by its mouthful of a name, or it’s perhaps cynical origin- Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale is a really fun game, and one any PS3 or Vita owner should be excited for.