PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Preview

July 3, 2012

Super PlayStation Smash Bros Battle Royale…

Seeing it in action and then playing PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale at E3 gave me strong sense of déjà vu, and there’s one massive reason for that. Remember Super Smash Bros on the Nintendo 64? The similarities are endless, but if PlayStation All-Stars has anything going for it, then it has to be the impressive list of Sony mascots. Kratos, Nathan Drake, Sly Cooper and PaRappa the Rapper, just to name a few. The game also features various stages, with their theme based on a combination of two games. For example, you have a LittleBigPlanet and Buzz! themed stage called Dreamscape, or Metropolis, which is based on Ratchet & Clank and God of War.

Whilst the game will have various different modes, I got hands-on with timed matches. Much like the rest of the game, these matches are all-out carnage, but over a dedicated amount of time. As you’d expect, the player with the highest score at the end of a battle wins. Each player has a power meter at the bottom of the screen which they must build up to receive a ‘Super Move’ to take down an opponent. To build up your power meter at the bottom you simply have to fight and hurt your opponents. Once you have the meter filled up, you then have the ability to use your super move which will cause ultimate damage to anyone is standing in your proximity.

The control set-up for PlayStation All-Stars is very simple too, with three combat moves at your disposal – heavy, quick and unique. Although the combat in the game is very free and fast-flowing, it can become a bit of a problem due to the game moving too fast. At time, this results in you not knowing where you are on-screen and what the hell is going on around you. For the most part, the mechanics don’t feel right either, with the characters feeling a tad float. Combine that with the game being too fast for its own good at times, and you have an experience that is both clumsy and frustrating.

One of the biggest problems with PlayStation All-Stars is the fact that only your super moves can kill opponents. If you hit an opponent with normal attacks you will just add points to your final score, and that number ultimately has no effect on your success at the end. The result of each match is determined by how many kill and deaths you have, which isn’t particularly great in the grand scheme of things. It’s all very well dishing out super moves, but you have to be aware that its just as important not to be killed by an opponent at the same time. As mentioned before, because you don’t feel entirely under control of your character, this method of determining the winner feels rather cheap. Why Sony didn’t go down the traditional points method is a bit baffling to say the least. I can understand why Sony would want to give the game its own unique ‘scoring’ element, and I’ve not got a problem with it when the game isn’t frustrating, but sadly that isn’t the case. Well, not at the moment at least.

The core gameplay is implemented well enough, but once you delve a little deeper frustrations hits, which is crying shame. Hopefully the development team can tweak the PlayStation All-Star enough before release to make it a much more enjoyable and less clumsy experience. Longevity is another issue the team will have to tackle, as it’s hard to see players coming for more on a regular basis in its current state. Plans for more characters and stages released via DLC are surely in the works, but at the moment I just don’t see enough in PlayStation All-Stars to keep players interested for the long haul. Hopefully, I’m proved wrong when the game is released, as the idea behind it has massive potential.

On the visual front PlayStation All-Star looks cute and colourful, standing up well close scrutiny. It’s not going to blow your socks off in the looks department by any means, but for what it achieves what it sets out to do. Each stage has its own unique look and feel, with the game featuring creations from past Sony published games, both past and present. It might not be a graphical powerhouse, but it most definitely has its own style and that’s commendable.

Sadly, being completely honest, I was left disappointed with my early hands-0n time with PlayStation All-Stars. As well as being frustrating and feeling clumsy, it came across as a bit dated too. The classic Sony characters and over-the-top gameplay are great, but the latter is let down by some poor mechanics and games design. Hopefully the development team will take notes of the feedback before the game is released, as PlayStation All-Stars has the potential to be a decent, fun title for both the PlayStation 3 and Vita.

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