Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale is a game which has been turning a lot of heads recently. With it’s premise similar to Nintendo’s Super Smash Brothers, but with clever use of Sony characters and a few gameplay twists, it’s good enough to stand on its own. The demo available gave you the option to use the classic PS3 controller or the PS Vita to play a local four player game. I picked to stick to the controller whereas Flipdock decided to try it out on the Vita. You can read his impressions further down.
Each character has 3 main attacks mapped to the square, triangle and circle button, a jump on the X button, a block, grabs, taunts and a special move. All of these, obviously, vary from character to character, making everyone feel unique and powerful in their own way.
The first character I tried was Jak from Jak and Daxter. He is a middle/light weight character with a large assortment of weapons and gadgets from his games for you to use. Being a fairly fast character, he is best played by keeping your distance from your opponents, relying mostly on your ranged attacks. When you do get in close combat, your best bet is to use your melee attack a few times, before executing a grab to keep your distance. This technique worked well enough for me to earn first place in my first match.
Cole McGrath, from Infamous fame, was a slightly heavier character, I would say a middleweight character. Cole was also more melee-focused with only one light ranged attack used to chip some damage before delivering the heavy blows. Cole never really felt right for me, and I had difficulty finding a suitable tactic to fully use his potential. The downside with melee focused characters is that fistfights tend to get really hectic, which is a double-edged sword. On one side, it keeps the fights intense and unpredictable, always leaving room for suspense at the end to see who won the match whereas, on the flip side, the fistfights can become too hectic, and often resulted in me losing sight of where my character was and what he was doing. Despite my difficulties with Cole, I still managed to score a sweet second place with Flipdock earning his first victory.
The last character I tried out was the Helgan commander from the Killzone series. He was a good balance between melee and ranged and was more of a medium/heavy weight character. Whilst I preferred to play him as a ranged character, using his gun to do some light damage and some heavy damage with the sticky grenade launcher (a little overpowered in my opinion), I still liked to get into the occasional hectic fistfight. Despite the Helgast being my favourite character and doing my best performance, I wasn’t able to secure a win – the AI as Sly Cooper dominated the match. I had to accept another second place.
The aim of the game, for those who are unfamiliar or still shaky on the topic, is to hit your opponents as much as possible in order for them to drop little glowing balls. There is no health meter in Playstation All-Stars, instead, in its place, there is a super bar which fills thanks to the glowing balls you pick up from damaged enemies. The more you super bar is filled, the higher the level of your super move you can perform; the downside is that you will drop more glowing energy balls when you get hit, so the risk-reward factor is quite high. Your super move is the only move which can kill a player, awarding you two points per kill. If you die, you lose a point. So, what’s the point of getting your super level up to the max (level 3) if your level 1 super move can already kill your opponents in 1 hit and award you two sweet points? Well, usually level 1 moves have a small range, and don’t last much longer than a normal move. A level 3 super move has a much larger range and lasts longer, usually giving you the chance to kill the same opponent twice, if you are good enough.
I was walking in expecting a Super Smash Bros. Clone and walked out feeling that Playstation All-Star Battle Royale was worthy of being recognised as its own game. It plays very differently to Super Smash Bros., and it’s very hard to compare the two. It’s a fun and entertaining game and, also thanks to its solid PS Vita cross-platform play, is a game which will be enjoyed by many when it comes out on November 20th.