‘PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale’ Review

Nov 20, 2012 by  

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Review Game Rant

Despite a solid blend of excitement and scepticism, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale has finally arrived for the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita. Superbot Entertainment‘s crossover-fueled fighting game has made quite a splash since it was first revealed earlier this year, but many who’ve been following the title’s development have remained cautiously optimistic about the final product.

Rest assured that Battle Royale is much more than just the Super Smash Bros. clone that many initially claimed it to be, but it comes up a little short in terms of worthwhile bonus content.

For those unaware of the basic premise behind PlayStation All-Stars, it’s a 4-player fighting game that stars well-known first and third party characters from the PlayStation brand’s past and present. Everyone from Ape Escape‘s Spike to God of War‘s Kratos are prominently featured in the game’s roster, alongside a few guest characters like Bioshock‘s Big Daddy, and they can battle it out for supremacy on several different game-inspired venues. The best part about these stages though is that they feature two game worlds invading one another. It’s a little odd to see the cartoony world of Loco Roco invaded by Metal Gear, but these stages just help channel the zaniness of the title’s actual concept.

There are a total of 20 characters that compose the initial launch roster in PS All-Stars, and (as many fans are already well aware of) that’s simply not even comparable to the competition in terms of sheer volume. Only having 20 combatants to choose from is one thing, but when there are so many other highly desired mascots still missing from the title it’s hard not to be disappointed by what could have been. Superbot has already announced plans to release the first pair of free downloadable characters early next year, and presumably the studio has even more still coming, but the on-disc roster is a little thin.

PlayStation Allstars Battle Royale Review

Uncharted meets Bioshock Infinite… Yeah, it’s awesome.

Once gamers choose their favorite character, they can jump straight into the single-player ‘Arcade’ mode – something that many fans will definitely enjoy. Each fighter has their own introductory scene that plays out with several different still images, and while it does work to explain the unique motives behind each brawler, it’s still a bummer that Sony didn’t bother to include actual in-game cinematics. Each character also has a special rivalry with another mascot in All-Stars, and portions where the two interact with one another, fortunately, features a brief cinematic of the two. These videos are incredibly short though, and don’t really give much background into why these icons from two different games are even going toe-to-toe with such hostility in the first place.

Regardless, going through as each character will net players trophies in PlayStation All-Stars, but, more importantly, it’ll also level each fighter up. Levelling up a character will unlock certain options for gamers to utilize, and there’s well over 1,000 things to earn in total. For the most part, however, these unlockables feel trivial, and don’t add that much to the actual game. All of the character specific content (i.e. alt. costumes, intros, outros, victory music, taunts, etc.) makes it well worth investing time and effort into unlocking new items, but these are still in short supply. Most of the time, players will be earning pictures and backgrounds, which are only used to customize a limited profile that’s displayed to online users, but very few will want to spend time earning them. There are plenty of items to unlock, but a majority of them are just too minor to be desirable; fortunately, the gameplay itself will draw in gamers for countless hours.

The core fighting mechanics in this title are unlike any in other fighting games out there, and they end up making for a nice change of pace from similar members of the same genre. In order to secure victory, gamers will have to get as many kills and as few deaths as possible, but achieving a kill isn’t as simple as pummelling foes into submission or knocking them off an edge. Instead, players are tasked with building up their ‘Super Attacks’, and this is done by effectively blocking and scoring combos. As gamers land attacks, their meters at the bottom of the screen will begin to build up, and once they fill the bar they’ll have earned a level 1 Super.

PlayStation Allstars Battle Royale Review

Once the fatal first level attack has been earned, combatants then have the option of using the Super or trying to reach the next level for an even more devastating attack. Players can build the bar up a maximum of three times, and activating that will usually net users a great deal of kills. These extremely powerful moves are the only way to win a match, and having three different tiers to build up to adds a nice layer of strategy to Battle Royale. It’s a very different way to play a fighting game, but Superbot’s excellent execution of the mechanic has given this game a unique aspect that many will want to experience firsthand.

If the standard way of playing doesn’t tickle your fancy, then it may be reassuring to know that there are several other gameplay options that gamers can choose from. The standard ‘Stock’ match is also available in case players want to stick to a more traditional formula, while the ‘Kill’ match helps make for a nice change of pace whenever individuals feel the need to mix things up a little. ‘Stock’ gives characters a set number of lives, and once those have run dry the person/CPU who depleted their life reserve will be unable to spawn. ‘Kill’, on the other hand, sets a score that must be achieved in order to win the game. Both of these make for some nice variation from the standard method of play, and their inclusion is much appreciated.

Once the story-esque mode has run its course, eager fans will probably jump right into the multiplayer aspect of Battle Royale, and this is where the title really shines. Players can hop into a free-for-all scenario against three other opponents, or they can team up with a friend and lay the smackdown cooperatively. Regardless, competition can be found locally or online, and the end result is almost always a blast. The connection speeds aren’t too shabby at all either with the exception of a few buggy rounds that’ll occur from time to time. Overall, multiplayer works well and many can probably thank the recent All-Stars beta for that. A warning for second-hand buyers though, this game comes with an online pass, and players will be unable to play against others online until the code has either been redeemed or purchased off of the PSN.

PlayStation Allstars Battle Royale Review

Overall, PlayStation All-Stars is an entirely different beast than any other fighting game out there, and its unique style of play sets it apart from similar competition. It’s so much more than many initially gave it credit for, and the only downfalls it has are a lack of interesting unlockable content and its overall roster size.

Anyone who invests in the PS3 game will also score a digital copy of the Vita version for free, making it a worthwhile deal for game-hungry portable aficionados. Superbot Entertainment and Sony have managed to create something that gamers will be playing with friends for quite some time to come, and anyone looking for a fun new fighting game will find just that in this crossover-fueled beat’em up.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is currently available on PlayStation 3 and Vita.

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You can follow Riley on Twitter @TheRileyLittle.

Our Rating:

4 out of 5

27 Comments

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  1. Good review, Riley. I think I’ll eventually get PSASBR.

    • Thanks, Matt. It’s definitely something that PS3/Vita owners will want to check out.

      • Do you have a Vita?

        • I do! It’s a nifty little device, but it’s a little short on worthwhile games.

        • I have a Vita, it’s easily the best gaming hardware I’ve ever owned. My $730 custom PC build doesn’t compare and the PS3 I’m getting on Friday won’t compare, all because of its great multitasking capabilities and portability. Overall, though, I’m not sure it’ll end up as great a system as Sony’s home consoles just because developers rarely develop handheld games with AAA production values in mind. The Vita’s way better than the 3DS, but it could be a lot better if developers would stop focusing so much on crappy smartphone games with awkward controls and design centered around trying to pull money out of the gamer instead of just trying to be fun.

          Grr. I wish handheld gaming wasn’t so disappointing lately.

  2. “There are a total of 20 characters that compose the initial launch roster in PS All-Stars, and (as many fans are already well aware of) that’s simply not even comparable to the competition in terms of sheer volume. Only having 20 combatants to choose from is one thing…”

    Except Smash characters are mostly copies of one another with only minor variety and All-Stars characters are all extremely different in playstyles and movesets. Each and every All-Stars character is wildly different, the gameplay variety is far greater to that in any Smash game. I’m not sure I’d want “copy” characters like Luigi or Toon Link in All-Stars, the 20 already in the roster are all exceptional. Not only that but All-Stars has great online multiplayer(unlike any previous Smash game) and the promise of great future DLC like Kat and Emmett Graves.

    My only problem with the game is the pre-order exclusive content. I was gonna purchase All-Stars today for my Vita, but I decided to use that money toward my very first PS3 this Friday. Even though I’d be paying $24 more for the PS3 version than the Vita version I wouldn’t get access to the pre-order outfits. I’m pretty much being punished for spending over five times as much on a major Playstation product instead of the smaller one, that’s messed up. Since that’s how it’s gonna be, I’m waiting until All-Stars is at a much cheaper price, like $30 or $20. I’m not gonna be treated like a second-class fan just because I spent more money on a PS3, at least not without treating them like second-class developers.

    I hate pre-order exclusive content and DRM more than anything else in the game industry.

    • Good Cole and Evil Cole have very similar move sets as well, but even MvC3 started with more characters. You can’t compare Smash to All-Stars though, despite a few similarities, they are two very different games.

      • I know they’re fundamentally different games, with Smash being all about momentum, positioning and ring-outs and All-Stars having a more traditional fighting game combo system, meter management and unleashing supers. Still, it isn’t unfair at all to compare the two. I’d say it’s unfair to compare MvC3 to All-Stars, MUCH moreso than a Smash comparison.

        Good Cole and Evil Cole only share around 30% of their movesets, they have somewhat similar movesets but their playstyles are extremely different, certainly more different than Mario vs Luigi or Link vs Toon Link. Overall, the gameplay variety in All-Stars is unmatched by any other fighting game I’ve ever played by far.

        I just wish I could personally own the game myself and not just leave my experiences to 50+ hours of the beta, 5+ hours of time spent watching gameplay online and 2+ hours spent at a friend’s house playing it on his PS3. I’m always waiting, waiting, waiting, never definitively getting anything major. The PS3 this Friday should change that for me, though.

        • How so? Each character in MvC3 has a unique move set, and none share any of the same moves. When you mention Smash having a larger roster filled with clones, it’s incredibly easy to point to other games in the same genre that have a much wider selection of combatants (i.e. TXSF, MvC3, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, etc.).

          Even with 20 completely unique fighters, PlayStation All-Stars’ roster feels far too empty, and that’s going to be a big issue for many. Still, the game makes up for it by offering a different approach to combat, and the end result is a lot of fun.

          • Is MvC3 a party brawler that supports up to four players at once, with a focus on platforming, items and stages? No, it’s not, so clearly Smash is the better comparison. All-Stars takes the good of fighting games like MvC3 and pairs it with the good of Smash, if it’s unfair to compare it to one it’s just as unfair to compare it to the other.

          • @Facelord

            Alright, you’re not getting what I’m saying, obviously.

            You jumped in saying that “Smash characters are mostly copies of one another with only minor variety and All-Stars characters are all extremely different in playstyles and movesets.” So I listed off other fighting games that have a larger roster sans clones – MvC3 being my example. Did I compare the combat mechanics of the two? No, not at all.

            What I find funny is that you’re so quick to defend this game when you haven’t even played it for an extended amount of time outside of the beta.

          • I thought I made it clear I’ve played the full game at a friend’s house for a few hours and was very impressed, along with the 50+ hours of the beta and a few hours of watching videos and streams from the game. Don’t try to label me some fanboy in an attempt to try to make my comments seem more baseless, I assure you I’m no Playstation fanboy. In my head I guess I’m a Sony fan, but I just don’t feel any emotional connection to them. :/

            I got what you were saying completely, but that doesn’t mean I can’t whole-heartedly disagree. I shouldn’t have to repeat myself, but here I go: MvC3 isn’t a four-player party brawler with items, interactive stages or platforming. Smash is. All-Stars has tons of gameplay variety between characters. Smash does not. That should more than make up for the fact that the recent Smash games have more characters than All-Stars, but apparently you value quantity over quality. That’s an opinion so it isn’t invalid, but I disagree.

          • I’m not saying quantity is more important than quality, far from it, but Superbot failed to achieve a balance between the two – which is one of the biggest faults that myself and several others had with the game.

            You’ve explained why you believe you can’t compare All-Stars to anything other than Smash, I get what you’re saying. I’m going to repeat myself though: I’m not comparing the mechanics of other fighters, or any of the other similarities you’ve pointed out between Royale and Smash. I’m simply saying that a number of other fighters have larger rosters with no clones. THOSE games have achieved a much better balance of quantity and quality.

            Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you can’t be satisfied with the game’s 20 character roster, but you can’t deny that more characters wouldn’t have been a bad thing.

          • Right, and more characters are going to be a good thing in the DLC they’re throwing out. I’m more than satisfied with the 20 characters in the base game and the game will become more and more complex and valuable in time, they’re gonna continue to support the game well after release with temporarily-free DLC characters; that’s awesome. They’ve clearly used their time wisely in developing the game, I’d rather have the 20 characters we got than 30 characters that don’t play as well as the well-refined 20 currently in the lineup. I really don’t think the number of characters is a flaw at all.

            I’m definitely pissed about the pre-order exclusive content that I’m gonna miss out on and the DRM in the form of online passes, though. Two things that I hate most in the industry, both in the one game I’ve been excited for all year. Depressing as hell, reason enough for me not to get the game until it gets a deep price cut. I’m waiting for it to cost $30 or less, there’s no way I’d pay any more than that for an incomplete game.

          • You two are both missing a very important facet in all of these comparisons.

            Smash bros has had three games to build up its impressive roster, with large, generation-length time gaps between each games’ development.

            Marvel Vs Capcom, Same thing. And each character in this game has far fewer moves a piece than those in Playstation All-Stars.

            DLC and (hopefully) an eventual sequel will rectify roster size, just give it time. The franchise is young.

            Also, Facelord, the only preorder content you’re missing out on is costumes. Buy the game new, or find a used copy online with an unused online pass, and you can play online just fine. Unfortunately for you, all of Sony’s first party games require online passes, and it’s been that way since 2011. Online passes are a way for developers to make some revenue off the used game market, which otherwise only benefits the seller (Gamestop, online people, etc.)

            We want this game to sell and make money so Sony lets them make a sequel.

          • Ryuhza, I already knew every single thing you had to say about the pre-order content. I don’t think you understand my mindset regarding the matter: I think it’s unacceptable to greedily withhold any content, no matter how trivial, from a person who purchases your game.

            I’m also against online passes because it’s a form of DRM. I can’t loan my friend a copy of All-Stars and let him play the game online for a weekend to convince him to get the game, I have to either share my account with him(which is b.s.) or bring my PS3 to his house and let him play it under my supervision. It’s a counter-intuitive attempt at controlling the market and I’m very against it.

            I want the game to sell well so we can get more sequels, but even more than that I want DRM and pre-order exclusive content to be banished from the industry. Not purchasing the game won’t make those things go away, but it sure as hell isn’t rewarding them for their wrongdoings. I’ll buy a copy of the game when it comes with the pre-order exclusive outfits or maybe I’ll just wait until it’s $30 or less; if it’s at that price AFTER the DLC(like Kat and Emmett) starts costing money, though, I’ll add the price of the DLC to the overall price of the game. I’m not gonna be shafted, having to wait for the game I was most excited for this year is painful enough and I’m not gonna let them nickel-and-dime me unless they it’s on my terms. That’s completely fair, I say.

  3. Thanks for the Review Riley, I’m thinking of getting a Vita now..

    • haha No problem. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      • hey Riley quick question
        Is there a game mode like in smash?
        As in you start with 0% and you have to be beaten off the stage or is it all supers at all times?

        • It’s always focused on supers at all times. There is no Smash mode. The game was balanced with supers in mind, it really couldn’t work any other way. It’s a wonderful game offering a totally new way to look at party brawlers. I definitely recommend the title, personally, as long as you aren’t totally against pre-order exclusive content and DRM. I think that’s just me, though.
          At least I can still play the game at my friend’s house. ;w;

          • i playey the demo non stop but i couldnt get over the only super thing i may just wait for its price to go down but for now ill just wait
            Thanks for answering i was starting to think i would never get my answer

        • Trust me, Supers only isn’t as bad as it sounds in your head. I was always worried about that before I tried the game too. It’s a very exciting system that encourages aggressive, action-filled play and discourages running and hiding.

          • I appreciate the kind words but with an only super system i dont think i can get myself to buy it

  4. Great review.
    Sounds like a guy that actually gets what it’s all about instead of comparing it to smash bro’s none stop.
    Nice to hear someone review the game as it is instead of how it should be.
    I personally love the supers system it definitely separates it from other fighting/party games out there.
    Loved the beta but got to wait till Christmas to play the full game! >_<
    nooooo!

  5. I agree with everything except roster size.

    It doesn’t seem like a lot when compared with other games… and then you realize that EVERYTHING else out there is on its third iteration or more. Go back to the first game in ANY series, and there were not 20 characters to choose from. Looking at it that way- which I think is the right way of approaching it- just twenty characters on-disc is plenty.

    • Thank you Jaques. Too many people seem to be missing that.

  6. Only bad thing are these new spamming techniques we call stales.

    such as….. evil cole charge circle to level one. raiden counter or forward slash to level one and others i cant remember. its like on dissidia when you can branch normals straight into brave attacks its just like whats the point -_-

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