PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale is essentially Sony’s take on Nintendo’s popular Smash Brothers series. There’s not much of a set up here. Heroes from famous properties like God of War, Killzone, Ratchet and Clank, and others are gathered to duke it out. Each fighter has his or her own story, fully voiced, but there’s not much not to go on. Fighting games have never been about story, but it would have nice to see something a little more fleshed out even if it was fan service and utterly ridiculous.
While it looks a lot like Smash Brothers, PlayStation All Stars plays very differently. For one thing, players and enemies do not take damage. As you build hits and combos, your Super meter increases from 0-3. Each character has 3 Super moves which, when they land, result in automatic deaths for enemies. These kills result in points and influence the final victor. The controls are also a lot easier to pick up compared to Smash Brothers. Even if you feel overwhelmed, there are plenty of tutorials to test your might. The robust cast of characters has their strengths and weaknesses, making these tutorials valuable assets. It’s a lot of fun, but it lacks varying modes.
Graphically, PlayStation All-Stars isn’t winning any awards. It’s fine enough, but nothing mesmerizing. What are special are the stages, which splice two different games together. For example, Master Onion’s Dojo starts off normally, then splits apart when a giant mech from Killzone attacks. Whether they include environmental hazards, or just unique backdrops, these are the most interactive and creative backgrounds I’ve ever seen in a fighting game. The music is also great; offering unique songs for the game alongside tracks borrowed from the featured games. The only issues I could note were a few freezes.
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is living in the shadow of Smash Brothers. It’s an awesome game that does a lot of things better than Smash Brothers, but in some ways worse. Its lack of differing modes and a dull story mark it down a notch. Next time they should just go with the flow and make everything clash together like a crazy Nicolas Cage movie. Still, I highly recommend giving it a try especially for Sony fans.
Score: 3/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on January 5, 2013 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.