When I saw PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale it immediately reminded me of that popular Nintendo title. I initially dismissed it, but my impression is now vastly different after sitting down with the game at E3. Sony is not fooling anyone–this game completely rips off the Super Smash Bros series. But considering Nintendo’s vapid E3 conference, and lack of a new Super Smash Bros announcement, this may be a good thing.
For those of you unfamiliar with PlayStation All-Stars, let’s get you up to speed. The game features popular Sony characters duking it out against one another on Sony inspired stages. The game is extremely fun; I suppose it should be considering that it contains many of the elements I loved about Smash Bros. There are a few differences, however, that distinguish it from Nintendo’s franchise.
The game has its own original gameplay elements. Firstly, instead of knocking opponents off stages, arenas are closed in. You earn your kills by pummeling opponents using three attack buttons (square, triangle, and circle) and collecting orbs that they drop. Collect enough orbs, and you fill a meter located near your character’s portrait. There are three super meter levels–each special attack becomes increasingly stronger with each level. Any level attack can kill an opponent, but the level three attacks are what stood out the most. Each character has a unique attack and is usually inspired by their game. For example, when a player activates Sweet Tooth’s Level 3 super, the sick clown pulls out a mini-gun and mows down anyone near him down.
So far there are eight confirmed characters.
- Nathan Drake (Uncharted Series)
- Fat Princess (Fat Princess)
- Kratos (God of War Series)
- Mael Radec (Kill Zone Series)
- Sweet Tooth (Twisted Metal Series)
- Sly Cooper (Sly Cooper Series)
- PaRappa the Rapper (PaRappa the Rapper)
- Big Daddy (BioShock Series) and the only non-Sony exclusive character
I played with Kratos, Sly, and PaRappa. Each character is distinctively different from the other. Kratos has many of his God of War moves; I used Helios’ head to stun enemies, Icarus Wings to perform a dashing quick from above, and the Bow of Apollo to attack from a distance. His standard attacks include some of the basic combos with the Blades of Chaos, but when I activated his Level 3 super, he equipped his God Armor and the Sword of Olympus.
Sly is faster and more agile than Kratos, so it’s easier to avoid attacks. Sadly, my unfamiliarity with the series kept me from distinguishing Sly’s different attacks, but I did notice that he uses his signature staff. His Level 3 super provided chuckles; Sly calls his sidekicks, Murray and Bentley, and the camera zooms into a first person view that I used to pick apart my opponents using a laser shooter.
PaRappa’s easily my least favorite character. He performs a kick-punch combo, a tribute to the popular song in his game. He also attacks with his skateboard.
I appreciated that each character stays true to its origin game. Kratos is still Kratos, although toned down. Sweet Tooth still pulls guns on the cartoony princess. It was a bit strange at first, but I’m glad they didn’t become kid-friendly versions of themselves.
The stages are impressive in that they mash two franchises together. For example, the God of War stage features Hades breathing fire and attacking players while they fight, but half way through the map the backdrop changes from the dungeon to a bunch of Patapons hanging out. Another stage turned Sandover Village into a 19th hole (with golfers!) from the Hot Shots Golf series .
The game is, honestly Sony Smash Bros, but I’ve come to accept that. It will be a fun multiplayer game to play with friends, and also be the online game Super Smash Bros failed to be on the Nintendo Wii.
Expect a winter 2012 release date.