Much like the popular Super Smash Bros. series for Nintendo systems, PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale pits popular mascot characters against one another in high-octane combat. Developer SuperBot Entertainment didn't just make some cookie cutter, though. It has managed to make the game feel like its own special kind of beast with a super power-up system that provides really balanced combat while also creatively putting together backgrounds that mesh together (like God of War's sea serpents popping up in the middle of Ratchet and Clank's Metropolis).
Just for fun and since these are fighting games, after all, we figured we'd ask the question of how well these games stack up against one another. Sure, some long-time fighting veterans swearing up and down over Nintendo's superiority across three released games (with a fourth on the way through a collaboration with Namco Bandai Games), but you shouldn't rule out PlayStation All Stars just because it's the rookie on the block.
Let's look at each game and see just how the two contenders fare.
It's obvious the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita hold an advantage over the GameCube and Wii with their high definition settings, so we'll just leave that out of the way. In terms of creative background design, however, it's pretty close. Nintendo's Smash Bros. games have always been inspired with its backdrops, whether you're fighting on the F-Zero race track (and getting run over by cars, natch) or in Donkey Kong's tropical paradise, complete with bananas.
However, SuperBot pushes a little further in creativity by meshing elements from two different game universes into one interactive background. For instance, Jak and Daxter's tranquil valley suddenly becomes plagued when a bunch of golfers from Hot Shots Golf show up and fire explosive shots all over the place. Meanwhile, Bioshock Infinite's traditional city of Columbia is shaken up when Twisted Metal's Dollface begins firing shots like crazy. It's this level of creativity that can't be ignored.
In terms of performance, both games hold up well. Smash Bros. and PlayStation All Stars both run at a smooth frame rate, even when you're engaging in online multiplayer sessions. The character animation is noteworthy on both counts as well, as each game maintains their certain touches. Yoshi can still eat someone and poop them out as an egg, while, over in All Stars land, Ratchet's use of over-the-top weaponry (including Mr. Zurkon!) is excellent.
Sony has a slight advantage in creativity, but both games as a whole look fantastic enough that you probably won't mind.
Here's where the line is likely to be drawn for some people. PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale definitely has some tactics borrowed from Smash Bros., especially when it comes to various types of attacks and item usage. Its brawling system is a bit fairer than Smash's, mainly because you can't get knocked out by quick KO's or fall off a platform accidentally. Plus, you have an extra dose of strategy when it comes to utilizing supers, as you can start with a quick level 1 with enough hits, or wait until you achieve level 3 and really clean up on the last-minute kills, giving you an advantage later on in the fight.
Super Smash Bros.' system is still fantastic after many years. Yes, there are ring outs, but only after a player sustains a certain level of damage, like 200 percent or more. (And by that time, they're usually asking to be put out to pasture.) Even the "cheap" ring-outs have a certain strategy, making for a balanced game.
Each game has a lot of plusses and a few minuses when it comes to gameplay, but overall, no matter who you are, there's something to enjoy once you get used to it.
It's easier to fight online in All Stars, but that's not to say you'll struggle getting into a match with Smash. Thankfully, the one place where Smash Bros. lags is now obsolete thanks to the Nintendo Network ID system used on the Wii U, making it easy to set up matches against your friends.
As for online performance, both games work very well. Playing in a Wii match is still great these days, and we can still find matches. The cool thing about All Stars is that you can play online with either the PS3 or PS Vita versions, and both games support Cross-Play, so you can engage in a match no matter what you own.
Overall, both games perform well, but All Stars seems a slight bit more accessible.
Finally, let's talk characters. Both games have some excellent choices. Link is always a favorite in the Smash Bros. legacy, while Mario and Solid Snake (from the Metal Gear series) are also quite good. There are also your quirkier characters, like the weird Mr. Game and Watch and the slow Ganondorf.
Not that All Stars doesn't have its fighters from out of left field. Sackboy from LittleBigPlanet, for instance, has an over-reliance on stickers that makes him an odd man out compared to more accessible brawlers, like Nariko and Dante from DMC: Devil May Cry. Parappa the Rapper and Fat Princess are genuine surprises and are fantastic to use.
Overall, tie game here. Both games have pros and cons in the character field, but plenty to choose from.
Honestly, PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale, for being a "copycat", holds up well against Smash Bros. The game's accessibility across two systems can't be ignored, and its roster and visual settings are phenomenal. You can't brush off Smash Bros. either. Though Brawl is a few years old, it's still a peak performer, especially when you can get a good match going here.
We're going to have to call a tie on this one. It's a close match, and Smash does have some strength in terms of longevity of the franchise, but SuperBot has performed admirably enough to hang with the big boys. Now, let's see where these franchises go from here…
Get our official strategy guide for PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale!