Who knew that Nintendo’s idea of putting everyone within their company history into a fighting game would be such a tremendous idea? Super Smash Bros. came out for Nintendo 64 several years ago and has since flourished into a game that both dedicated fans and hardcore fighting zealots have come to appreciate. It's not hard to see why a company with a great character line-up of their own like Sony would want their very own brawler, and that's what we have with PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale.
Sony has been working closely with the newly founded Superbot studio on its own take of the Smash Bros. legacy on Battle Royale, a game in which everyone from the company’s 17-year company history comes out to fight merely for the sake of seeing who’s the best.
Like Smash Bros., you engage in enclosed areas, fighting it out while the environment changes around you. What’s ridiculous here, however, is how events from one game almost seamlessly dip into another. The God of War background, for instance, has Hades looking all high and mighty and occasionally smashing into the stage. But soon he finds himself subdued by a multitude of… Patapon soldiers? Yep, anything can happen in PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale… and it usually does.
Sony has revealed only six characters on the roster they are planning on revealing plenty more in the months ahead. For now, we can confirm the following: Sly Cooper, Parappa the Rapper, Fat Princess, Colonel Radek from Killzone, Sweet Tooth from Twisted Metal and Kratos from God of War. Each one is quite serviceable in a fight, between Parappa’s kung fu tricks, Kratos’ Blades of Chaos (and other weapons, depending what attack he’s doing) and Colonel Radek’s sniper rifle.
Each character is naturally tweaked for different specialties, meaning some are better at up-close attacks – like Parappa and Fat Princess – while others do better from a distance, like Sweet Tooth (who chucks bombs and mines from afar) and Radek. It’s up to you to play around with characters and see who fits best.
While the general nature of Smash Bros. is recognizable in PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale, there are a couple of original elements that keep it from being an all-out copy. The first is that the stages are enclosedso you don’t have to worry about falling off the edge to your death or being knocked into oblivion by a powerful enemy. Here you'll have a better chance of staying in the fight, though you can still be taken out if someone hits you with a super.
The second is the three-level super system. No matter which one is selected, if you’re hit with it you’re pretty much done for! The first level can hit one or two enemies within a shortened range while the second is a little more powerful, going a longer distance and with more power. The final is an all-out “get the heck out of the way if you want to live" attack, ranging from a Parappa rap attack (complete with a dancing boombox) to Sweet Tooth’s transformation into a psychotic robot. It’s really crazy stuff, and the right timed super attack can really rack up an impressive number of kills. Our personal favorite is Radek’s as he straps on a backpack and shoots everyone like mad from a first-person perspective.
As far as presentation goes, Superbot has definitely made the Smash Bros. vibe all its own with All Stars Battle Royale. The backgrounds are impressive and change up often, and all the action runs at a solid frame rate using a Smash-like engine that keeps characters visible at all times. The animations are good, even if the characters can get sparse with the screen zoomed all the way out. The audio’s not bad either, with plenty of character voices and impressive background music blaring during each battle.
Sony did confirm that the game will have local multiplayer but stopped just short of confirming online features. But c’mon, a game like this could easily run on the PlayStation Network and users could log a win/loss record to show off to the rest of the gaming community. It’ll probably get announced around E3 time - we’re betting on it.
PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale is hardly a surprise (it’s been rumored for months), but we’re happy to finally see it surface and come together better than we thought for a Smash Bros. clone. Look for more impressions and character reveals over the summer… and get ready for a fight!