PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale review (PS3)
Beautiful battles or brawling buffoonery?
Finally, the debate over who is the super hardcore PlayStation action man supreme can be answered. You can finally prove to that overly arrogant mate that Kratos can fall to the might and majesty and overall superiority of our beloved SackBoy.
Sony have finally done it! They have brought to our beloved black beast the ability to cross pollinate digital franchise violence by mashing some of the console’s most esteemed franchises against one another in an all-out no-holds-barred brawl.
Sony’s first foray into what can clearly be defined as Nintendo’s domain was to be orchestrated by the geniuses over at Naughty Dog. They unfortunately were too busy with a little title which no one is going to play called The Last of Us, so at the last minute a decision was made and SuperBot Entertainment was formed.
Whilst a bastardised development house would normally make me nervous, I am pretty calm at this time; you see, Superbot Entertainment was formed deep within the bowels of Santa Monica Studios. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Californian masters, they have brought us both the Twisted Metal and God of War franchises.
SuperBot Entertainment have graced us with 20 playable characters, from 20 of the most prolific titles on Sony’s console. They are:
- Big Daddy from BioShock
- Cole MacGrath from Infamous
- Colonel radec from Killzone
- Dante from Devil May Cry
- Evil Cole MacGrath from Infamous
- Fat Princess from Fat Princess
- Heihachi Mishima from Tekken
- Jak and Daxter from Jak and Daxter
- Kratos from God of War
- Nariko from Heavenly Sword
- Nathan Drake from Uncharted
- PaRappa from PaRappa the Rapper
- Raiden from Metal Gear
- Ratchet and Clank from Ratchet & Clank
- Sackboy from LittleBigPlanet
- Sir Daniel Fortesque from MediEvil
- Sly Cooper from Sly Cooper
- Spike from Ape Escape
- Sweet Tooth from Twisted Metal
- Toro Inoue from Together Everywhere
Emmett Graves from Starhawk and Kat from Gravity Rush will be made available as DLC later in January.
Each of these characters have their own single player story with two small static cutscenes. For example, Kratos the God of War is introduced with a bit of a story which he narrates, and then after you defeat the final boss you are treated to another static cutscene.
One unplayable surprise that has to be mentioned is the return of Polygon man who has graced us with his final boss-ness. He will only be known to the most hardcore of PlayStation fans as the mascot for the original PlayStation in the US who was brutally destroyed at E3 1995.
To add further value to the characters, each of them have between 20 and 32 unique moves which can be used to pulverise and mutilate your opponent. Each of these unique moves can be strung together into some rather ruthless combos. What truly makes Playstation All Stars Battle Royale feel completely balanced is the fact that once mastered each characters combos can prove deadly against any opponent.
As for single player replayability, Superbot Entertainment have catered to our primal obsessive-compulsive urges by laying out some 235 different goals spanning seven different sub-sections. Whilst this might seem to be somewhat of a daunting task at first, it soon becomes clear that whilst some of them might seem unobtainable they have been placed there to provide for an overall richer experience, which in my opinion leads one to feel that not only have you made a decent purchase but you really are compelled to achieve these goals.
This leads me to the real reason why anyone should buy this title: the multiplayer experience.
The Online mode can be accessed from the Tournament menu, which allows you to partake in two different modes, namely:
Ranked matches, which set you up on a ranked playing field where by you compete against different opponents around the world and systematically increase your character’s overall rank and standing on the international leaderboard… Or at least this is what I can assume it does as I was only able to get into one ranked match and only a few unranked matches, and when I finally started playing I was booted out due to a connection error which was rather infuriating.
Unranked matches, which set you up against random opponents, so the guy who has racked up 100 hours will be playing alongside you against two others who have 5 minutes experience. The true beauty of PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale is that due to its technical nature, everyone is on an even playing field regardless of rank or experience. If you click with your specific character’s fighting style you can take on anyone at anytime and you stand a chance of winning.
The offline multiplayer experience for me is the true reason to buy this game! There is nothing that compares to taking on 3 other mates and using SackBoy to beat the crap out of Kratos, Sweet Tooth, and Radec. Pure, all-out brawling indulgence that can only be experienced in PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale.
Visually, PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale is a beauty to behold, from the exquisitely crafted backgrounds to the levels, which not only submerge you in a bath of nostalgic awesomeness by taking you back to the levels which you grew up playing, but manage to do so by perfectly fusing two iconic levels from two major franchises. True artistry is all I can attribute to this fantastic mashup of memories.
Each of the 14 franchise levels have been cross pollinated by a different franchise. For example, the God of War’s infamous Hades battle has been captured in a stage which halfway through the bowels of hell melts away, to reveal a hillside covered in an army of Patapons.
Not only are the levels beautifully detailed but they serve as an additional obstacle to overcome during a heated match. You have to concentrate on 3 other opponents and also dodge the array of attacks being lobbed at you from the icons in the background, whether it be golf balls rocketing their way to you from Everybodies Golfers through to the destructive missiles being shot by Metal Gear Rex.
Details, details, details is a simple way to sum up PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale; its in the details that it thrives. Details that have been brought in to entice and reward fans of the hallowed franchises on show.
It is also through the details where they have neglected and failed to deliver some of the most iconic PlayStation stars. There is no Crash Bandicoot, no Spiro, no Cloud, and most noteworthy for the giant pain in the arse fanboy that I am, there is no Snake.
Whilst these could hopefully be brought to us as future DLC (and I do hope that they do) I find that this is the only way that I can fault what I have found to be the most compelling fighting game that I have ever played.
If ever there was a reason for me to buy a PS Vita, the cross-buy initiative is it. For those of you unfamiliar with the system, Cross-Buy enables you to download a PS Vita version of PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale for free when purchasing it for your PS3. Meaning that you can always have your favourite beat-em-up with you wherever you go.
PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale is a brawling masterpiece that has to be played and experienced by all. Get this game ASAP!