It's a bit surreal, but Sony has existed as a video game developer and publisher for almost 20 years now. With beloved franchises such as PaRappa the Rapper, Ratchet & Clank, Uncharted, and many more, the debate goes on as to which games and characters are the most memorable. To put an end to the debates, Sony has come out with PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.
What Is it?
Developed by SuperBot Entertainment, a team in Sony's Santa Monica Studio, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is a crossover fighting game that pits Sony's franchise mascots (along with some third-party characters) against each other in an all-out melee. Sick of a buddy telling you that Sweet Tooth is the most hardcore character in the PlayStation arsenal? Well, you can use Kratos to shut him up.
Why Should I Care?
Unlike SSB, Battle Royale isn't simply about knocking characters off the screen. Not only that, the game does away with health bars or percentages or whatever other fighters feature. Winning in Battle Royale is all about the number of kills you can amass.
Attacking is done with the controller's main face buttons, and with every strike you land, your respective blue meter will start to fill. After it fills, players can unleash devastating "super" moves that'll kill opponents. Super moves are ranked by three power levels, depending on how many times the gauge is filled.
For example, filling up your gauge once leads to a Level One Super. Instead of using it right away, you can continue attacking so your meter can fill up again, allowing you to do a Level Two Super. Obviously, these moves become more accurate and dangerous as you continue to build meters, so a lot of the strategy in the game comes when deciding you want to go for a kill quickly, or you want to perhaps go for more kills in one strike.
Since winning in Battle Royale is strictly based on how many kills one has to rack up, this eliminates any worrying about the damage you're taking As far as defensive strategy goes, all players really have to do is avoid opponents' special moves, and as any fighting game veteran would tell you, the key to the game is learning each character's moveset.
The button and move mapping for each character provides the same literal use, but aside from the Good and Evil Cole from inFamous, each character handles very differently and requires more than a few uses to really learn each one's craft. For example, instead of blocking with L1, Sly Cooper becomes the Thievius Racoonus that he is and suddenly goes invisible. And since not everybody has Kratos' Blades of Chaos, other characters have to resort to alternative means to attack, like Nathan Drake's reliance on hand-to-hand combat and random throwing of gas tanks.
The differences in each character's abilities are rather dramatic, but luckily, the game's single player story mode offers enough practice to fully get used to each character. Unfortunately, the single player mode is rather boring and isn't much to write home about.
Unlike Super Smash Bros., or Street Fighter X Tekken for that matter, the game hardly does a good job of explaining the various rivalries behind each franchise's mascot and it takes out any other entertainment factor the single player had aside from gameplay itself. Each character has their own unique story, and instead of through cutscenes, it's told through stills and random screenshots of scenes from each character's given game.
For example, Nathan Drake's story had him looking for lost treasure by fighting random PlayStation characters and coming across Sly Cooper, who believes he's a better thief than Drake. After beating him up and killing Polygon Man, the main antagonist in the game for everybody, your selected character lives happily ever after. In Drake's case, it's flying away in the form of more Uncharted slideshows.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
Just like any other fighter before it, what keeps Battle Royale entertaining is its multiplayer mode. Like Super Smash Bros., you can change things up in gameplay by playing time attack where you simply rely on kills, stock where it's pretty much an elimination round, and kill-limit matches that are pretty self-explanatory.
With two-to-four player support, including cross play allowing PS Vita users to get in on the action, the game becomes a whole lot more fun, especially due to how customizable things are. The more you fight, the more the unlockable stuff you can earn for the various characters in the game.
Aside from cutscenes in the single player mode that hardly qualify as cutscenes, the game simply looks great. Both the character models and various stages to play on both are terrific tributes to their specific games and franchises, make the game a real nostalgic trip.
If you're looking for a new game to play with a bunch of buddies and have even the slightest appreciation for the games Sony has published over the last two decades, you'd do well to give PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale a try. Be warned, though: While the controls are simple, there is sort of a learning curve that prevents the game from feeling polished, but if Sony intends on this being a series, this is a good start.
It might not be worth the full price of admission, but the fact that a downloadable copy of the PS Vita version of the game is packed in, that definitely adds to the value.