PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Preview
I’m not into fighting games and as I haven’t really been a Nintendo fan since the days of the SNES, I had little to no interest in Super Smash Bros. But it was unavoidable. For a while there, it seemed like everyone was playing and talking about Nintendo’s fun-filled brawler, so of course, I did end up playing it. Now, that was a while ago so maybe I’m speaking out of turn, but I can say that besides the obvious structural similarity, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is not the same game. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
If we’re talking gameplay, control, and overall style, feel, and pace, Sony’s new title is definitely a beast all its own. Perhaps most glaring is the fact that while I recall a lot of battles being won and lost via the Ring Out feature in Smash Bros., developer SuperBot Entertainment has implemented a more robust and strategic mechanic that hinges on the Super Meter. Also, it should come as no surprise that for the most part, Battle Royale simply appears to be a deeper, more fully fleshed-out brawler…kinda like the bigger, more diverse and complex brother of Smash Bros.
That meter will lie at the core of your gameplay strategy. Rather than building up damage to knock your opponent out of the area, you’re building up a meter that will allow you to perform a variety of special moves. The Super Meter consists of three separate tiers: Reaching the first tier grants you a potentially deadly skill; just remember that you can only use it once, so make it count! If you’d rather wait, you can fill up to the second tier, which is sometimes just a stronger version of the first-tier ability. The strategy is obvious: "Do I use the first awesome skill I earn, even if it isn’t quite as awesome as the later skills? ‘Cuz I gotta rebuild once I use it…”
Personally, I’m a big fan of waiting until I reach the third tier, which represents a maximum Super Meter. This is because crazy sh** happens if you reach that point; your character might just turn into an absolutely massive death-dealer, which is not only immensely satisfying, it really spices up the presentation. For instance, with Sweet Tooth going all nuts with his transformation (taken straight from Twisted Metal), and Kratos growing to gigantic size and smashing opponents like ants, the entire screen livens up big time…as if it wasn’t lively enough already.
But the downside, obviously, is that the match might end before you max out your meter. Worse, you’ve probably lost the encounter because you never used your first- or second-level skills, which could’ve gotten you some much-needed kills. So yeah, major risk vs. reward strategizing going on, which I think adds a lot of urgency and flavor to a relatively straightforward experience. And you’re not going to get lucky with a Ring Out, as the engaging battle arenas in Sony’s offering feature invisible walls. Plus, I really like the color and detail in those environments.
Above all else, though, I think certain gamers will appreciate PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale for the same reason others appreciated Smash Bros. We’re talking about iconic characters doing battle, which means you can always select one or two of your favorites and try to master ‘em. That’s really the biggest draw. Seeing how Cole, Sly Cooper, Jak, and Kratos all stack up is just so entertaining, and with so many available fighters, the battle possibilities are endless. Lastly, don’t forget that you can take the action on the go with the PlayStation Vita.
8/13/2012 Ben Dutka