All the info you need on Super Smash Bros… err, I mean PlayStation All-Stars…
In 2009 Sony put together ferocious uber studio Superbot Entertainment, built from the ground up with the express purpose of working on a PlayStation exclusive mascot brawler. Headed up by a handful of fighting game experts such as Omar Kendall and Seth Killian, their goal was to create a beat-’em-up designed for both hardcore and casual gamers alike. A title that is accessible to newcomers but that contains an underlying complexity and strategy that seasoned brawlers could latch onto. And the fruit of their labour is PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.
Conceptually similar to Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros series, PSAS pits up to four fighters against one another utilising characters from various Sony franchises, such as Kratos from God of War, Nathan Drake from Uncharted and Sackboy from LittleBigPlanet. As well as the many first-party mascots, several third-party characters are included in the roster, such as Big Daddy from Bioshock and Dante from the Devil May Cry series.
Within PSAS are multiple game types including a single player story mode, replete with with a progression system and an end-game boss – as well as various multiplayer matchups, such as Timed Mode, where players try to gain the highest score within a time limit. Stock Mode, where players have a set number of lives and the last man standing wins the match. And finally Reverse-Stock Mode, where players see who can be the first to reach a certain number of KOs.
The main difference between PSAS and Smash Bros is in the way that its combatants are defeated. During gameplay players deal out damage and receive orbs in return that build up a power meter at the bottom of the screen. These orbs can also be found littered across the stage at various points throughout the match. Earning enough power allows the player to employ one of three levels of super moves, which can be used to eliminate opponents and garner points.
Level 1 attacks are generally capable of knocking out one or more fighters but require a lot of control. Level 2 attacks are similar but don’t need as much precision and Level 3 attacks are almost guaranteed to destroy everyone onscreen. This creates an interesting element of risk/reward to the gameplay, in that you have to weigh the option of using a low level super move that you can build up quicker, but has less chance of a KO, against using a higher level which can guarantee you KOs but will take longer to charge.
Each character has their own individual special moves. For example Sweet Tooth from Twisted Metal’s first super move is the “TNT Tag”, which consists of him strapping a bomb to an enemy player and punting them across the screen before the explosive detonates. If other players are caught in the blast radius they along with the bomb wearer will be eliminated. His level 2 attack is “Death by Missile”, which has him firing a remote controlled missile directly into another player. Again multiple foes can be taken out if they are nailed by the explosion. Finally his level 3 super move is “The Rise of Mecha Tooth”, which allows him to transform into the robotic version of his famous ice cream truck, complete with gating gun arm and rockets, easily decimating enemies for quick KOs.
Along with the mob of playable characters, PSAS contains a wealth of environments inspired by a variety of PlayStation franchises. Currently fourteen stages have been confirmed, each influenced by a combination of two games such as Sandover Village, (based on Jak & Daxter and Hot Shots Golf), Dreamscape (based on LittleBigPlanet and Buzz!), and Hades (based on God of War and Patapon).
Each and every level has interactive qualities. For example Dojo ,(based on Parappa the Rapper & Killzone), begins inside Chop Chop Master Onion’s dojo before the walls crumble, revealing a Helghast MAWLR bombarding a town. The spider-like robot launches missiles at the battlefield, damaging any unfortunately player that gets in the way. Towards the end of the fray Chop Chop Master Onion appears, now gargantuan in size and defeats the MAWLR with his mighty Kung Fu… “it’s all in the mind!”
As well as the plethora of stages there are a myriad of items and weapons that can be used, such as the Boots of Hermes from God of War III, which give players a speed-boost and allow them to jump higher. Nanotech from Ratchet & Clank that increases player’s Super Meters. And the Hedgehog Grenade from Resistance, which shoots out spines in all directions, preventing other players from using their special moves.
Now I’m not really much of a fighting game aficionado. My philosophy on brawlers is pretty much same as my stance on racers: If they’re fun and not too serious then I’m in! I’m not one for Forza and Gran Torismo and I’m not into Street Fighter or Tekken but give me some Mario Kart or Smash Bros and I’m loving that shit!
That’s why I’m quietly optimistic about PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale at this point. It just looks fun! Something to play with your mates whilst sitting around with a few beers… or milkshakes for the younger readers.
Sure, it’s obviously a complete and utter Smash Bros ripoff and the lineup of characters certainly isn’t in the same league as Nintendo’s roster, but I’m definitely going to keep my ear to the ground on this one. And if it reviews well, I’m all over it like Fat Princess on cake!
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale hits shop shelves on 23rd November exclusively for PS3 and Vita.
Rob Gisbey is a games journalist and music production graduate from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. To listen to his acoustic demo, read his articles and listen to the VxM Videogames Podcast head to his blog.