Playstation All-Stars Battle Royal (or PSASBR for short) is a party/fighting game released last year for the PS3. It also came with a free downloadable version for you Vita players out there as well. At first glance, the game immediately signals that this is Playstation’s version of the grandeur Smash Bros. series but actually it’s quite different once you really get into the mechanics of it all.
Well, there really isn’t a heavy amount of a story but in Arcade mode, each character basically has an intro (basically getting an invitation to the battle ahead), a kind of rival scene (which is mostly the same, you offended me, I defeat you deal), and the ending (which is more of well we fought, but my story continues). It’s very generic sounding and it should because I would think there’d be more going on…but whatever
Probably one of the most important factors, was actually looking at the faces of Playstation’s past and seeing who actually made the cut. It was pretty obvious that some were chosen as they were current known faces like Nathan Drake, Kratos, Sly Cooper, Cole McGrath (though two forms???). Some were a bit odd choices (Fat Princess, Nariko, Toro, Raiden (though Snake was in Brawl…), and Big Daddy and there were some that were just pure nostalgia like Sweet Tooth, Parappa, and Sir Daniel Fortesque. All these faces were great, but they seriously had so many more to choose from and the lack of a certain bandicoot and dragon was REALLY unfortunate as they were THE faces of Playstation. It was a pretty unusual cast and frankly, even I didn’t know some of the faces like Radec, Emmitt, Kat, Fat Princess…(though it’s probably because I’m not too involved in the PS3 world yet lol).
There isn’t a whole butt ton of stages (about 14 with like 5 extra practice stages) but that seems to be a good enough number. The way PSASBR did it was to fuse two series together to have a stage. I mean Dreamscape was a fusion between LittleBigPlanet and BUZZ! which was cool and they have different things going on like the addition of extra platforms while the BUZZ! announcer asks a question and you have to stand on the right area. There are similar things in each of the other main areas so that’s pretty cool.
So after all that, we get into meat and bones of the game. The main controls are easy to follow. The square, triangle and circle buttons are attacks and are different with directions (like Smash). The X button is for jumping, press it twice to double jump of course. L2 is to taunt, L1 is to dodge, and pressing left or right is a dodge roll. R1 is to pick up items and L2 is used for supers.
The point of the match is to defeat your opponent with you Supers and there’s 3 different levels to them. The higher the level the better it is (but for some characters it’s quite the opposite). You also have the normal Time battle and Stock battle, but PSASBR has an extra mode, Kill battle where you have to kill to a certain amount and you win lol. Now this sounds a bit edgier because it actually makes you focus on your opponents since there’s no ring outs to be had (though in certain stages, if you fall off the stage, you’re placed back on it and put into an automatic dizzy state.
However, the flaw of this idea comes with the unbalanced characters. I mean if you are Dante, Kratos, Kat, Nariko, and Raiden…you’re pretty much going to win (unless you’re REALLY bad with them). Though it doesn’t mean it’s entirely in their favor because you can be quite good with all the characters and manage to kick some ass.
- Graphics: For being a PS3 game, it actually looks quite good and the intro to the game was pretty nifty (though why darken them out?). The fighting is smooth and there’s not a lot of issues in this department. Though I will say that for the “story mode” they shouldn’t have done still shots…that was a bit of a copout IMO.
- Sound: Minus the menu theme (gets annoying), the stages’ music was actually a nice collection. Though I’m not too familiar with a lot of the music in the first place but some were really cool!
Other Things to Do
- Trophies – Of course this is with EVERY game on the PS3…most of them have to do with Arcade Mode though
- Arcade Mode – It’s not the most exciting thing to do because while each character has his or her own prologue/epilogue and the final boss is a cool nostalgic trip, Polygon Man (old PS1 mascot). Though this mode is primarily used to level up characters and gaining trophies.
- Online – Of course this is the main reason the game has replayability because it’s online is quite good (SO MUCH BETTER THAN BRAWLS) though if there’s a connection issue, bars will pop up to warn others of what is happening.
- Practice – There is a practice mode, but there is also an intro to the mechanics of the game and it really does help and you unlock tokens to go further in and learn more (and even then, each character has their own set of techniques to learn). Another good thing to keep in mind basically if you wanna learn the intricacies of the game.
- Customization – There’s also costume customizing (not a big deal), changing your loading emblem and such, having a minion (still don’t exactly see the point of them are), and customizing intros, winning theme and victory pose in battles. So that’s another interesting thing about it.
There’s also some minor things like option changing and character profiles to read but that’s basically it for the game lol.
What is surprising is the DLC that came out. Of course there’s your alternate costumes and many other minions to be had, but the important things are the stages and characters. There’s actually four character (Kat, Emmett Graves, Zeus, and Isaac Clarke) and to be honest none of them really piqued my interest at first glance (because besides Zeus, I didn’t know them) but in game…they look like they’d be fun characters. There was also 2 stages as well: Fearless (Heavenly Sword+WipEout) and Graveyard (MediEvil+TheUnfinished Swan).
There was supposed to be more (Abe from OddWorld and Dart from Legend of Dragoon) and a stage based upon the mix of Gravity Rush and Journey) but it was cancelled with SONY announcing the end of content for All-Stars). All that’s left is costumes and patches for characters now sadly.
I actually really wanted a PS3 for this at the time, but after having played it…it quickly waned. I mean the idea is nice and surprised it hasn’t happened sooner after how big Smash Bros. had become, but the problem here is that I think Nintendo has a lot of nostalgia and popularity in their characters whereas SONY’s hasn’t stuck on as much (plus shunning Crash and Spyro was in bad taste, but not their fault). I just don’t feel like this cast was as complete as it should’ve (because there are SO many more they could’ve added like Abe and Dart….maybe Croc….I-Ninja, Ty…I mean there was a LOT even some big series weren’t even brought in like Resident Evil, Final Fantasy (anything Square-Enix for that matter)…and etc.
I did like the gameplay and it did lead to some pretty edgy battles online which is good…but beyond online modes and with friends, by yourself…this was a weak package. I mean the menu screens look so terrible and single player mode was just vague and bland to deal with. I mean you can go on for so long in Practicing your characters before you get bored.
Worst of them all, I experienced during some battles (at the end) that the game freezes, forcing you to reboot. THAT SUCKS…something needs to be fixed about that kind of thing TBH.
It’s not a terrible game though and the intentions were quite good, but there were some flaws for sure and sometimes felt like it was a tad unfinished as a product, but for what we got…it’s not bad…but Melee and Brawl still topple it miles wide.