Monday, December 3, 2012

Does Sony's All Stars compete with Smash Bros.?!

Developer(s) SuperBot Entertainment, SCE Santa Monica Studio, Bluepoint Games (PS Vita)
Publisher(s) Sony Computer Entertainment
Director(s) Omar Kendall
Producer(s) Chan Park
Designer(s) Seth Killian
Platform(s) PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita
Release date(s) NA November 20, 2012

Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale brings together the biggest names in Playstation’s history to duke it out for supremacy. The game is Sony’s answer to Nintendo’s popular Super Smash Bros. series which features iconic Nintendo characters. Characters from Sony games such as God of War, PaRappa the Rapper, and Heavenly Sword and third-party games like BioShock and Killzone are brought together by the game’s antagonist Polygon Man, who was Sony’s former mascot before he was dropped just shy of the release of the first Playstation. Like most other fighting games, All-Stars features an arcade mode which follows the story of each character up until the final boss, Polygon Man. Multiplayer allows up to four players to compete in timed battles and Versus Mode lets you take on your friends in a free-for-all or cooperate in Team Battles.

Along with the host of varying playable characters, All-Stars also comes with a range of items and levels influenced by various PlayStation franchises. The game features fourteen different arenas for battle, with elements in each one that can damage characters and cause them to lose Ability Points. Each stage is based on a combination of two games, such as "Sandover Village" (based on Jak and Daxter and Hot Shots Golf), "Dreamscape" (based on LittleBigPlanet and Buzz!), "Stowaways" (based on Uncharted and BioShock Infinite) and "Hades" (based on God of War and Patapon).  In addition, there are several item pick-ups that can be utilized by players, such as the Rocket Launcher from Killzone, the Hedgehog Grenade from Resistance, the Divinity Spear from God of War and the Razor Claws from Ratchet & Clank. These items can be used to give your character a power boost or bring the hurt to an opponent.

PRO: All-Stars gives us a nice trip down memory lane by reviving past characters such as PaRappa and Toro. Each character’s stage is just as vibrant as you remember. It is really fun to watch a big, angry God of the Underworld stomp around in the bright, cheery background with characters from Patapon. Graphically, the game is amazing. The characters work well together despite their various time periods in gaming. As a fighter, All-Stars is well-balanced with immediate response controls. If you’ve been playing the various Street Fighter IV games, the control scheme will seem alien at first, but not hard to adjust to.

CON: As tight and precise as the controls are, there are times when there may be a hiccup. Dodging pass your opponent does result in a momentary pause that will leave you open to attack. It is not enough to annoy but it is enough for you to get clobbered. There are a couple throw-in characters just purely for nostalgia. Sony Japan's mascot Toro is one of those characters. He is difficult to use and most of this karate cat’s attacks do not land cleanly (think Phoenix Wright from Marvel vs. Capcom 3…same deal).

OVERALL: Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale is a unique fighter that gives us Sony fans who want to play a Smash Bros. without running out and buying a Wii as well as provide us with a trip down memory lane. It is a joy to see the characters such as Parappa and Toro that have given Sony a solid footing in console gaming. Many fans still want to see the company’s original face Crash Bandicoot grace his presence in this game. But if we know Sony well enough, there will be DLC characters coming sometime in the future. I’m looking forward to see Lara Croft and Nathan Drake finally throw down. Wishful thinking…

Until next time, see you on the next level!

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