"All-Stars looks to be a solid equivalent to Smash Bros for Sony platforms."
Developer: SuperBot Entertainment
Release Date: Winter 2012
Platform(s): PS3, Vita
Let's just get this out of the way now: PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale is totally like Smash Bros. Not as much as the initial reveal made it out to be, but still very much like Smash Bros. It has all the hallmark signs of a carbon copy. And yet, there was a distinct difference.
The most obvious is the speed. All-Stars is a touch slower than its inspiration. It doesn't feel as chaotic as Smash Bros, the game moving at a more reasonable clip, not that following the action is any easier. One throw is all it takes to start frantically scanning the screen for where you flew, which will happen a good deal.
Eight characters were playable: Sly Cooper, Parappa, Fat Princess, Colnal Radec, Kratos, Sweet Tooth, Big Daddy, and Nathan Drake. Of those I was able to use Sly, Drake, Parappa, and Big Daddy. Sly and Parappa were both light, fast-moving characters, able to dish out attacks quickly. Drake and Bid Daddy, on the other hand, were slower, heavier. In the case of the latter especially, attacks took longer to pull off and were harder to land due to the short range of the drill it used. The trade-off is that the attacks hit harder, meaning there are greater chances of drawing out energy to power supers with.
There are three attack buttons: square, triangle, and circle. Each has a few actions attached that are performed by pressing the button in conjunction with pushing the analog stick up, down, or left and right -- again, like Smash Bros. The attacks themselves draw upon each characters' abilities from their games. Sly, for instance, can turn invisible as a means of shielding and toss his hat which then acts as a bomb, while Drake heavily relies on weapons from the Uncharted series.
Scoring points in PlayStation All-Stars isn't as easy a matter as knocking opponents off the stage or draining their heath bars. Here, you're goal is to build up a super -- a big, ultra-devastating move which takes out players upon contact -- by pummeling your opponents and collecting clear balls of energy. Not every attack builds power, however, nor do they cause opponents to drop it. It seems to only happen in certain cases. Slamming each other against walls seemed to be one of the more common means.
Once the bar is filled, the super can be unleashed. The bar can be filled three times to access more powerful moves. Level ones (which I didn't get to see, unfortunately) are brief and won't hit much. Level twos are equally short, but allow for a greater number of knock outs. For instance: Parappa zooming about on his skateboard or Drake pushing down a pillar. Level threes are the nigh-unavoidable ones, almost always guaranteed to take out all your opponents at least once, maybe twice. Examples would be Sweet Tooths transformation into some enormous mech stomping on all that stands in its way and Sly bringing up his binoculars/camera to snap people out of existance.
I tried to ask about whether there would be any other modes and if one could customize the paramiters of the matches, but I was unable to grab someone long enough to do so.
PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale certainly isn't shy about making its inspirations known, but frankly, I'm surprised a game like this didn't happen sooner. Sony is massing quite the managerie of characters to create some charmingly wacky match-ups (seeing Kratos be beat senseless by someone as seemingly harmless as Parappa is a delight), and so far the game looks to be shaping up nicely. We'll be watching the game develop with earnest.
Callum Rakestraw, NoobFeed.