Review by shnickshnick
"Not the best fighting game, but very much worth the time to play"
About one year ago, I heard news about a potential Super Smash Bros. clone on the PS3, which would feature PlayStation characters battling it out against each other, before the information about this game (then codenamed "Title Fight") was quickly pulled. Then, in April, the game was officially announced as PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, and at this point I was really hyped to be able to play an all-star fighting game between PlayStation characters. I pre-ordered the game and got it at launch day, and while I will admit that there wasn't as much content that I felt there should be, I'm not disappointed. Sure, there's plenty of fans of Super Smash Bros. bashing this game, but I'm going to explain exactly how this game shouldn't even be compared to Super Smash Bros, and how it should be considered it's own game.
Story, 5/10: I'll admit, the story was seriously lacking in this game. The 20 characters in the game (along with any future DLC characters) each have their own story. Although, plenty of the stories are just rehashed concepts, and frequently a story would just want a character to show off how powerful they are, with only a few exceptions (EX: Nathan Drake searching for treasure, Sly Cooper wanting to find missing pages to his book, and Sir Daniel Fortesque having to defeat "a great evil"), but even those stories are very basic (but that's to be expected with a fighting game, unfortunately). As for the rivalries between characters, some of them are really well done (such as Nate vs. Sly (both of whom hunt for treasure) and Cole vs. Raiden (both of whom have electricity powers)) but there were others that I felt didn't make a lot of sense (Fat Princess vs. Evil Cole and Sir Dan vs. Radec, both of which seem very random). Not to mention, it's probably no spoiler that Polygon Man (a former mascot for the PlayStation that was retired even before the PlayStation came out) is the final boss of the game, but one thing I really don't like is that his motivation and why he's even there is never explained. Is he trying to get revenge on the PlayStation characters for overshadowing him? Is he trying to prove to Sony that they should've kept him as a mascot? In fact, even the endings could've used more explanation. In these endings, the characters usually earn some form of "ultimate power" that they either use to their advantage or to help people, but exactly what is this "ultimate power", where did it come from, how did defeating Polygon Man get them it, in fact, why does Polygon Man even have it!? While I am aware that fighting games usually don't have great stories, SuperBot could've at least put more effort into the stories in this game.
Sound/Music, 9/10: The Music in this game fits perfectly. All the stages in the game have music from the games they're representing, and the sound effects sound how they're suppose to sound. The voice acting was pretty well done as well (although there isn't a whole lot of it, just several taunts and full speeches during the story cutscenes, although once again, this is to be expected from a fighting game). I also enjoy the opening theme and the menu music, although I will admit that the final boss music is a little too epic for a retired mascot (even Polygon Man's claims that he's invincible get quite annoying, especially since he didn't even live to see the PlayStation's release). Other than that, the sounds, music, and voice acting were really well done.
Graphics, 8/10: The Graphics in the game are well done as well (although this is usually to be expected from a PS3 game). All of the characters are represented how they should be (such as characters like PaRappa and Fat Princess having a cartoonish look while characters like Nate and Cole have a more realistic look). The Vita version looks almost identical to the PS3 version, which is pretty impressive and shows how the Vita can recieve nearly identical ports of PS3 games. There is one problem I have with the games visuals (which is most likely a problem of a lot of people have with this game) is the story cutscenes. With the exception of the rivalry cutscenes, the story cutscenes are simply slideshows, rather than being fully animated. While this isn't exactly bad (nor do the slideshows look bad, either), it still does bring the question as to why they're not fully animated, seeing that the PS3 (or generally any system nowadays) isn't incapable of doing so. If these cutscenes were fully animated, the stories of the characters would actually be more appealing to watch despite the bad quality of the stories (especially if an action scene was involved). Aside from the somewhat lazily done story cutscenes, the graphics are pretty well done for the game.
Gameplay: 9/10: This is where the Smash Bros. fanboys start attacking the game. They claim that not only is the fighting system a bad rip-off of Smash Bros's fighting style, but that there aren't any iconic characters like Mario and Link to play as. Yeah, if you're gonna claim that only Nintendo characters are iconic, go back to your Wii, Gamecube, or Nintendo 64 and play Smash Bros, because I've been playing PlayStation all my life, and I've known all of the characters included in this game for some time (even the third party characters). In fact, Uncharted, InFamous, LittleBigPlanet, and God of War are among many reasons why I have a PS3, along with many other gamers as well. As for the gameplay, it's not exactly like Smash Bros, where the goal was to build up a damage meter and knock opponents off the stage. Here, your goal is to build up a "Super Bar" by attacking opponents, and once it fills all the way, you can unleash a Super Attack, which will KO any opponents it hits. There are 3 levels of Super Attacks, with them getting stronger and longer lasting as you progress through the levels. Features that more resemble Smash Bros. are the Timed and Stock matches, the ability to play with 4 players, and the ability to be on teams, but I honestly feel that the different style of KOing opponents is enough to not even compare it to Smash Bros, and I give SuperBot plenty of credit for trying to do something different. However, while I do have a lot of fun playing this game online (as most people do), especially since the community can last a while from the cross-play between PS3 and Vita, a lack of different game modes is hurting the game's multiplayer as of now, although I've heard that more modes may be added through DLC. I'm also not a fan of the fact that there's only 20 characters, however, 2 characters have already been confirmed for DLC, and I hope there's more to come. As for single player modes, I do like that we're given about 20 challenges to complete for each character beyond Arcade Mode, which can take a while to complete, though like many others, I wish there was more. While there isn't too much to do in the game, it is very fun while it lasts.
Controls, 9/10: The controls for this game are very good as well. I like how you have to press X to jump, and that you can't jump by pressing up, because this allows you to perform up attacks without jumping (unlike in Smash Bros.). You're given three attack buttons (Square, Triangle, and Circle), from which to can perform 4 attacks each (a standing attack, a sideways attack, a down attack, and an up attack), along with R2 (which you use to perform supers). You can also make 3 different throws (a sideways throw, a down throw, and an up throw), though I'll admit that it's awkward that you have to perform throws with the right analog stick. L2 allows you to taunt, L1 allows to to block and dodge, and R1 allows you to pick up weapons. Aside from using the right analog stick for throws, the controls are really well done in this game.
Replay Value, HIGH: The game can be fun to play online, and it will take a while to clear Arcade Mode and the challenges with all the characters (as well as trying to unlock all the icons and backgrounds in the game), but unless more game modes and characters come out as DLC (the latter of which as already been confirmed) the game can get old after a while.
Buy or Rent?: If you're a Smash Bros. fan, give it a rent to see if you agree with the Smash Bros. fanboys or not. Other than that, I'd definitely recommend buying it since the online multiplayer can be a lot of fun.
Overall, 8/10: Smash Bros. fanboys are being extremely harsh on this game. For what it is, it's a pretty fun game to play, although I wish more work was done to the stories and that there was more content. But hey, if the game does well commercially, SuperBot might plan the sequel, which, just like Smash Bros, will have much more content in it than this one. If you're a huge PlayStation fan and always wanted to fight as your favorite characters in an all-star fighting game, then give this game a try. The fun may not last forever, but it's definitely worth the time to play. But if you're a Smash Bros. fanboy not willing to give this game a chance because of it's lack of a lot of content and gameplay compared to Smash Bros. Brawl, don't forget that Brawl was the third entry in the series, and this was a first time entry. If they ever make a sequel, it'll most likely improve this game in the way Smash Bros. Melee improved Smash Bros. 64. If you're still not convinced, then it's like I said earlier. Go back to your Wii, Gamecube, or Nintendo 64 and play Smash Bros, and leave us fans of PlayStation alone, because this game is fun for what it is.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 11/27/12, Updated 11/28/12
Game Release: PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (US, 11/20/12)
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