Review by AdomasFox
A casual review, AKA, 'I have to put "Smash Bros.' in the title right?"
Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale is the definition of a mascot fighter (or casual fighter, if you prefer). Mascot fighters frequently feature characters, stages, and items from various sources, in this case, "classic Playstation series". And it's a well-rounded representation of the system, with playstation 1-3 era characters, though missing some fan favorites (for now).
In PASBR, you strike your opponents to build meter, which you use for your super attacks. These super attacks are how you K.O. your opponents, as opposed to draining their life bars or knocking them off the stage. However, every character has a diverse move-set, and 3 completely different supers from any other member of the cast; many of them need special consideration before you just throw them at your opponents. By releasing your supers randomly, you'll likely miss and waste all that time spent up hitting your opponents. However, if you try to run away from your opponents, you'll never be able to KO anyone, and you'll lose.
There's a surprising amount of strategy one can put into this game. There are some easier characters to pick up, sure, but there are multiple factors that one should think about if you wanna win. The enemies you're fighting may have an easier time dodging your low level supers, or the stage you might be on may put you at a disadvantage. If you get put on a team, how well can your character work with your team mate, and what is the other team doing? If you try to rely on getting lucky against other players who have taken these factors into consideration, you won't likely win.
However, that isn't to say this game is difficult to pick up. Quite the contrary, it's very easy. The moves are all simple button+direction inputs, so no "quarter-circle-backs" here. It's very casual friendly and a great game to play with a group of friends. That said, there's also a competitive side, as is most games. The game isn't too deep, and makes it fairly easy to get to know your character better, such as good combat tutorials that also explain the different mechanics some characters have. It doesn't take much practice to be able to go online and win, but for those that like to master their characters in these types of games PASBR provides you with the tools you would want. There isn't an one versus one option for ranked, and I'm sure that's a turn-off for some, but I don't really see that as a problem as playing with four people is much more fun.
And now the inevitable comparison. Is it like Smash Bros? Sure, it plays somewhat similarly, but it does stand on it's own feet. The addition of supers makes the game feel very different from Smash. It feels less random, such as you won't lose simply because the stage can kill you, or getting a bad Pokemon from a ball. And if you don't like the map hazards and items, you can turn both off. There's also no edge hogging here, so you won't lose due to nasty tactics. I also enjoy the differences in the characters a lot more in this game. There aren't any clones here; even Cole and Evil Cole, two versions of the same character, have different moves and strategies. I don't dislike Brawl by any means, but I am enjoying this game much more.
Graphics: 7/10. The characters looks great and all move fairly fluidly. Some of it clashes, however. Some of the toony characters may look strange compared to the more realistically rendered, and the combination of games in which stages from one game are invaded by characters from another can be disorienting and confusing.
Sound: 8/10. The game sounds great; there's no particularly annoying noises, and you don't repeatedly here the same grunts coming from the same characters, except in some cases of cameos who only have one line of dialogue. My only issue with it is the inability to auto-mute other players; I don't particularly enjoy getting yelled at constantly, but you have to manually take time from your match to hit the start button and turn off the other players and it's a bit annoying.
Replay Value: 9/10 One of the more fun games I've played all year, especially when it comes to online. Some people are okay with a game having a high learning curve, but it's the simplicity of this game is one of it's biggest strengths. When high level players recommend you spend hours a day in training mode to learn how to play a game, that isn't a game many new players be playing for very long. This is a game you can pick up after not playing it for a while and not have to spend a week relearning. I'd give replay value a 10/10, but the online can be buggy at times, which can be frustrating since most of the game is about the online, but not deal breaking.
Overall: 8/10 Overall this game is fun, easy to pick up, but requires you to consider your enemies and environment if you want to really win by a means other than luck.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (US, 11/20/12)
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