Review by BigReed

"A noble effort, but PlayStation All-Stars falls short of expectations"

The Good:
Large selection of recognizable characters, online play, cross play with ps3, cross buy

The Bad:
Boring scoring system, basic menus, blurry character portraits, arcade mode drags on, unbalanced character “supers”

When Playstation All Stars was announced, many people believed that it was a copy and paste of Nintendo's Super Smash Brothers franchise. And to a certain degree this is true. The game modes, gameplay, levels, and character supers are all heavily “inspired” by Smash Brothers. SuperBot Entertainment took the basic formula of Smash, but forgot to incorporate all the other things that make the franchise fantastic. With Playstation All Stars, there is a lack of attention to detail. This is displayed in the items, menus, “Supers”, and overall look of the game. The end result is simply a mediocre game that concentrated too much on a previously used template until certain game elements lack any sort of sense.

Describing the battle system for Playstation All Stars will end up describing a system that has more in common with traditional fighters than it does Smash. In All Stars, there is actually a combo system in place that will look familiar for those who play fighting games frequently. You can even go into a practice mode and see the complexity of some of the combinations. In this aspect, Playstation All Stars separates itself from other games on the market. It has an arcade feel to the gameplay, but underneath the basic attacks is a fully fledged fighting system designed differently for every character.

With how much time the developers spent on creating attacks for every character, some of the other gameplay elements are painfully out of place. The biggest thing that is severely out of place in Playstation All Stars is the “floating” of characters after they are hit. This is where the game really falls apart and becomes tedious to play. Let me explain. In All Stars, you must use attacks to build up your Super Gauge. There are three levels to the gauge, the first being easily dodged or countered, the second being slightly more powerful, and generally speaking, the third level is pretty much unpreventable and will score you at least three points. However, when fighting, characters after being hit will float away much like in Smash. In Smash, hitting other characters increased their damage percentage, and they would float farther until they would eventually fall off of the level thus scoring you a point. As they would float, their percentage would also raise. This aspect of All Stars does not fit in because there is no benefit or way to knock the other characters off the stage for points (some stages like invasion, the players can fall off but they will respawn back on the stage but will be staggered).

After playing through most of the arcade mode, the core gameplay no longer made sense. In a way, All Stars takes the basic template of Smash, but at the same they add core fighting game mechanics to it. Even with the online, All Stars grows stale rather quickly. In a world now where production values and presentation are sky high, All Stars is unappealing to look at. I'm not aware if the game was rushed at any point by Sony, but it looks like SuperBot Entertainment still needed some time to refine the gameplay and user interface of the game.

Recommendation: Skip it
Sony is currently trying to tie both their home console and portable market together. The Cross Buy promotion in some of their games is a good way to go about this. The ps3 version includes the Vita version as well, so it's nice being able to get two copies for one. However, you would be getting two versions of the same boring game. Playstation All Stars starts off interesting for the first hour, and then drags on with boring modes, load times, and conflicting gameplay ideas. It was noble effort out of SuperBot Entertainment and Bluepoint Games but an effort that has essentially killed the former company. I suggest skipping out on Playstation All Stars.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 02/06/13, Updated 02/07/13

Game Release: PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (US, 11/20/12)

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