E3 2012: 'Playstation All-Stars: Battle Royale' Preview
Since Playstation All-Stars: Battle Royale was announced, there’s been a lot of talk about how it’s a Smash Brothers clone, both due to its visual style, and the fact that it features a roster of characters pulled from other successful franchise games. Today at E3, I got a chance to sit down with the game and find out if it really is just a knock-off, or if it brings something new and fun to the table.
At the time of the demo there were eight playable characters. Parappa the Rappa, Sweet Tooth, Sly Cooper, Mael Radec, Fat Princess, Kratos, Nathan Drake, and Big Daddy (the last two of which were announced this week at the convention). With a game like this, the size and variety of the roster is very important, and the characters that were available all certainly seemed to play very differently from one another. I got a chance to try out Kratos, Nathan Drake, and Big Daddy, and while they were all fun, I probably had the most fun with Drake. He’s a cool mix of melee and range, and his moves are all nifty 2D translations of the cool platformy stuff he can do in his own games. I was pleased to discover that firing my gun in the air caused me to shoot while swinging from a rope, which just felt badass.
But what about the gameplay? How does it set itself apart from something like Smash Brothers? Well, instead of a damage meter, or trying to knock people off of the level, attacking is all about building up your meter. As your meter builds, you unlock three levels of Super Attack, which are the only attacks capable of actually killing somebody. It’s a very interesting dynamic, because you’re not ever actually dealing damage to the other players, but rather positioning yourself for killing blows the entire time. It means that you really have to know your super attacks, because they are the only way to get kills. In a timed match like the one I played, however, I found it difficult to ever build up to level three, although that may be more of a comment on my skill level than anything else. The moves themselves had a ton of flavor, such as when Fat Princess hopped aboard her Fat Chicken, and rode around killin’ fools. Something that I definitely can’t fault the game for is the flavor of the characters and their moves, all of which felt very in keeping with the style of the individual games they are from, while also conforming to the goofy free-for-all nature of All Stars itself.
Were there any negatives? Well, hopefully there are other modes than just timed battles (which I’m admittedly not a big fan of), and the controls could have been a bit tighter, and I didn’t feel as though the combat system was as deep as in something like (as much as I hate to compare) Smash Brothers, but on the whole, I think that once we have a complete roster of fighters, Playstation All-Stars: Battle Royale is going to be a lot of fun.