Review: PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Vita makes portable brawling a powerful reality
We all knew that SuperBot Entertainment would be flexing its muscles on the PlayStation 3 hardware with its multi-character brawlfest PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale. But then we heard that the developer would also be releasing it for the PS Vita, complete with Cross-Buy and Cross-Play options, so you could enjoy it on a similar level as that other version. But c'mon…the Vita wouldn't be able to handle a fight of that magnitude, would it?
Surprisingly, yes. PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale is just as capable a brawler as its console brethren, whether you're duking it out against other folks in local AdHoc play or going all out through Wi-Fi and unleashing level 3 supers everywhere from the library to Grandma's house (if she has Wi-Fi, obviously). It's one of the better Vita games you can get right now, and packs a wallop in its wake.
The game has you playing as one of 20 fighters across the Sony lexicon, from God of War's Kratos to Parappa the Rapper to the Fat Princess. You can also choose from some third-party wild cards, including DMC: Devil May Cry's Dante and Bioshock's Big Daddy, who is a surprisingly formidable fighter despite his size. From there, you'll journey through various stages, each designed with grandeur and creativity, as you eventually get to a final showdown with the familiar spiked head from Sony's PS One advertising days. He even says, "You are not ready!", he's so nostalgic.
Like the console version, various options are ripe for the picking. You can pick Arcade Mode and follow each fighter's storyline (as well as meet up with a peculiar rival somewhere down the road); practice in a training mode where you learn the nature of your moves; battle in online multiplayer Tournaments who see who the cream of the crop truly is; and engage in Versus matches, where your friends await you in battle.
The options are rather bare bones, as are the plain menus and the intro/outro movies for each character, which are told through still images instead of animated cinemas. But it all comes down to the fighting itself, which is truly wonderful. SuperBot Entertainment has maintained a level of fighting right up there with Smash Bros., accessible to all but with a thing or two for masters to truly embrace. Some of you will even be challenged to try some of the trickier characters in the game, like Sackboy and his sticker collection or Nathan Drake and his various uses of objects. There's something here for everyone, even the cheap distance hitters – your first stop will be General Radec, for sure. And with a D-pad and analog stick easily within reach, it feels very accessible.
As for how the game looks, it's quite good. The game maintains a 60 frames per second speed through most matches, though it can get chaotic at times, and the animation is personable to each fighter, whether it's Big Daddy's mega charge or Ratchet's desire to use flashy weapons. Some glitches do occur (at one point we started a match with no one on the stage, had to reset), but overall it's a swell fighter for the portable front.
The audio is exceptional as well, featuring various voice actors across the board from their franchises (yes, that is Nolan North as Nathan Drake) and superb themes that remind you of classics from Sony's past. The other sound effects aren't bad, but typical fighting variety. Hardly anything needed beyond that, really.
Despite some rather simple presentation quirks and minor glitches, PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale is a fighting game worth taking on, especially if you've got Vita (or PS3) owning friends that want to join in. Now get to fighting – that's what the Thanksgiving weekend is all about. (Am I right, Black Friday shoppers?!)