Video Game Review: PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (2012)

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3.5 stars

Nevin P. Jones | Collegio Reporter

Chaos is the kind of element that, if you can harness its power, then the product can be completely amazing. Bringing order to chaos isn’t easy, but Nintendo has proved time and again that it is possible with its “Super Smash Bros.” franchise.
Pitting more than 20 years of iconic characters against each other in an arena-style brawl creates frantic brilliance. Sony is looking to cash in on this kind of successful chaos with its new “Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale,” which puts some of Sony’s greatest icons together in one game. However, their attempt was good but it never quite reaches the same level of brilliance as “Smash Bros.”
The gameplay is built around the supers fighting mechanic, which is more technical than “Smash Bros.” Every character has super attacks, which are attained by landing hits that slowly build an All-Stars Points meter. The supers have three levels to them, each progressively more destructive than the last. There are no health meters and kills can only occur when landing one of the super moves. This feature eventually becomes a major hassle. There is nothing more frustrating than spending ample amounts of time building your AP meter, only to miss your super, especially when some of the supers can be incredibly hard to land. The inclusion of other ways to kill enemies would have made the game far less frustrating and the matches wouldn’t last as long.
The best part of the game is watching the iconic Playstation characters maul each other. There are 20 characters in the roster and additional characters are promised in upcoming DLC. It is hard to not crack a smile watching Parrapa the Rapper clash with Kratos or Dante fighting the kung-fu cat Toro. The 14 available stages add to the action as each one is a mash-up of two Playstation games. Watching as Hades smashes characters in a “God of War” inspired stage, only to be attacked by tiny Patapons is hilarious the first few times and adds a strategic element to the stage. However, the stages always play out the same way, so you know exactly what to expect and when to expect it after playing a stage once.
The single-player modes are the biggest flaw. Each character has its own arcade-style story, but the story is told through static images and a voice-over. Every story mode plays out the same way, culminating in a battle that doesn’t make much sense (Sack Boy vs. Big Daddy being one of the most random). The story mode loses its novelty fast and the challenge mode doesn’t offer much, either.
The game has its best moments in the chaotic multiplayer, either online or with four friends swearing at each other on a couch. The online play seems fluid, and I received minimal lag in the games I played. The multiplayer will help “All-Stars” earn its longevity. It bears mentioning that buying the game for the PS3 also gives you the game for Playstation Vita, and there is a seamless integration with the handheld. PS3 owners battling Vita owners is a great concept.
I know “All-Stars” is a good game, but it’s not great. There are more frustrating features present in the gameplay and the lack of presentation quality in the single-player modes is a big miss. The game would be worth it for people who own a Vita and a PS3, but this is not a game that makes me eager to stick around. My greatest hope is that the second installment will be of better quality.

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