Kratos vs. Parappa: Who Will Win in the PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale?

We find out which Sony characters will reign supreme when the company's biggest hitting personalities come out to fight.

The rumours have been circulating for months. What would happen if Sony took a healthy slathering of its iconic PlayStation characters and played them off against each other in a virtual battle to the death? Turns out it's no longer a pipe dream, with the publisher revealing PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, the awkwardly long title that will allow you to finally settle that bet you have with your buddies about whether or not Parappa the Rappa could take down Kratos in a few rounds of bare-knuckled action.

This Traveling Wilburys of fighting games is every PlayStation fan's wet dream, and while the limited roster of six characters--Kratos, Fat Princess, Sly Cooper, Radec, Sweet Tooth, and Parappa the Rappa--on show at the event we attended served only to whet our appetite, it's by no means a bad start. Signing over its most beloved personalities isn't something Sony is entering into lightly, with the project being helmed by new studio SuperBot Entertainment, a veritable A-team of fighting game development veterans.

So what are they working on? Sony describes it as a "mash-up brawler," a multiplayer title with more than a passing resemblance to Nintendo's own Super Smash Bros. series. Once you've selected your character and found one to three friends (the remaining free character spaces become AI controlled), your task is to bust their pretty digital faces, earning points for scoring killing blows and being penalised points each time you're slain.

The SSB similarities don't end there, with taps on the square, triangle, and circle buttons and holding one of four directions on the D-pad or analog stick used to activate a range of differing attack types. Some are short-range melee swings, some are flung items, while others are for planting or tossing out defensive weapons like mines or arrows. Deceptively simple at first glance, its fighting game roots mean there's a much deeper experience lurking below the surface waiting to be mastered. There are no combo input systems to memorise or health bars to monitor, and while super attacks are as simple to perform as tapping the R2 button when you've built enough energy to make your character begin to glow, timing its use is essential. At level one (of three), characters will lunge forward, place explosives, fire a deadly gun shot, or mount a giant riding chicken to get bloodthirsty. Taking the chance on dealing prolonged damage over the course of the several-minute-long match and unleashing a level-three super fills the screen with a much larger area-of-effect attack and has a good chance of taking the lives of several victims at once. The risk-reward payoff can easily turn the tide of any match with a single, well-timed release.

Of course, you need a place to fight, and each of the four environments in our demo included a range of static and interactive elements, and like the character roster, pairs up some unusual bedfellows. For example, the Hades arena had the god of the underworld swiping at all four players periodically, dealing hurt to anyone unlucky enough to fall underneath his huge glowing blades. Ground shakes from the tantrum added additional platforms to an otherwise flat surface and allowed for death-from-above attacks. The Patapon army also invaded the scene, taking aim and firing volleys of arrows to snare anyone caught around the highlighted zones.

Ratchet & Clank's Metropolis cityscape came complete with background crates asking for smashing, but quickly became a classic warzone when a whirring shredder opened in the middle of the map and Kratos' old friend, the multi-headed Hydra, popped in to say hi.

Jak and Daxter's Sandover Village came under fire from hole-in-one-hungry golfers, who rained down dimpled, white headaches as we scrambled to kill each other, and a huge turbine sucked parts of the environment offscreen in a vicious vortex. Environmental events are entirely independent of your actions and provide an extra threat. While you won't need to turn them on to see them in action, they're an easy attention thief, quickly distracting you from the other million things happening on the screen at any given time.

It's not every day you see a psychopathic clown shoulder-charging a racoon.

Occasionally power-up items such as glowing double-edged swords, Hedgehog grenades from Resistance, and Wipeout's Gravity Shields enter the fray, requiring you to stay still momentarily while holding the R1 button to scoop them up. Each item provides its own kind of bonus and acts as a good way to build the energy required to perform super attacks, but they must be dropped before you can activate any of your character's special moves. While never specifically orchestrated, many times during our demo we witnessed the remaining three other players in the game gang up to take down the threat before returning to every-man-for-himself survival tactics.

A game like PlayStation All-Stars lives and dies by its roster, and while we were able to try out only six of the as-yet-unknown number of characters that will ship with the game, we did learn a few things about the unique attributes, strengths, and weaknesses of those already included.

At present, Sly Cooper is the only character in the game to forgo the inclusion of a block. Instead, he relies on the power of invisibility to disappear and reappear on the screen at will. This is particularly handy for sneaking up behind an unsuspecting victim and activating the super attack, which uses longtime friend Murray the Hippo as a fleshy battering ram and knocks anyone in its path to their death. Before you cry hacks, observant players can often predict--based on your travel speed and jump range--where you're likely to be. It's certainly not foolproof, and with no real defensive abilities up our sleeve, we often bought a one-way ticket on the pain train. As a master thief, he's also able to steal energy from rival players.

Parappa the Rappa's kung fu tutelage under Chop Chop Master Onion has made him quite the formidable melee specialist. When other players spill their attack power orbs, he can drop his boom box and use it to automatically collect energy without having to risk getting beaten up in person.

Colonel Radec from the Killzone series packs a sniper rifle, and if given enough time and space, he can fire a nasty shot that propels players back and into the air. He's great for playing keep-away, but his susceptibility at short range means he can be punished if you can get in his face.

Sweet Tooth makes his appearance in PlayStation All-Stars sans ice cream truck. Just because he's not behind the wheel doesn't mean he has given up his usual ways, brandishing his machete and more than a little familiar with the painful end of a shotgun. His rush-down attacks can set up more advanced strings of moves, while dropping mines and running for the hills makes it tough for others to follow too closely behind.

Fat Princess was one of our surprise favourite characters. She has the ability to summon a villager at will, without spending any energy to do so. Tapping the circle button shot out a little red helper that was useful for softening up a would-be attacker or providing a chance to put some distance between you and the target. Saving and spending all her power on a level-three skill takes control of the screen briefly as she throws a group of minions out, doing their best to mess up the place.

While members of the SuperBot development team at the event admitted that Kratos was one of the more popular character choices with testers, thanks partly to his recognisability and diverse move set of dashes, spear charges, and melee strikes with his Blades of Chaos, they're working closely to make sure that powerful characters come with their own penalties for selection. One solution they're looking at is for them to require more energy to perform their basic, level-one super attack.

Environments are drawn from across a wide range of games too.

Though only six characters were present in the early version of the game we saw, clear nods were given to a handful of Sony's other titles, such as Everybody's Golf, Ratchet & Clank, Resistance, Jak and Daxter, and Little Big Planet. The team also confirmed that they are already in discussions with major third-party studios around licensing deals. At this early stage, everyone could be a contender.

While PlayStation All-Stars certainly wears its influences on its sleeve, it also appears to be bringing a few new features to the multiplayer brawler table. Most importantly, we had a blast slugging it out with other players. Plenty of questions still remain, such as Sony's plans for support of online competitive play, the number and quality of the remaining faces on the character roster, and whether the game will also receive a Vita port. Who are you hoping to see make the cut? Look for more on it ahead of its 2012 release date.

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Discussion

185 comments
Heathenly
Heathenly

Hey look, it's Smash Brothers, except with characters you can't remember the names of! Just what I always wanted!

guitarpro_33
guitarpro_33

This game looks sick! I pre-order games like this! I want to see characters like Sackboy, Cole McGrath, Nathan Drake, and Nathan Hale. It would be cool if Sackboy could take other players' costumes and use their abilities. Looks good though!

mdmbuzz
mdmbuzz

Alright guys, I'll name a few must have characters

Nathan Drake, Sully, Zeke Dunbar, Cole McGrath, Kuo, Nix, Scott Shelby and Norman Jayden from Heavy Rain, and Nathan Hale from Resistance.

Now heres a few characters that should be in the game that aren't ps exclusives, but could still work: Ulfric Stormcloak, Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Johnny Cage, Goro, Detective Cole Phelps, John Marston, and Niko Belic.

For the stages there should be the New Marais stage with the beast in the background, an Uncharted stage, a Mortal Kombat stage like the Pit, Skyrim with a Dragon in the background, and a 50's LA

Thats all my ideas, hope you guys apperciate!

kamicolo
kamicolo

Def classic characters like Crash, Cloud, and Dante.

majeed101
majeed101

wat the hell. how could cratos end up in the fourth place. i can bleive it, and it has a way too long name just battle royal should do the trick

blackart1111
blackart1111

@deathshot14 - Did you watch the second fight?Kratos came in first by a long shot.

primalwanderer
primalwanderer

This could be amazing! If its successful how long to microsoft do one? Master chief vs commander shephard?

Tacojoint
Tacojoint

and maybe a monter hunter person 2

Tacojoint
Tacojoint

Wishlist- Bioshock thingy, some mk characters, streets fighter characters, infamous cole, resident evil characters, sack boy, red dead redemption person, spyro, dragon quest slime, and last but not least the dragonborn.

Tacojoint
Tacojoint

This kinda seems like a super smash rip off..... SICKKK

GingerFlare
GingerFlare

The sooner we get more Brawlers into the market the sooner people will drop the "rip-off" b/s. It's it's own sub-genre now people. Deal. Then again, people still haven't accept Kart Racing as it's own genre and it's been around for a long time now... Here's hoping people change? Anyhoo, I'm a little iffy on the Supers to get your kills, but it could be much more fun to play than to read and watch. We'll see, I just hope they do include some more traditional modes. At the very least a mode with HP, where you actually do some HP damage with your regular attacks. Bring on Spyro and Crash Bandicoot. They have to be in it.

Laxer04
Laxer04

playing as cloud or sephiroth would be awesome

lex_in_the_moon
lex_in_the_moon

Such a rip-off of Smash Bros... but what an epic rip-off it has the potential to be.

DefunktJunk
DefunktJunk

my wishlist for PS exclusive characters are.. Nariko/Kai - Heavenly Sword Cole Mcgrath - inFamous Jak & Daxter Ratchet & Clank Wander - Shadow of the Colossus Nathan Drake/Chloe - Uncharted Sev - KillZone Chimera - Resistance Sackboy/girl - LittleBigPlanet Sir Daniel Fortesque - MediEvil Gabe Logan - Syphon Filter Yorda - Ico UmJammer Lammy One of the female golfers from Hot Shots Golf non-exclusive characters i would like to see.. Crash Bandicoot Spyro Alucard - Castlevania Snake/Meryl - Metal Gear Lara Croft Gex - Gex Enter the Gecko Sora - Kingdom Hearts Faith - Mirrors Edge Claire Redfield - Resident Evil kinda alot characters lol but hopefully a majority of them come true.

deathshot14
deathshot14

how the hell did kratos come in 4th place WTF!!

GamespotSux_IKR
GamespotSux_IKR

There's soo much to talk about! This game's gonna be the biggest thing to hit PS in years. You guys know 'Brawl Taunt's' on youtube? Quick! Someone make ..Battle Sony..Allstar..Brothers....taunts

noahmorrow07
noahmorrow07

@heydudes i totally agree, i mean, imagine sly. a master thief vs Etzio, a master assassin it would be boss...

noahmorrow07
noahmorrow07

gosh i hope this has Emmit Grave from starhawk....

plate023
plate023

I would like to see Snake, Drake, Hale, Sephiroth and Dante and Vergil. Kinda disappointed at the art style, would have liked to see something more gritty and dark, but this still looks like it'll be fun.

raycey
raycey

MUST include Ratchet, special move being the R.Y.N.O. battle suit from A4O. I'd love to see Nathan Drake but I can't think what the special move should be... M32 Hammer? I'd also like to see Cole McGrath and Snake. I'm not into fighting/brawler games but add the above characters and I'm there.

heydudes
heydudes

I would REALLY love to see Ezio be playable. Even though hes not a ps3 exclusive character, he would be perfect for this game. Think of all the sweet sword and hidden blade moves he could have, as well as his hidden pistol, throwing knives, smoke bombs, and explosive bombs.

GamespotSux_IKR
GamespotSux_IKR

I think this game is a guaranteed hit..even if it's mediocre. All the internet jokes and meme's that will come from this game...! :o Hope it's really fun to play

BoozerX
BoozerX

Lang name. It should be "Battle Royale".

hitboy806
hitboy806

Add Cole Mcgrath! Add Cole Mcgrath!

proyoto
proyoto

The game looks like it is going to be great but there is a problem. The Kill system. It can be easily exploited and then u get matches where nobody wants to go near anyone else and everyone is ranged characters. Kratos has to be up close to get a kill, ill just stay away and blast away with Radic. Like if you think that the kill system is flawed and commnet how you want to see it diffrent.

degolle
degolle

the dream comes true!......sweeeet...

Lhomity
Lhomity

If the dolphin from Fluid doesn't make an appearance then dammit Sony, for the love of Playstation please don't forget and the rest of the PS1 icons. It could mean the difference between a 9am-when-stores-open purchase and a 9:05am purchase. Don't let me down, Sony. P.S. No 3rd party characters please. Evil end boss should be a giant xbox 360 with tentacles and laser beams and shtuff. P.P.S ILUVU2SONY xoxo

spiralhedgehog
spiralhedgehog

I can definitely see Ratchet (and possibly Clank), Jak (and maybe Daxter) and maybe even Nathan Drake. If there's one 3rd-party character I wanna see, it's Lightning from FFXIII and XIII-2. Everyone's gonna want to keep their eyes on this game.

fend_oblivion
fend_oblivion

If Sony can get a huge roster, then looks like we've a winner on our hands.

reyace
reyace

This game looks worth the try. I am definitely getting this one though cause i am a sucker for Super Smash Bros XD. And sony's awesome games in general.

nintendo-naut
nintendo-naut

I seriously doubt it will ever even come close to Brawl's level--But I'm interested nonetheless.

solidus2_1
solidus2_1

SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you better be in this game or im gonna FREEEEEAK.......

vengefulwilberg
vengefulwilberg

As much as I love smash bros. I think this is an epic idea. Heck, I wish I had a DS to get Jump All Stars which does look really awesome.

Bulzeeb3088
Bulzeeb3088

Wishlist: Crash Bandicoot Spyro the Dragon Cloud (or Zidane) Jak and Daxter Ratchet and Clank Cortex (Timesplitters) Any character from Gauntlet: Dark Legacy Minato (P3 MC since he's not in P4:A) Nathan Drake Cole MacGrath I'm pretty stoked for this.

splinter10
splinter10

Interesting. Should be a fun game I suppose.

Masenkoe
Masenkoe

Guys, people need to realize SSBB is not the only game like this. Jump Super Stars and it's sequel Jump Ultimate Stars for DS were released in Japan and are basically the same thing only with all the Shonen Jump characters. Nintendo doesn't "own" this genre. (Also if you have a DS I recommend you import Jump Ultimate Stars, AWESOME GAME). I'm looking forward to this game, it looks fun and awesome.

halosqrrl
halosqrrl

sony *sigh*... they better do a good job with it if they are so plainly copying their competitors most highly praised original ip ssbb is still selling well 5 years later i hope this puts stress on nintendo to work on their new super smash bros

shadowvc92
shadowvc92

@S_Pac_316 finally!!! someone who remembers those games also digimon rumble arena and battle stadium D.O.M. :D!! and for those who say that it s exactly like ssbb it is not it s just the same genre i dont see the percentage bar and you dont die for getting off the screen :)

icetone
icetone

Man this so looks like like Super Smash Bros. Which is AWESOME! really can't wait, I always have a blast playing with my friends on my friend's Wii. Also soo glad this will have online so I don't need to just fight the cumputer when by myself can't wait! the levels are the best evar!

WolfGrey
WolfGrey

All the Nintendo Fanboys lmao.Worst fanboys ever known.Hilarious seeing them dissing this.These are the same people people who dissed Okami and called it a Zelda remake. You guys make my day ya know that?

S_Pac_316
S_Pac_316

Wow! I wished Sony could make a game like this and now it's happening! As for people thinking this is a rip-off of Smash Bros., well didn't TMNT Smash-Up and Cartoon Network Punch time Explosion do just that? There was also a Japan only PS2 game called "Dream Mix TV". So Smash Bros. was already getting clones long before this game. :P So I'm fairly excited for this game. I hope they get more characters including former Sony IPs like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro.