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Review

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Review

  • Game release: November 20, 2012
  • Reviewed: November 20, 2012
  • PS3

PlayStation All-Stars' mix of playful franchise mash-ups and four-player battles fail to mesh with its complex fighting mechanics.

by

'

It's easy to be cynical about a game that borrows so heavily from a well-loved franchise. And there's no question that, on the surface at least, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale bears more than a striking resemblance to Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. But this is a game where appearances can be deceptive. Underneath its collection of classic (and not so classic) characters, four-player battles, and tongue-in-cheek franchise mash-ups lies a fighter that eschews button mashing and over-the-top special moves for a deeper, more technical fighting experience.

That's not to say it's a better fighting experience because of it, though. There are three attack buttons to choose from--which don't directly correspond to punches, kicks, or the power of an attack--and each of them can be modified by using the D-pad or analogue stick. That already gives you quite the combination of moves to choose from, but the game layers on more complexity with jumps, throws, blocks, rolls, dodges, taunts, items, and super moves. The sheer number of attack options available to you can be overwhelming, particularly during a heated battle.

It's a complex system that stands in stark contrast to the game's eclectic collection of characters and cute, colourful arenas. But it mostly works--if you're willing to put in the practice. Button mashing isn't an option--at least if you want to win a fight--and you won't see the kind of outlandish, high-energy effects and special moves typical of other team-based fighters like Marvel vs. Capcom. In some respects that's a disappointment, but your pugilistic powers do leave room for more strategic forms of combat.

Making sense of that strategy with well-timed punches, kicks, and throws, particularly amid the chaos of four-player fights, is where the challenge in Battle Royale lies. Getting a grasp on things is made all the more difficult by each character having a unique way of handling, to the point where learning to fight with one character rarely translates across to another. Kratos, for instance, moves and attacks much like he does in God of War, flinging his Blades of Athena around with a brute force that results in some slick, impressive-looking combos.

But someone like Parappa the Rapper is a trickier proposition. Chaining his moves together requires more delicate timing, and demands multiple directional commands to execute uppercuts and sweeps or to wield his skateboard to fling opponents into the air. The unnervingly cute Toro (Sony's official mascot in Japan) can change clothing during a match to switch from a karate champ to a ninja to a helmet-wearing hothead, and each outfit completely changes the types of moves he can perform.

Such complexity means that, at least initially, the only way to succeed is to try to master a single character. And even when you do it's disappointing to find that the game never reaches the silky-smooth, fluid heights of a truly great fighting game; there's simply a lack of finesse in how the characters handle, how their abilities are balanced against each other, and how their punches meet that makes for unsatisfying combat. Numerous tutorials that cover everything from basic kicks and punches to full-on combos and combat trials that put those skills to the test certainly help make sense of Battle Royale's technicalities, but never to the point where you can overcome how stilted everything feels.

There are other idiosyncrasies to contend with too. For starters there are no health bars; matches are instead won by racking up kills, either to a set goal or by simply getting as many as possible within a time limit. The only way to get kills is by building up your AP (power) meter via combos and unleashing super moves: the higher your AP, the more powerful the move. It's an interesting twist on fighting game mechanics, and changes how you approach battles.

Without the constant pressure of a health bar, you can be more reckless and go on an all out attack without fear of reprisal, especially at the beginning of fights when AP is low. When everyone's AP Is higher, and special attacks are ready, it's wiser to take a more cautionary approach. But even then the game never really approaches the sort of tension levels you might expect from a fighting game. There's none of those last second, down to the last of your health bar moments that are so tense, and so appealing.

Like the rest of the combat, gathering AP for special moves is tricky. Each character handles differently, going beyond simple differences of short, medium, or long-range attacks. Some level one supers can be interrupted with attacks and throws; others can't. Most level two supers can be countered only with other supers. Some level three supers kill everyone onscreen, without any input from you, while others require you to hunt down your opponents. Suffice it to say, the learning curve is steep.

There is, however, a certain charm to it all. Much of that is down to the game's eclectic collection of characters and some inventive and often amusing level design. Classic Sony characters like Sly Cooper, Parappa the Rapper, and Sir Daniel sit alongside more modern creations such as Nathan Drake, Sackboy, and Fat Princess. And, let's face it, because Sony doesn't have quite enough loveable characters to make up a full fighting roster, there are third-party inclusions too, like Big Daddy, Dante, and Raiden.

And then there are the gorgeous arenas. The bright, colourful dojo from Parappa the Rapper--complete with pointers from Master Onion--is a delightful nostalgia trip that takes a bizarre turn as the dojo's walls crumble, a city is revealed, and giant robots fire rockets at the combatants. Indeed, many of the arenas contain obstacles for you to avoid while fighting. For instance, the Little Big Planet level is in a constant state of construction, and platforms appear and disappear often. That's tricky enough to work around when you're trying to land a few punches, but the platforms soon fall altogether to reveal quizmaster Buzz, who poses a question that you must answer by standing in the appropriate area of the screen. Mess it up, and you're pelted with pies that stun you for a few seconds and leave you wide open to attack.

To reveal any more mash-ups would be to spoil many of the neat surprises each arena has to offer. But they're all well designed and span a range of games from Patapon to Killzone to the as-yet-unreleased BioShock Infinite. The environmental challenges they present, such as moving platforms, projectiles, and items like guns and swords, do stand at odds with the game's focus on technical prowess, but they can be turned off in versus mode, and for more casual matches, they do a great job of livening up the action.

For some reason, the game's visual flair hasn't made its way over to the menus that tie the whole thing together. It's a small thing, but it doesn't inspire confidence in a game when the first things you see are flat, pixelated menus laid over ugly gradients. Perhaps they're some kind of homage to classic 8-bit fighters, but whatever the reason, they are not an attractive sight. The arcade mode's character backstories aren't much better, consisting of nothing more than 2D images with a lot of Ken Burns effect.

Like with most fighters, though, multiplayer is where you spend most of your time, and thankfully Battle Royale's works a treat. Each match is completely customisable, so you can turn hazards and items on or off, set time limits, or choose how many kills are required for a win. Serious players will no doubt want to turn all the superfluous features off and concentrate on the battles at hand, but local matches against friends certainly benefit from the humorous mentality of exploding levels, and fish that you can slap opponents with.

Aside from local four-player matches, Battle Royale supports a variety of online modes. There's a hint of input delay, which might put seasoned players off, but on the whole matches are lag-free and work well. They include standard versus matches, team battles (two-vs.-two or three-vs.-one), and tournament play via ranked matches. There are also leaderboards that display your overall rank, supers per minute, and the number of times you placed first, second, third, and fourth. Cross play is also supported, so PlayStation 3 and Vita players can take each other on regardless of platform and work towards a place on the same leaderboards, which is a nice touch.

But it's hard to imagine those leaderboards being filled when Battle Royale is such a confusing proposition: it simply doesn't know what it wants to be. Its in-depth technical battle system suggests that this is a serious fighter, and it has the learning curve to match. And yet, it asks you to slap competitors in the face with a fish, or avoid the march of Patapon, when all you really want to do is concentrate on honing your skills. There are better, more fluid games out there for the serious fighter, and there are more accessible ones for those interested in a bit of silliness. In attempting to mix the two, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale merely ends up being competent at both and the master of neither.

'
The Good
Seeing your favorite Sony characters punch each other in the face
Humorous, well-designed levels that mash up franchises
Four-player battles with friends are fun
Cross play support for on-the-go fighting on the Vita
The Bad
Complex battle system makes for a steep learning curve
Lacks the fluid feel of a great fighting game
Horrible, pixelated menu screens
Some stills and a bit of voice-over do not make for a compelling character narrative
6.5
Fair
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Discussion

0 comments
Number_1_
Number_1_

Too low. The only problem with the game is the roster, it's missing characters like Spyro and Crash and has some that don't belong Fat Princess, Toro, Kat, Emmet Graves, Isaac, and Zesus 

ristactionjakso
ristactionjakso

I got this game for $10 on psn, so I can't be all that mad, but still I feel the need to say this:

First off the title says "Playstation All Satrs" where the phuck are all the good exclusive playstation characters? I mean there is Kratos, Cole, Drake, Sly and Ratchet.......but why are all these 3rd party characters in a "playstation all satrs" game? Where is Cloud, Sephiroth, Spyro, Tombaa, Dart, Fei, Jaster Rogue and so so so many more that could be in this game..... I mean wtf? There are so many obvious exclusive characters they could have included but for some reason didn't. Did they forget? Or hope to sell/milk more characters as dlc before the game flopped? O well, it is what it is. And $10 isn't a bad price for this game. Hope they turn their act around if they decide to make a #2.

lek_zie
lek_zie

the reviewer said that theres only few sony characters compare to nintendo but in reality sony more characters with a game:

nintendo-mario/luigi/link/pit/olimar/samus/kirby/pikachu/wario

sony-kratos/nathan drake/cole macgrath/sackboy/jak/ratchet/sly/kat/daniel/nariko/ico/rau//jennifer tate/gabe logan

Mvdforever
Mvdforever

Hmm i never got to try this game and a 6.5 isn't bad really. Iv been playing the smash bro's franchise since it started and love the type of fighter it is and to hear about a game that is a little bit more complex has me wanting to try it. But where is Crash Bandicoot lol i know he isn't an exclusive but he was sony's first real mascot.

Triplevengeance
Triplevengeance

This game really deserves a better rating, like everyone says below, this game is not hard to play. Sure you might need to play a certain character for a while to learn their moves, but isn't that just like any other fighting game? The characters in this game were put in because of their unique battle styles and for you to play which one you feel more comfortable playing. The only thing 'Bad' about this game is when you get into online fighting, and when you are winning, you get those cheap people that leave the game and make you loose all the experience. Other than that, this game is really good, and no reviewer will stop me from enjoying it.

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

No Crash? No Laura Croft? No Snake? No Chris? No Jill? No Leon? But we get the forgettable Cole,  Drake, and SACKBOY? What kind of Playstation all star game is this?

punchacku
punchacku

So let me get this straight....mvc 3 had a nine....the lvls were purely just look different. SS4 got an 8....with the same thing....both are far more complex then this game...yet this game is hard to learn???? what game did this guy play? good fighting mechanics...check. Good character variation....check. Good dynamic lvl variation...check. Decent unlockables....check. Game modes....pretty good...check. That sounds like an 8 or 8.5 to me....not a 6.5. Don't listen to this guy...if u like this idea...u will most likely be into the game. 

Leboyo56
Leboyo56

Also I'm not really even into techno and the like, but this game's theme is awesome. It's been stuck in my head since November.

AngryToaster123
AngryToaster123

Complex battle system? Does this guy have a learning disaility or something? Level 1, 2, and 3. doesn't get any simpler than that...

NinjaMaddy
NinjaMaddy

 Sony cant come up with anything original thats actually good

Demonjoe93
Demonjoe93

I only rented it, but I think it deserved a lot better than 6.5, and Horrible, "pixelated menu screens" and "Some stills and a bit of voice-over do not make for a compelling character narrative" are pretty weak criticisms for a fighting game. The menu screens weren't even that bad.

silversociety
silversociety

This game rocks.  If you liked the super smash brothers franchise, you'll love this game as its essentially a better version.  There is definitely a learning curve as each character plays completely different from the others, but that's a good thing in my opinion.  Online I heard that Sir Daniel was terrible but once I figured out how he plays (slow, midranged, tactical) he probably holds the title of highest win ratio for me now.  That said, I know people that swear sackboy is the best, but again you need to learn how he plays as he's a tricky character to use.  Nearly all my friend group has bought this game and I know already I'll be sinking hundreds of hours into it now that I own it.

ForceofNature9
ForceofNature9

I don't think this reviewer knows what he's talking about. How exactly is having an in-depth combat system and having characters that play differently a bad thing? How easy does Mark expect fighting games to be? Has he played any 2D fighter or Tekken before? He must just buttonmash and expect to win without any skill (in that case, Kratos would probably be his character of choice).

 

Not only does Mark not know what he's talking about, he seems like a ******* asshat too. His comment "And, let's face it, because Sony doesn't have quite enough loveable characters to make up a full fighting roster, there are third-party inclusions too, like Big Daddy, Dante, and Raiden" is not only BS, it's incorrect too. Especially considering that there's very few villains on the roster like Dr. Nefarious or Zeus. The comment "Lacks the fluid feel of a great fighting game" is also completely asinine. This game isn't intended to play like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken or Dead or Alive, etc. It's a brawler.

 

I suspect that Mark is likely terrible at other fighting games if he thinks that PS All-Stars is difficult or too complex. For instance, compare this to Persona 4 Arena or BlazBlue: CS Ex in terms of complexity. Hell, even Super Street Fighter 4!

shipwreckers
shipwreckers

Man, after seeing this review, I want to get the game so much more now! Seriously, everything the reviewer listed as "con" is actually a huge plus to me.

I_are_Cake
I_are_Cake

"And if you look to the top right, you'll see a shiny green Metascore that provides evidence as to how bogus this review is; we hope you enjoyed the tour."

mrintro
mrintro

now that I've had time to play, I would have to say this review is too harsh. I understand that the campaign/single player is very bare bones, but the multiplayer is pretty fun. I'm willing to forgive Sony for that as long as they from their mistakes in the sequel (assuming there will be one, which I believe there will).

iandavidvinoya
iandavidvinoya

Wow, I can't wait to play this game. 

I played the demo and I don't think the game is hard for me but it might be for my cousin (7 y/o). For me, 6.5 is not bad. Atleast it's not 4.0.

Leboyo56
Leboyo56

The only things I dislike about the game is that arcade mode is a huge let-down, and character customization is very meh. It doesn't have nearly as much content as it appears to at first either. I'm glad that character level doesn't give you any advantages in fighting, though. Fighting someone who's using a Level 999 Kratos while you're barely scratching 50 is intimidating enough as it is. I do completely disagree with the part where he says Sony doesn't have enough memorable series. I could list another 25 or so off the top of my head (like Persona, Crash, Spyro, Kingdom Hearts, Valkyria Chronicles, Demon's Souls, Modnation Racers, 3-D Dot Game Heroes, Klonoa, Dark Cloud, etc.). I love the combat system, it really grows on you after a while. So I wouldn't give it an awesome score naming it the fighting game of the year, but it's a sold 8 from me.

Diogladius
Diogladius

Wow WTF GS why all these low scores for all these great games this year. Not to mention you rated some really big piles of crap with high scores. This is just proof that they get paid to give games certain scores.

Kocelot
Kocelot

How on Earth does this game have a overly complex fighting system?

It's (basically) a more in depth version of Brawl. -_-

Divisionbell
Divisionbell

All I could think by the end of this review, was that I have to play this game. Sounds excellent. A more indepth version of Smash Bros....yes please?!?!?!?

kongii29
kongii29

Wow I'm sick of these horrible reviewers from Gamespot. Have the right people review the correct type of game please.

-theMisfits-
-theMisfits-

Literally all I got out of this review was "It's actually kind of hard to master, so I'm taking a few points off for the review."

I agree 100% the main menu's are bare as can be, and there isn't much to the game besides the gameplay, but oh my god does it nail the gameplay down. 

True, it does require skill, but once you really master someone, you also have to learn other character's attacks and change your moves when they reach the level 1,2, and 3 so to try and avoid those attacks.

 

Idk, at least 7.5 or 8 for me. Nothing like Smash Bros, which is great! But the gameplay is so good that I'm actually debating which one i like more, and that speaks volumes.

symphony4flamez
symphony4flamez

Played this game in 4 player for a few hours, and I can honestly say it wasn't bad enough to get 6.5, but it wasn't good enough to get a really high score either. Though ironically they said the game is too complex, 1 button moves per each direction is complex? Memorizing each characters moves might take a whooping 5 minutes per hero in training mode, but I would not call it complex. I just don't like the idea of only being able to kill someone with finishers, so you can indefinitely get your ass kicked and instead have the entire free for all (This is not valid in 1 on 1) suffer a dude boosted to level 3 ready to slaughter everyone out of nowhere. Also how certain heroes just have down right mediocre level 3 finishers as opposed to some having incredibly powerful ones. I feel like I accidently picked up a smash ball with Yoshi( Brawl), thinking I am going to get a easy double kill per character on screen, only to be fucked over by fan favorites having the only biased great finishers to them.

ristactionjakso
ristactionjakso

And fat princess? Really guys? You couldn't think of a better character than fat princess?

Number_1_
Number_1_

@Dredcrumb9 Cole, Drake, and Sackboy all belong in the game. Toro, Fat Princess and the 4 DLC characters Emmet Graves, Kat, Zeus, and Isaac are the ones we don't need and Spyro, Carsh, Sora, Lara Croft, and Cloud are the only ones who are missing.

Bayonetta2013
Bayonetta2013

@Dredcrumb9 Lara Croft isn't exclusive to Sony. Tomb Raider's been multiplat since Legend in, what, 2005, 2006?

Triplevengeance
Triplevengeance

@Dredcrumb9 This game is suppose to have Playstation Exclusive characters, the only exceptions are Big Daddy and Dante, whose games were also for the Xbox.

ForceofNature9
ForceofNature9

@Dredcrumb9 

Cole, Drake, and SACKBOY are Playstation 1st Party characters, HENCE why they're in the game. I'll be damned if anyone refers to Drake or Sackboy as forgettable. You mentioned 6 3rd party characters. 3 of which that is from RE that is now rubbish.

Bayonetta2013
Bayonetta2013

@NinjaMaddy Except for the countless exclusives, right? Journey, Flower, Uncharted, and one of my classic favorites, Shadow of the Colossus.

ArkaynAdrian
ArkaynAdrian

@Demonjoe93 Pixelated menus!? how could anyone enjoy a game with such a barbaric press start screen. Oh the madness.

Bayonetta2013
Bayonetta2013

@ForceofNature9 Are you forgetting it is his opinion? He's one dude, and unfortunately, his opinion is what makes the score. Us telling him he's an asshole, idiot, dumbass, etc. probably isn't going to change his mind.

blackops1961
blackops1961

 @ForceofNature9 i agreei played it at a eb gakes a few times and i had alot of fun it was a really good game.I would have given it a 8.5 or 9 because its a good brawler that in a way expands on super smash bros

 

jacksamuk
jacksamuk

 @mrintro I agree with you mate. Some of us just like to criticize and not even think about the idea that this is the first release of the Tittle? That is just how things flow naturally, we create something and if it goes wrong in the final result we do it over again. In the gaming world there is the thing called Sequel. I think that  is applicable.Sony won't let go  of the chance in making a good fighting game with all their best character's .  They are just waiting for ppls reaction about this first game, later on they can improve it and release a sequel.Lets all have patience. Everybody should express their opinion but in a constructive critic way.:) 

Number_1_
Number_1_

@ristactionjakso The only reason why she's in the game is because they wanted to have a princess in the game like Peach in super smash bros

ArkaynAdrian
ArkaynAdrian

 @Bayonetta2013 @Dredcrumb9 


TR1 was on PC and Saturn, sequels were on PC up till 4 and 5 which also appeard on Dreamcast. Every single TR game has been multiplat.

symphony4flamez
symphony4flamez

 @joesguy  Yes but everyone knows already by now on this site anything below 7.0 is completely biased as pure trash by the mass community. This game should a gotten at least that to be more well known. Hell I don't even burn games for my psp or 360 if a game has anything below a 7.0, unless I have played the demo and know its a excellent game regardless of the review.

joesguy
joesguy

 @natkoden Superb counter argument. I don't know how I can top that one, jackass. ;P

joesguy
joesguy

 @symphony4flamez And cue the attempt to deflect the self same criticism onto the other without demonstrating how it relates to them. This farce is hardly worth Gamespot's bandwidth, you ought to be more considerate.

symphony4flamez
symphony4flamez

 @joesguy Well I agree with you there. I do love boasting my arrogance. Wasn't aware deserving a score above a "fair" rating, was that funny. I need to brush up on my dane cook, russell brand, carlos mencia jokes.

joesguy
joesguy

 @symphony4flamez Oh sure, your intellectual tussles with wilfully ignorant theists makes you a veritable genius. Please. The fact you insert your victories over the religious in a discussion on video games just highlights your arrogance. You simply cannot grasp the fact that a game doesn't necessarily "deserve" a particular score, and to even insinuate that this deserves anything above a "fair" rating is, in and of itself, comical.

symphony4flamez
symphony4flamez

 @joesguy Sure I did. I laugh at the notion that you even know the definition of the word notion. I'll copy and paste, usually the upset ignorant religious people I argue with in real life, seem to understand it when I repeat the same exact idea twice but more slowly.."Played this game in 4 player for a few hours, and I can honestly say it wasn't bad enough to get 6.5, but it wasn't good enough to get a really high score either. Though ironically they said the game is too complex, 1 button moves per each direction is complex? Memorizing each characters moves might take a whooping 5 minutes per hero in training mode, but I would not call it complex. I just don't like the idea of only being able to kill someone with finishers, so you can indefinitely get your ass kicked and instead have the entire free for all (This is not valid in 1 on 1) suffer a dude boosted to level 3 ready to slaughter everyone out of nowhere. Also how certain heroes just have down right mediocre level 3 finishers as opposed to some having incredibly powerful ones. I feel like I accidently picked up a smash ball with Yoshi( Brawl), thinking I am going to get a easy double kill per character on screen, only to be fucked over by fan favorites having the only biased great finishers to them." -I mean no disrespect to your religion, just using it as a example, because you obviously don't need it to seem ignorant.

joesguy
joesguy

 @symphony4flamez At no point did you demonstrate how a 6.5 and 7 differ, only that you believe this should be a 7. Learn to comprehend your own writing before sassing off to people. I also laugh at your notion that a higher score will bolster the games popularity. This game built up more than enough false hype on its own.

symphony4flamez
symphony4flamez

 @joesguy I just said how.. Here I ll copy and paste it. "Yes but everyone knows already by now on this site anything below 7.0 is completely biased as pure trash by the mass community. This game should a gotten at least that to be more well known. Hell I don't even burn games for my psp or 360 if a game has anything below a 7.0, unless I have played the demo and know its a excellent game regardless of the review."

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale

  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation Vita
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is a four-player brawler that pits a whole host of Sony and third-party game characters against each other.
ESRB
Teen
All Platforms
Crude Humor, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence
Check out even more info at the PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Wiki on Giantbomb.com
Average User Score See all 414 Player Reviews
7.5
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Most helpful Player Reviews

All-Stars is a great party fighter that get's unfairly misjudged.

User Rating: 8.5 | Read Full Review
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