PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Review

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

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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.

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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
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale

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Discussion

0 comments
Terrencec06
Terrencec06

I personally like the game a lot. If I didn't suck at it online I would play it online more. I still pick it up from time to time and play the story mode. 

MsclQuake
MsclQuake

Regardless of the reviews and scores given to a game a person has to decide if a game is FUN.  I am playing All Stars now and as a fight game fan I must say this game is FUN and is well worth your purchase if you can get it on sale or in a bundle....the game has humor, great environments, hectic fighting....its just FUN.  FUN is one of the criteria that I notice game reviewers do not include when they analyse and report on games, yet it should be the main criteria that a person considers when purchasing for their entertainment.

PartyOnGarth
PartyOnGarth

This site isn't what it used to be since Greg Kasavin left.  I don't have an issue with the score, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, it's how they back it up that bothers me.

DiverseGamer
DiverseGamer

Am I the only one who doesn't get the "I'm a Sad Panda" caption?

vishakhenzo2005
vishakhenzo2005

whether a 'steep learning curve'  is a merit or de-merit depends upon the user's preference and time

Rod90
Rod90

I'll stick to Smash Bros.

Javier
Javier

"Complex battle system makes for a steep learning curve"   

 

Are you serious?

MafiaMusic
MafiaMusic

sonyHBFR! has been friggin r*ped LOLLOLOL

InquisitorCrox
InquisitorCrox

G$ is right about this game been worthy of the same rate as AC3, but they are wrong about the score, it should have been a 7.5-8.5, but we all know the bias they have against everything made by their sponsor's main antagonist...

It happened too many times to consider this is yet another coincidence and stray opinion, while it is clear that G$ has a plan to defame Sony and Vita as much as possible!

EntropyWins
EntropyWins

I'm done with gamespot  First they do all the vita reviews late. Then their reviews are completely inconsistent, with them dropping the hammer on some games for fabricated flaws while ignoring issues in games that they give 9 and up too.

At least IGN is consistently high, and I will give them my internet traffic for now on.

IHeartBungie
IHeartBungie

I hate Sony after that *beep* hacking happened Sony you Son of *beep* why don't your mother die or *beep* herself Anyway this game is a piece of shit And it's name also sucks You mother *beep* you looted me *beep* you Sony Die! Die Sony die Die like a*beep* pig

justin4444
justin4444

fanboys are extremely mad! This game suck. It's a SSB wannabe but if fails to deliver. Too sad :c

Chalex17
Chalex17

stupid review...

 

ok tha game has its flaws... the voice over images from the character story mode and the menus are not as shiny as they could be but...

 

COMPLAINIG ABOUT IT'S DIFICULTY???

 

I think its perfect! Every character is diferent And i love it

. For my taste this game gameplay is superior than SMBB and I'm a big SMBB fan

 

So again if really think this game is too hard for you, just keep playing new super mario bros and leave the reviewing for the real players.

 

 

berebd
berebd

Humanity... what are you doing !?!?!?!? HUMANITY !? STAAPH!  Peeeps why are most of you complaining about this game deserving at least a 9/10 not a 6.5/10... Just stop it man... you have no idea how silly this makes you look when your complaining about someone else’s "opinion" or a freaking Number…. Those numbers mean duck all.... 

To the people that worship these numbers and take them seriously STAAPH as well... as stated above its SOMONES opinion.... Why do you let someone else’s opinion influence your purchase....? At least give it a try before you bash something based on a wall of text ( This does not count for all the “not going to buy blab la comments” comments btw :P)

 

 

DiverseGamer
DiverseGamer

Not only does the User score disagree with this review, but the Metascore does as well.

thom_maytees
thom_maytees

For a game that is believed by some to be either a "Smash Bros." killer or a clone of the latter, it is quite disappointing. Better luck in a sequel.

leeko_link
leeko_link

This is a great free-for-all mascot fighting game for PS3 & Vita, I hate to say it to GameSpot but c'mon this game deserve more than just an 6/10, it at least deserve a 9/10 imo. I don't know what these ppl are expecting but PS All-Stars is a fun and awesome brawler and this is coming from a gamer who enjoy Super Smash Bros. Melee but hated Brawl.

Triangels
Triangels

pixilated menus ? seriously ! put on your glass and review the game ! 

Inferi-Fang
Inferi-Fang

They really should have gone with a better art direction with this game.

Spacerac
Spacerac

The other complaints aside, which are a matter of opinion... In what world does a pixilated menu deserve a point docking? Seriously?

bom12826
bom12826

how come i always see the same dude going around every freaking  Review and betch on people? I guess he either have so much free time, or have no life.

alenth
alenth

just my point of view: is common knowledge that a lot of people wants dumbed down fighting games but the magic in the fighting game genre is HAVING FUN WHILE LEARNING THE GAME, the game offers good competitive features and while some hardcore fighting fans don't agree that brawler games are not fighting games at least they are fun and bring good competition with the community.

 

I am part of my local fighting game community, we tried the beta and we liked it because it has good execution in the fighting mechanics offer a lot of different forms of gameplay, i think this review is based around a casual experience because the game is not simple enough, this game offers way better competitive features and good mechanics with a high skillcap.

 

This game could be not good for a casual gamer, but for some fighting game players and people that like the brawler genre this is a good game for them.

 

I'm not requesting a new review but i disagree with the score, with that logic Virtua Fighter V: Final Showdown or KOF XIII are bad because they are even more complex games

 

 

Paul_Phoenicks
Paul_Phoenicks

Is it me, or is it counter-productive to make a fighting game with a complex fighting system, yet only have one way to actually dispatch your foe?

It's almost like the Raiders of the Lost Ark scene where Indy was going to fight that guy with the sword, except he just pulled out his gun and shot him. This game is that sword guy- all that flash and training, and he can probably do some cool stuff, but he's dispatched by something completely simple that negates everything he knows.

Guybrush_3
Guybrush_3

I haven't played enough of the game to give it a score but my first impressions are not great. The whole thing just feels clunky as hell. Hopefully with more time I will learn to play it more fluidly but as of now I'm not a fan.

TheZeroPercent
TheZeroPercent

this is what happens when money comes before passion

blackman232
blackman232

I played the demo. I hate Sony Characters but from what I could tell from the playing I did, this game would be a 8. I mean yea it takes awhile to understand the fighting engine in the game, but thas the type of thang that makes a game better/diffrent. 6.5(fair) I think is not on point.

RealFabioSooner
RealFabioSooner

Just throwing one more interesting thing out there:

 

You know how many fighting games this guy reviewed for GameSpot in the last two years?

Two.

http://www.gamespot.com/users/markypants/contributions?mode=reviews&page=1

 

And that's counting Anarchy Reigns, which is very removed from the kind of fighting you'd associate with Smash Bros or Street Fighter. One could argue that Anarchy Reigns is closer to a beat'em up game on 3D.

 

If you're curious, the other is Street Fighter IV for the 3DS.

 

I've said it before, I'll say it again: I like Gamespot better than most sites, but they're terribly understaffed. This is what happens then: you put the doctor to build houses, the engineer to write songs, the musician to perform surgeries and so on in their spare time. Don't expect them to be thrilled by what they're doing then.

FlamingFury
FlamingFury

Seems like a pretty fair review. I'm hoping the menus are better than the beta were at least :S

WolfGrey
WolfGrey

 @Javier Ya welcome to gamespot, cept for Kevin they usually put demerits for any game having any kind of difficulty.

 

Apparently actually having to learn each character is a bad thing.They rather just mash buttons and have it be easy.

 

Exact frickin opposite of what i want.

SANDMAN201
SANDMAN201

 @IHeartBungie Go *beep* yourself you *beep*in' *beep*. Why don't you go and die with your mother after you *beep* her flappy vagina?

Kryzeth
Kryzeth

@DiverseGamer Metacritic:74/100 (Critics), 7.5/10 (Users), Gamespot: 7.5/10 (Users) . Still doesn't make it a 9/10 game though. 7.5 out of 10 is rather... average; especially when compared to their direct competitor: Super Smash Bros Brawl; Metacritic: 93/100 (Critics), 8.9/10 (Users) and Gamespot: 9.5/10 (Reviewer), 9.3/10 (Users). Pretty much agreed across the board that... Smash Bros is by far the better game ;D

zzamaro
zzamaro

 @bom12826 You mean Gelugon whatever? Oh, yeah. I always see a wall of his comments which is annoying because he doesn't seem to comment on the actual game.

bakagami
bakagami

 @Paul_Phoenicks Not really, Final Fantasy Dissidia has a similar system, though not quite the same. Using your analogy, the gun would only fire after fighting several other baddies hand to hand.  its about building up the potential to do a flashy finishing move.

alenth
alenth

 @Gelugon_baat  "I have said before that having experienced reviewers review games that they are familiar with only brings their own kind of bias to the review, " 

 

This is a competitive game, nothing else, a game that should be reviewed by people with experience on the genre period, experienced reviewers are a must in every different genre, this is nothing new, Haunts is an experienced fighting game enthusiast, and he reviewrs fighting games on 1up, also shoryuken.com a site dedicated for fighting games reviews these kind of games, i remember that these guys gave good reviews to king of fighters XIII saying that it was a great comeback for the series (including gamespot) but sites like IGN bashed the game because it wasn't a scrub friendly game.

 

People reviewing games of genres that they like are nothing new and even the old magazines like EGM had this kind of people reviewing games, the game offers a good competitive nature something that even Smash bros brawl didn't had (the game was dropped by the MLG because of the horrible balance and nintendo never supported the community.).

 

I'm not requesting a new review, my only point here is that the review is based on the tastes of a casual gamer not a fighting game  enthusiast.

RealFabioSooner
RealFabioSooner

 @Gelugon_baat  A well-known, unashamed apologist defending another unashamed apologist.

 

How fitting.

 

Please take a very careful look at my handle in this site. Remember it. And take it to your grave: I'm not interested in your opinion in the slightest. Don't waste your time typing anything replying to me. I'll extend the same courtesy to you from now on; after plenty of reading you, it's very clear hell will freeze over before I care about anything you do, think or write.

 

Have a great day.

RealFabioSooner
RealFabioSooner

 @blackman232 I played it three times in a games fair in my country (Brazil) and I must say, I don't understand how people are finding this game so difficult. Just to be clear, I'm not trying to sell myself as a good fighting game player here: I can't even throw hadoukens consistently in Street Fighter (no, seriously, I can't). The only fighting game I play even half-decently is Mortal Kombat - and only the most recent one. As I always say, that's probably because it's easier than the first three and it doesn't use the diagonals in the d-pad. I'm THAT bad a fighting game player.

 

MAYBE the fact that someone in the fair explained the basics helped, but it wasn't  a thorough explanation either: it was basically "throw a move using the d-pad and the face buttons, fill the bar at least once, click trigger to kill people". And that was it. I didn't even know how to defend myself at first. And I still got it right away, winning two games out of three. I've even got a poster thanks to that. And the immediate impression was, "wow, I can play this, just like Smash Bros. It's just a tad different in its winning conditions". That was enough for me to pre-order this, and I may not find the game to be very good in the end, but I'm pretty certain it won't be due to 'steep learning curve' and 'horrible menus' or other such stupid reasons.

SolidTy
SolidTy

 @RealFabioSooner I was actually curious about this reviewer's fighting creds, thanks for that post. I was too lazy to look it up, but there it is, handy link. :P

Gusz2
Gusz2

 @WolfGrey  @Javier They complain when it's easy, but they complain when it's hard too... 

alenth
alenth

 @Gelugon_baat Sony showed this game on the EVO tournament this year, it wasn't a mystery that they wanted the hardcore fighting game fans.

 

 

Paul_Phoenicks
Paul_Phoenicks

 @bakagami Well here's the thing - nobody has said that the combat in Dissidia was "complex". If you told me that All-Stars was supposed to be as bombastic as that game was, I'd accept the idea of over-the-top supers being the only way to KO your opponent. However, the game is complex in its fighting system, and the game doesn't really reward people who dig very deep into it when all it takes is a super to KO.

alenth
alenth

@RealFabioSooner@blackman232

" I don't understand how people are finding this game so difficult"

 

Dude you forgot that this is the generation of dumbed down games, this wasn't a problem back in the late 90's, now it seems that pressing a damn sequence with 2 motions is as hard as doing a shoryuken with a fishing rod controller for some people. 

 

 

 

alenth
alenth

 @Gelugon_baat in my experience casual gamers in fighting games just want flashy stuff and more modes instead of playing online 24/7, some devs like capcom make optional shortcuts for them like easier supers, autocombos, etc, is a different option because seriously some people don't like competition they just like to have fun with offline modes, that's the reason why soul calibur V was dissapointing for some people because it didn't had enough offline modes despite being the best soul calibur game in terms of competiton.

 

I think that this game will have nice sales anyways, the reviews are really not mixed like some other games, and i think that is a different game open for everyone, however i undestand your point of having different opinions around the game to make a good conclusion for the game.

bakagami
bakagami

 @Paul_Phoenicks I wasn't trying to compare them directly only trying to say that the one aspect of the games are similar.  and you can't just use a finishing move without scoring normal attack in order to build up the points, the deeper you dig, as you put it make the faster you can start using the super KO's, you can't just hid in a corner and wait till the game gives them to you

alenth
alenth

 @Gelugon_baat I understand your point, i'm don't want to bash the reviewer, if you find useful this review then good for you because maybe you are another kind of gamer or you want different approaches from different people to make a final conclusion, but at least to me a gamer that likes competition with my friends this game is good for competitive gamers with nice balance (not great either) and good features.to have fun with your friends, at least this is the VITA version, the PS3 version is someway more different.

 

have fun anyways :)

 

 

alenth
alenth

 @Gelugon_baat The same case happened with guild wars 2, the game was not for the standard mmo player it was for the people that wanted a different road.

 

You know, a lot of players from SSBM had a really bad taste on their mouths because of SSBB because of the terrible balance and the bad support from Nintendo, in my opinion this game  is the anwser for some of them.

alenth
alenth

 @Gelugon_baat  Yes but I'm not talking about the games i'm talking about people,  this game plays different and is different, and is a for especific audience and for people that like to have fun while learning.

 

 

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale More Info

Follow
  • First Released
    • PlayStation Vita
    • PS3
    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.
    7.5
    Average User RatingOut of 423 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
    Developed by:
    Bluepoint Games, SuperBot Entertainment
    Published by:
    SCEI, SCEA, SCEE, SCE Australia
    Genres:
    2D, Action, Fighting
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Crude Humor, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence