Testing the Demon Hunter in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale

Gamescom 2012: We test to see if the son of Sparda can still make the angels weep and the devil cry in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.

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At first blush, Dante seemed to be a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none sort of guy. As one of the latest additions to the PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale roster--alongside Ratchet and Clank, Spike (Ape Escape), and Sackboy--Dante has a fairly even selection of ranged and melee attacks. But after spending some quality time with the demon hunter, we discovered that his tastes were a bit more refined (and we're not just talking about pizza preferences).

During our sessions, we found that Dante relied heavily on close-quarters melee attacks to rack up energy and get kills. Individually, his ranged attacks served mainly as a harassment tool rather than a separate play style. On the plus side, he's still a highly mobile character, complete with a horizontal dash and attacks that propel him up and down. Overall, Dante was a very difficult character to play well since he wasn't equipped to wade into a crowd of opponents (unlike the unstoppable Spike). Instead, one-on-one fighting was his forte, where he could let his style shine.

SQUARE: Melee Attacks

Dante's signature sword--Rebellion--as well as his new demonic axe and angelic scythe, were controlled with the square button. Devil May Cry (and Marvel vs. Capcom 3) fans will instantly recognize the rising High Time and falling Helm Breaker attacks, staples from the demon hunter's repertoire. Tapping square by itself unleashed a quick succession of hits with the sword, which could be easily followed up with down plus square: an overhead axe smash that caused slight splash damage at the point of impact.

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TRIANGLE: Ranged Attacks

Ebony and Ivory, the only ranged weapons to travel with Dante across the entire series, were relegated to the triangle button. Tapping triangle by itself produced a quick barrage of bullets, and he would automatically target the nearest opponent. However, once the barrage ended, Dante--in customary fashion--would take a moment to add some extra flourish when holstering the pistols: a nearly full second process that left him completely vulnerable.

To compensate, this move (and others) could be canceled into others to build, and extend, combos. While it's featured heavily in the trailer above, we had limited success executing this technique on our own. Even so, the guns' low meter gain and limited range stifled their usefulness outside of combos. The most mileage we got from the guns was the Rain Storm. Performed with down plus triangle in midair, this familiar attack unleashes a hail of bullets from above, and could hit multiple targets.

CIRCLE: Utility Attacks

Remember how annoying Ike and Marth's counters were in Super Smash Bros. Brawl? Well, prepare yourself, because Dante is keeping the frustration alive with an extremely similar counter of his own. It will even counter projectiles, but only the first shot of a multi-shot projectile (say, the first bullet from a machine gun) will be nullified. The son of Sparda also has a horizontal air dash that can be performed on the ground or in the air with forward and circle--extremely handy for escaping group rumbles.

SUPERS: The Killing Blow

The ever-useful Stinger attack is alive and well here as well, serving as Dante's level-two super. True to form, it fires him across the field in a horizontal line--killing any and all who get in the way. You just have to watch out for walls; you can't kill walls. Dante's level-one super, a close-range sword combo, was less useful since alert opponents could knock him out of the move before it actually went off. Meanwhile, Dante's level-three super--the Devil Trigger--transformed him into a one-hit killing machine for roughly 10 seconds.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale will be available for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita on November 20, and those who purchase the game on the PS3 will receive a free download voucher for the Vita version as well.

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