The parts of the game that hold All-Stars back the most are the game modes. The gameplay itself is extremely solid, exciting and fun to play; the lack of game variety, however, is a major hindrance. There is a traditional arcade mode for each character to play through a series of random fights followed by a 1v1 battle against their in-game “rival.” Each character is matched up against another character in the game for these moments into pairs, like Good Cole v. Raiden or Nariko v. Dante. You can check out the Nathan Drake v. Sly Cooper video down below.
After the rivalry fight, you fight a series of polygon-esque fighters that resemble different character in the game, as well as fighting the final boss. That’s it for arcade mode. In addition to arcade mode are the traditional practice and tutorial modes, there are combat tutorials and the versus modes. For versus modes you can have up to 4 fighters (any combination of human and AI.) Here you can customize whether or not it’s a stock match, time based match, etc. As you play with characters you unlock little icons, costumes, different intro and outro animations, etc as well. That’s the extent of the game modes and content in this game. This is all really just standard fare in a fighting game, but with all the content offered in games like the most recent Mortal Kombat or Super Smash Bros. game especially, it leaves me wanting a bit more.
With all that being said, the gameplay itself is rock solid. Not only are all of the characters accurately reflected in All-Stars, but they are all equally viable (for the most part, someone needs to get Toro out of here.) Whether you choose the lightning fast combos of Raiden and Dante, or the more strategic based combat of a character like Ratchet & Clank or Nathan Drake, they are all equally enjoyable.
The basic premise of combat in All-Stars is quite different than most fighting games you might have played before. Whereas traditional fighting games have you attack an opponent to decrease their life bar, All-Stars has you attack opponents to increase your power meter. Each time it is filled, up to three times, you unlock a subsequent tier of super attack. For example, at level 1 Nathan Drake throws a propane tank that can be shot to explode, killing anyone in the blast radius. His level two knocks over a giant statue, killing anyone it touches, while his level three is a direct reference to the first Uncharted game and its ending, transforming all enemies allowing for easy killing.
Something should also be said for the fact that the game works seamlessly across the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita systems. Not only do all of your ranks and progress carry over, but you can play multiplayer with people on either system and not even know you’re playing against someone on another device.
While the similarities to Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. are undeniable, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is able to establish an identity of its own. Thankfully Sony’s big cast of exclusive properties makes for an adequate roster, especially for the first entry in a new franchise. With new games constantly on the horizon, it’s exciting to think of what DLC characters and stages they have planned. It may not be exactly like Smash Bros., but if you own a PS3 and consider yourself a fan of the brand itself, you should be playing this game.
- Excellent gameplay mechanics
- Strong roster of characters
- Dynamic and engaging stages
- Lack of game modes
- Inevitable comparisons to Super Smash Bros.
- Not all characters are really that balanced
Final Grade: B+
This review was conducted on retail versions of the game for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita.