“Pfft, yeah, it’s totally just a Smash Brothers clone,” I’d hear some E3 attendees say. A wise person also once said that mockery is the realm of the weak, and that person would probably agree with me that Playstation All Stars Battle Royale is shaping up to be one of the most addictive Playstation multiplayer games I’ve experienced in a while.
Destructoid’s Jim Sterling, myself, and my two other Vagary.TV compatriots dove into All Stars for three rounds at Sony’s booth. The first round was a total write-off for me, as I still didn’t quite understand the controls or what to do. There aren’t any health bars at all, rather, the whole point of a match is to fill up your special meter by attacking while preventing your opponents from doing the same; once that special meter is at at least one of it’s three notches full, you can unleash a special move and score a point by taking out another player.
I was able to try out Parappa, Nathan Drake, and Sweet Tooth across all three rounds, and they all had a good, unique feel to them. Parappa had a paperweight fragility to how easily he’d get knocked about, but the flurry of punches he could dish out, combined with some attacks that used his skate board and boombox helped give him some offensive capability. Drake had some light brawling capabilities with his signature superman punch, but I really enjoyed staying mobile and building up my meter with a mix of ranged attacks, from his standard pistol and Ak-47 to his minigun; one of his special moves had him throw a propane tank into the fray, but I couldn’t figure out how to detonate it. Sweet Tooth was tough to use, as his abilities focused on heavy hitting with his shotgun and cleaver, though his chainsaw attacks helped him with spacing.
After the first round or two, it was clear that all four of us were getting the hang of things. Dodging, blocking, and throwing all started making their way into our fighting styles, as well as a better understanding of how putting pressure on the left stick changed each of the attacks mapped to the three attack buttons.
Regardless of any scepticism any of us may have felt after the three rounds, more than a couple of us agreed that we’d rather play All Stars than do anything else that day.
Second Opinion: Don Parsons
I played a lot of games at E3 this year. I enjoyed most, if not all of them, to varying degrees but only Playstation All Stars kept calling me back. Sure, the mascot fighting game premise seems familiar, but All-Stars adds beloved characters from Sony’s pool of franchises to the mix while having a soul of its own.
The way you win (filling a meter at the bottom so you can perform a special attack) adds depth and skill to the game. That’s not to say that Nintendo’s Smash Brothers series doesn’t take skill and precision to win, either. But while I did great mixing things up in combat as Fat Princess, I missed every super move so I scored zero points. I had a blast playing it, and now, my only concern is how deep the roster will be in the final version.
Be sure to check back on Vagary.TV closer to the release of Playstation All Stars for more coverage. All Stars is tentatively scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2012.