So to those that haven’t been keeping up with every last detail of this game like myself, Playstation All-Stars is pretty much a Sony Smash Bros, up to four characters battle it out in stages inspired by Sony franchises, each character has a range of special moves that of course compliment the character and their games. Its all actually quite simple when put down on paper, but its in the game play where things come into their own.
Each of the all star characters have 3 attack buttons all which when pressed in a different direction activate a different attack, for instance Parappa the Rappers Square attacks are all Karate moves (Nice reference to Chop Master Onion) his triangle moves are all Skateboard orientated and lastly his Circle attacks are Beatbox/Microphone orientated allowing him to whip his foes with a mic or bring out a boombox which releases powerups. All these different moves allow for a big range of combos to be performed. Using an upwards Judo kick to hit Kratos into the air only to slap him back down with a skateboard onto my boombox is very satisfying… for obvious reasons. This still all sounds familiar to Smash Bros though, at it gets even more familiar with blocks, dodging and throws.
Blocks, Dodges and Throws are almost 100% identical to Smash Bros. Melee… other than the fact your blocks don’t have a bubble shield. I’m going to say this is a good thing as the Smash Bros block, dodge and throw mechanic is rather excellent and its translates very well to All Stars. So its one of these cases of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
Whats different about All Stars though is the Characters Special moves. Instead of taking damage in the game, there is a special meter bar that fills up as you attack your enemies. The more damage you do the faster it fills up. Each characters bar fills up to 3 different levels and on each level it activates a different move which gets more powerful the higher your level. This is the big strategy in this game, as the main way to kill people is to hit them with these special moves. Do you spend one level of super to possibly get a nice quick kill or do you save up for a level three super and maybe get five kills out of it? Well the choice is up to you. I for one got a 3 man kill with one of Parappas level 1 supers, the only catch is you got to be right next to somebody to get the hit and it just so happened they were all bunched up in a corner. Its all about taking advantage of your situations, sure the level 3 will easily get you the kills but it takes a long time to save up for that super. This is my favourite thing about the game it forces you to think strategically and take advantage of your foes mistakes. If you don’t well then you will have a hard time winning.
The game also features an array of items, not too many dropped while playing the beta but I’m sure there will be options to change this in the full game. The items that did drop though were rather boring Rocket Launchers and Swords with no flair about them which is a bit disappointing. There are items that release power orbs which power up your super bar up quite a lot, so its a good idea to get them whenever possible.
The only game mode available in the beta is a four way free for all and a two vs two team battle both of which are incredibly hectic and fun. Although when I first played the game I got lost with the hectic battles half the time I had no idea what was going on, if I was killing or being killed. I’d get up and be knocked down, I’d get up again and a Hydra would knock me down. It was insanity. Although I stuck with it and after around three games I was pulling off combos and dodges so nobodies business. The game has a lot going on a once, maybe a bit too much. Its definitely a lot harder to focus on whats happening then in Smash Bros but its not too difficult it just takes some time to get used too.
The characters available in the Beta where Fat Princess, Kratos, Sweet tooth, Sly Raccoon, Parappa the Rapper and Colonel Radec. Every fight had a Kratos or Radec in it. Which isn’t to surprising as they are very powerful and easy to use. I tried playing as Sly for a lot of the game who is quite difficult to use but of course sticking it out paid off and I was dropping bombs and stealthing through supers like a Thevious Raccoon should. There are two stages available which where Hades from God of War and Metropolis from Ratchet and Clank, a great feature they implemented into the games stages was having another Playstation franchise invade it at some point. So in Hades the Patapons come in to throw spears at you while singing their fierce war songs and in Metropolis you can watch Captain Quark fight (and fail) against the Hydra from God of War. It makes the stages a whole lot more interesting and is a nice ode to the Playstation fans.
The game plays very well on both the PS3 and Vita. Naturally its easier to play on the PS3 because of the larger screen and easier use of the control pad, but while playing on my Vita I had no issue keeping up with the action and winning games online against players who were playing against me using a PS3 so that’s a great compliment to the Vitas excellent design. Its also worth mentioning that the online play was practically flawless for me during the beta, only once did a game end from a server disconnecting me but other than that there was virtually no lag or hiccups on PS3 or Vita.
So should you buy Playstation All-Stars? Its a bit early to say, we don’t really have much insight into the single player options or other multiplayer modes and customization, but if I was to base the game solely on its gameplay it would be a confident yes from me. Its fun, its silly, its challenging and most importantly its the kind of game that can keep a bunch of friends on a couch entertained for hours and we really need more games that can do that. Given the choice I would but the game on PS3 over Vita, but if the PS3 version keeps me addicted I will no doubt want to play it on a the go too. It is pretty much a Smash Bros clone at its core, but we all knew that anyway and if getting another Smash Bros experience is a problem well then go live in your anti-fun hole.
Playstaion All-Stars Battle Royal releases on both Playstation 3 and Vita on November 23rd.