PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
Developer: SuperBot Entertainment
Publisher: SCEE
Release Date: Out Now
Players/Online features: 1-4 players offline and online.
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PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale isn’t exactly a new idea (Super Mario Allstars) but it’s the first time such a diverse cast of characters has been brought together to find out who’s the toughest. Characters include Kratos (from God of War), Parappa The Rapper, Sweet Tooth (Twisted Metal), Fat Princess (from the PSN game), Radec (Killzone), Nathan Drake (Uncharted), Sly Cooper, Ratchet (Ratchet & Clank), Spike (Ape Escape), Cole and evil Cole (inFamous), Jak (Jak and Daxter), Sir Daniel (Medieval), Toro (a cat-like Sony mascot), Big Daddy (Bioshock), Dante (the most recent version from Devil May Cry), Nariko (Heavenly Sword), Heihachi (Tekken), Raiden (Metal Gear), Sackboy (LittleBigPlanet) – and you can bet your patootie that more will follow as premium downloads.

Game options are: Solo Play (includes Arcade mode, Combat Trials, Practice Mode and a handy Tutorial), Tournament (online, ranked and unranked matches) and Versus Matches (play matches versus friends or AI with optional co-op gameplay.) Online the game plays well, the colourful graphics are relatively simple so the instances of lag are minimal, and as anyone who’s ever played a fighting game online will tel you, lag is a real game killer.

Each match starts with a static screen intro, which kind of tries to explain why your character's up for a punch-up with such a contrasting gang of characters-and fails. Then they appear in whatever arena the game randomly chooses. Some arenas are simple flat 2-D areas, some expand as the bout goes on and others have various levels and platforms you can jump up to. Special items appear during bouts (like RPGs!), and these can be picked up with R1 and fired/used with a quick press of any of the action buttons. There’s a weird and wonderful mash-up going on throughout the game so you never know what's likely to appear in the background of the arena that you're fighting on, or how it may affect the bout. The game’s styles and characters are so varied that they don’t always sit easily side by side, and they don’t get much weirder than when the realistic character models of Cole MacGrath from InFamous and Nathan Drake from Uncharted fight at Parappa The Rapper’s cartoony 2-D dojo, which then gets attacked by one of the monstrous walking tanks from Ratchet & Clank...

As you'd expect. You move your character with the left stick, jump and double-jump with ‘X’, and basic attacks can be performed with square, circle or triangle. Each action in conjunction with an attack button performs a unique attack, and you can throw enemies up, down, left or right by moving the right stick in that direction when you're close to them. Blocking and air dodging can be done by jumping and pressing ‘L1’. Simply hitting opponents builds your AP (attack points) meter. Once full you can spend your AP on super attacks, which will kill your opponents outright if deployed correctly. Super attacks can also be rolled over up to level 3 to unleash an even more damaging attack, although this is only really worth doing on the highest difficulty setting, where the enemies are tougher. The characters react well to inputs and fights are absorbing and fun due to the fact that they rarely seem to pan out the same way.

Other options allow you to customise your profile, choose your default character, change the background icons, your FFA title, team title and choose which minions you want, with more unlocking as you play more.

Sony’s Cross – Buy offer means you get a “Disc Benefits” icon appear beneath the game’s icon on the XMB which directs you to a downloadable PS Vita version of the game, which is a nice bonus if you’re a PS Vita owner.

With many open world games now feature fighting in-game or in sub games and other fighting games contain roaming game mechanics, a dedicated 2D beat ‘em up may seem a bit old school, and to be honest, even with new characters like Nathan Drake and Dante the game does feel like it’s from a different age. However, while it doesn’t do anything radically new and it’s unlikely that PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale will top the charts, it’s a polished, fun and varied beat ‘em up, and wouldn’t be a bad entry point to enter the genre if you’re new to it and fancy a dabble.

Best Bits

- Loads of your favourite PS characters.
- Varied battles and plenty of surprises.
- 2D gameplay keeps things simple.
- Co-op and versus gameplay.
- Excellent for party play and online.
Worst Bits

- It’s 2D for good and bad.
- Dedicated beat ‘em ups feel so ‘old’ these days.

by: Diddly

Copyright © Gamecell 2013