Sam takes a look at the new Playstation 3 fighting game by SuperBot Entertainment (a new indie developer formed in 2009 by Sony) and SCE Santa Monica Studio (the company which is most known for creating the God of War series) which has your favorite characters from your favorite games. The beta went public several days ago and gameplay videos have started surfacing on the internet. Sam watched these videos and will let you know if “PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale” is all show and no substance, or if the game really has what it takes to stand with the likes of its cousin, “Super Smash Bros.”
“PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale” (PSASBR) looks like a very fun game to play. I don’t want to sound simple, but that’s the impression I get from the game. It looks like a fun party brawler without too much of an emphasis on combos. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get a hold of a beta key, but there is a great video online that showcases all of the playable characters in the beta and how the game plays. Anyone who had a Nintendo system from the N64 and on will quickly notice the similarities between “PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale” and the classic party brawler, “Super Smash Bros.”. But while the gameplay looks similar, the overall mechanics and ways to win are entirely different.
In “Super Smash Bros.” (and “Melee” and “Brawl”) your character doesn’t have a health bar. Instead your character has a finite number of lives (unless it’s a timed match where you have infinite lives and have to score kills to win) and you have 0% when you start. As you take more damage your percentage rises. Eventually as you take damage and your percentages get above 150, pretty much any hit knocks you back pretty heavily. When you get around 300 percent, if someone even gives you a dirty look you get sent reeling back off the map. So the name of the game is to knock everyone off the side of the map and then to make sure they stay off the map so they can fall to their doom. That style of vitality and getting a kill is drastically different than PSASBR, and it’s that fundamental difference that has my interest piqued.
In PSASBR, your character has no health and no way for you to get knocked off the map. The way a player gets killed is by performing a level 1, 2, or 3 Super attack. But to perform your super you have to build meter for your specials to become available for beating down your opponents. Sounds simple enough, but meter builds slowly, and with the emphasis on getting your supers online as quickly as possible to score kills, it gives the game a much faster pace and makes players focus on getting in the fight instead of camping off to the side to try and pick off weak kills.
The playable characters from the beta are Kratos, PaRappa, Fat Princess, Sly Cooper, Colonel Radec, and Sweet Tooth, which is a pretty good band of rogues as far as I’m concerned. Each character has a unique playstyle which feels very fresh compared to how often Nintendo would double up play styles of their characters (think Ryu and Ken) in “Super Smash Bros.” On top of that, no player really seems that imbalanced yet. However, this is just a beta so it’s very possible tier lists will emerge once the game releases with its full lineup.. The unique choice of characters and the unique ways they each get their kills seem fresh, fun and flavorful. And while the game may have a cool cast of characters, the game would fail miserably if its gameplay was as stale as day old popcorn. But from what I’ve seen so far, it looks like there is some real depth to the game.
In all honesty though, while playing the game looks like fun, the maps themselves really steal the show. While I was watching game-play, I often found myself just watching what was happening on the level instead of what the characters were doing. This might be more of a personal opinion, but some of the most reminiscent parts of a video game are its levels/maps. I mean, I still remember the antics me and my friends pulled in “Halo” when we played on Blood Gulch. In “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City”, I still remember my favorite cities to drive around in. For the love of god people, all I have to say is ‘de_dust’ and you instantly know what game I’m talking about. (Well, if you’re reading this article you should at least know what game it’s from.) In PSASBR, most of the maps are active and change their layout as the match goes on. While active landscapes in maps aren’t something “Super Smash Bros.” skipped on, SuperBot Entertainment really utilized it to its fullest potential. In one map that’s based off of “Little Big Planet”, you fight for victory while a virtual player (who would be playing LBP) is adding objects, platforms and other things to change the layout of the map. It’s things like this that really make me think that SuperBot is trying very hard to make sure that they’re making a game to compete with SSB’s unique style of fighter, and not just a clone of the series.
The game was set to release in North America on October 23rd, but SuperBot Entertainment pushed the date back to November 20th of this year since “this will let us spend more time polishing and tuning the game”. Sure, it sucks that we can’t get this game as soon as we thought we would, but it really encourages me to buy the game knowing the developer has the balls to say they’re not happy with the product they would release in October and pushing back the date as opposed to just releasing it and letting a patch (or the dreaded paid-DLC) fix the balancing issues or bugs that I’m sure they’re dealing with right now. And while I’m excited that the developer really seems like they’re trying to stand out from the crowd, I still have yet to see any aspects of the game (besides getting kills) that really separate it from the game that everyone will compare it to, “Super Smash Bros. Melee”. (I guarantee you it will be ‘Melee’ since that was the best. Screw ‘Brawl’.) So until I get my hands on the beta, or better yet, the finished product, I’m still on the fence on whether or not I call this game a Super Smash Bros. ripoff. But trust me; I want this game to be a unique foray into the style of fighting games that Hal Laboratory created.
Sam Accardo is a writer for HefferBrew. Super Smash Bros. Melee is one of his favorite games and it was the first fighting game he ever played competitively. He is looking forward to Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale, but more importantly, he is looking forward to throwing down against people as the Big Daddy. Follow his antics on twitter @samcar455