Hands-On With Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale

The Final Game?

Even though we were only able to play 6 characters in three different arenas, enough clues were dropped to suggest how the final game might look. Each character debuted in the preview seemed specifically chosen to showcase the diversity of what the final game will offer, and the fact that they weren’t all simply A-list IP indicates exciting things. Fat Princess is one of the all time great PSN downloads, but no one will convince me she’s iconic on the same level with Kratos. Yet she was put to hilarious use. What I’m getting at is that it’s likely SuperBot is going to be digging DEEP into the PlayStation archives, and I think the levels we previewed give some hints as to what that means.

In particular, the level set on Metropolis featured Captain Quark, along with the usual hilarity courtesy of his voice actor, Jim Ward. It seems they simply repurposed some of Ward’s dialogue from the Ratchet and Clank series (“have qwarktastic day!”) rather than bringing him in for new work, but the level of detail on the level was spectacular. It is exactly as Metropolis appears at the beginning of every R&C game in which the planet appears, and during your battle, the city receives the kind of damage you’re used to, assuming you love Ratchet and Clank like you should. My guess is that we can definitely expect Ratchet (with Clank as one of his Super Attacks).

Similarly, the level set in LittleBigPlanet offers similar clues. SuperBot has done a remarkable job bringing the aesthetic of the LBP series to a fighting game, and it seems ridiculous that we won’t see Sackboy as a playable (and, hopefully, customizable) character in the final game. My point: pick from your favorite Playstation franchises and expect to see them represented handily.

The Final Judgment

What I saw was quite limited – 3 levels, 6 characters – so it’s not entirely fair to level criticism at this point. Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale is easy to play, looks great and has plenty of fan service. But it’s busy. I found myself getting distracted by all the things happening in the background and losing track of where my character was in the fight. It also isn’t the most original concept, since it’s essentially Sony riffing off of Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros., but they’ve taken it in some interesting directions. If the final game lives up to the promise of this preview, if you like fighting games, particularly those that lean decidedly goofy, and if you’re a Playstation fan, this is probably going to be one of the last must-own games of the PlayStation 3′s life. If you find yourself annoyed by constant bright lights and frenetic motion, you might not. Personally, I can’t wait to see it when it’s more complete.

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