Since it’s announcement in April 2012, Sony PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale has been met with constant derision from multitudes of gamers for having clearly drawn it’s inspiration from a certain other four-player fighting game. Well, I’ve played it and I’m here to set the record straight.
I don’t want to spend the whole review comparing All-Stars to it’s counter-parts so I’m going to judge it all on it’s own merits and determine whether the game can stand up on it’s own. All-Stars is a 2D, two to four-player fighting game developed by SuperBot. There is a total of twenty characters out of the box in All-Stars, all unlocked from the moment you put the disc in, and it’s a fairly eclectic cast of characters with some very well known Sony faces and some not so well known faces.
The aim of the game is to beat up your opponents to build your three-tiered super meter so that you can then unleash it to knock out opponents. The game is quite unique in the fact that there are no life bars. The only way to kill your opponent is to hit them with a super attack. I think this is a fine way to handle it but it can be a bit confusing trying to get used to and it can lead to some overly lengthy fights if you play kill count or stock battle.
There are fourteen stages in all, not including the various practise and training stages. All of which combine two featured franchises into an amalgam of pure chaos. They all have special hazards featured within them to add a little extra to the game and while they are neat, I found myself turning them off after some time as they became more of a hassle than I preferred. I found all of the stages to be serviceable. None of them really stood out to me other than perhaps the Uncharted stage which takes place in the cargo hold on a plane with some excellent Uncharted music too.
The single-player is a mixed bag. There’s an arcade mode, which involves choosing a character and then fighting a variety of battles culminating in a rival battle and then a boss fight. The final boss is actually the best part of the arcade mode, it’s a really cool PlayStation throwback that I’ll let you discover for yourself if you don’t already know. The mode is bookended by stories for each character but it’s just a batch of still images grouped together and narrated by the chosen character. They are of a poor quality and even the voice-actors seem to not really care about what they’re involved in.
Also included are various trial modes for each character which involve you learning combos for the characters or participating in a number of challenges mostly to help you learn the game and characters. The combo trials are really cool and can help you get a hang of the basics of each character but the challenges are boring and each character features the same twenty-three challenges.
If you’re interested in buying All-Stars though, it’s probably not the single-player that you’re looking for. The multi-player is where the game really gets to shine. In four-player it just feels like total chaos, in a good way, and is a great deal of fun. It also holds up very well in two or three player battles, which was a nice surprise to me.
The online was almost lagless in my time with it. I rarely experienced any latency problems and found the matchmaking to be fast and effective. Although I’ve heard of other people having a few issues with the service so your mileage may vary.
One super neat thing about All-Stars is that it features cross-play between the PS3 and Vita versions and even better than that, if you purchase the PS3 version then you get a free copy of the Vita version with it. So it’s a real no-brainer if you’re not sure which version to get and you own both platforms.
All-Stars is a very well put together product and although your time with the single-player will be short, if you get a few friends round or really get into the online then All-Stars is a whole lot of fun.
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