PS3 Review: Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale

Kratos Punch! Sackboy Slam!

Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale is the first collection of all Sony’s mascots duking it out arcade-style, but can it give Smash Bros a run for its money? Well, the game has all the right ingredients including a roster of impressive characters like Sackboy, Kratos, Nathan Drake, Fat Princess, Raiden, PaRappa the Rapper, Ratchet and Clank and two versions of Cole MacGrath to name a few, additional characters and levels will be added via DLC.

So how does Battle Royale work? Does it play like Smash Bros? Well it does slightly, but it doesn’t quite follow the same rules. For instance, there are only a few areas where you can knock enemies off the levels, damage isn’t sustained but instead hits made will raise a meter that will activate a super move to get kills once activated, providing you make contact with the target or targets. If you are lucky you can clear all 3 other opponents at once.

The super move has 3 levels for it to advance for one that gives the player their own signature finishing move, for instance Raiden will transform all enemies into MGS cardboard boxes and finding the characters in them will kill them. The real disappointing has to be the Arcade mode which has little emphasis on story and only tells it through dodgy slideshows and a cutscene near the end, it’s just not engaging at all and feels like a missed opportunity.

That pretty much sums up Battle Royale, really. It has all the tools like great characters, imaginative levels and some decent weapons, but the way the game is structured isn’t that great. Why you can’t simply kick and punch enemies off ledges is a mystery, the combat is more detailed than Smash Bros with plenty of combos to master, but actually getting the chance to implement them is hard if not impossible due to the fast nature of the fights. It tries not to be like Smash Bros and it ultimately hurts it because of it, it would have been better if they just matched it in terms of combat quality which sadly, it doesn’t.

Not to say it’s all bad, playing online is a blast with 3 others and I experienced very little lag or dropouts, you can adjust rules and pick maps but you can’t replay the same players once a match is finished, which is annoying. The game also has leaderboard support for those competitive enough, but besides that the amount of content is a bit on the thin side, sure there are some great levels and decent line-up of characters, but besides online and arcade mode, there’s nothing really worth trying. There are no mini-games of any kind, but maybe they’ll add something special via DLC. Who knows?

Visually, Battle Royale looks good. The character models are high quality and match their counterparts, the on-screen action can be a bit jarring sometimes though and seeing a badass like Raiden fighting someone like Fat Princess just looks wrong. The music borrows its cues from the franchises and is good overall.

The Verdict

Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale isn’t quite the Smash Bros contender that I hoped it would be, instead it falls short with the way the fights are designed and the Arcade mode is a disappointment. It’s still a good fighter and will get better with more DLC; it’s just a shame that even with the right parts, the game falls short of its true potential.