Remember claymation TV show Celebrity Deathmatch? The uber-violent comedy series ran for almost a decade and put unrelated famous personalities into a ring to fight to a gruesome death. It was far more light hearted than it sounds and proved massively popular for MTV. Its attraction was the completely mismatched bouts – a fight that would never really happen – and the copious quantities of blood, gore and gratuitous fatalities.
Probably the best example of a game that managed to capture the light-hearted and thoroughly entertaining nature of the TV show was Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros, which debuted on the N64 about the same time in 1999. It’s evolved since and had numerous editions – culminating in the critically acclaimed Super Smash Bros Brawl on the Wii. Well, now it’s PlayStation’s turn.
It’s been a long wait but PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is finally here for the PS3 and Vita. Echoing the mechanics of Nintendo’s series, it puts around 20 (largely) iconic characters into a melting pot and lets you decide which of them to pit head to head in a fight to the death. Critics have been divided over the release, some claiming it’s lacking in presentation and content, others praising its fighting mechanic and complexity. Personally, I love being able to have Nathan Drake facing up to Sir Daniel Fortesque or Big Daddy taking on paper-thin PaRappa – all with their unique weaponry and against a myriad dynamic backgrounds.
Forget the diverse range of review scores, however – here are five good reasons why All-Stars Battle Royale is well worth a buy:
A mash up like this is something us PlayStation fans have dreamt of. Who wouldn’t want to see which of these classic characters would come out on top in an almighty ruckus? Could the miniscule Sackboy really trounce baldy Kratos? Here’s the list of pugilists: Big Daddy, Cole MacGrath, Evil Cole MacGrath, Colonel Radec, Dante, Fat Princess, Heihachi Mishima, Jak and Daxter, Kratos, Nariko, Nathan Drake, PaRappa the Rapper, Raiden, Ratchet and Clank, Sackboy, Sir Daniel Fortesque, Sly Cooper, Spike, Sweet Tooth and Toro. It’s a fairly decent cast, I’m sure you’ll agree – although some of the big names are missing, at least for now (see below). But what a great starting point!
DIFFERENT TO OTHER FIGHTERS
As a rule, us gamers fear change – that’s why there are so many sequels and updates each year. But forgive the fact that Battle Royale does away with the conventional rules of fighting games and you’ll have a blast. There’s no health bar here… just a super meter you have to build up to unleash a powerful attack. Score a few hits and rack up a few kills and you’ll emerge the victor. It makes you think differently about how you play – there’s no real need to be defensive and cautious… you can afford to dive straight in and attack right from the off. This clever mechanic ensures every battle is fast paced, frantic and fun!
CROSS PLATFORM PLAY
Now this is the very definition of value for money and an absolutely amazing feat. Buy the PS3 version and you get a download code to also play the game on your Vita. Being able to take on allcomers whether they’re on their PS3 or your handheld is a fantastic idea. Add the fact that the leaderboards are linked and you can access the game from both platforms out of the box, and this is definitely something I think all future releases should offer. For once, gamers aren’t having to pay out even more money for additional content; finally we get something for free.
LOCAL MULTIPLAYER AND ONLINE GAMEPLAY
Being able to unite four players from your couch is great fun and reminiscent of the good old days of gaming. Local play is an option that is sorely lacking from many of today’s releases but Battle Royale is hugely entertaining when smashing your friends to pieces. The panning of the screen and zooming in and out to accommodate movement and attacks works really well – it’s a real spectacle, and good looking too. Online matchups certainly ramp the fun up another notch and makes this a brilliant party game. Even if your skills are lacking with fighting games and you haven’t yet mastered the surprisingly complex controls, odds are you’ll at least be able to defeat a few opponents online.
If ever there was a game that begged for downloadable content, then this is it! Some reviewers have been left a little dismayed by the lack of playable characters and, for that matter, the selection of those who did make it into the roster. There are plenty of Sony and third party characters that would be welcomed by PlayStation fans! Where’s Crash Bandicoot, Solid Snake or Jersey Devil? What about Gex, Spyro or Ico? And where are the Chimera and Helghast??? This is a game that has potentially has plenty of longevity…