It’s easy to see why the Smash Brothers games are so successful. Take an assortment of beloved characters from across multiple franchises, place them in one star-studded game where they’re forced to compete against one another and you have a bonafide hit on your hands! The mere prospect of a videogame starring Mario, Link and Samus was literally a dream come true for many gamers and thankfully that dream was elegantly realized. After many failed attempts to capture Nintendo’s lightning in a bottle, it was only a matter of time before a true competitor would emerge. And with Playstation Allstars Battle Royale, Sony has boldly thrown down the gauntlet.
There aren’t many franchises that hold the same cachet as Mario, Zelda or Pokemon but if you find Kratos to be more appealing than Pikachu, Battle Royale just might be the game for you. The developers at SuperBot Entertainment have made no attempt to disguise the fact that Battle Royale is a Smash Bros clone. Both games look, feel and control the same although Battle Royale introduces a few new gameplay systems to distinguish the two. Although Battle Royale lacks Smash Bros’ star power, it’s impossible to downplay the importance of some of the combatants found on the game’s 20-strong roster. The likes of Kratos, Nathan Drake, Ratchet, Sackboy and PaRappa Da Rapper are all legendary characters who helped to make Playstation the global brand that it is today.
[tabgroup][tab title=”Big Daddy”]
Genetically programmed to search for the ADAM essential to the social fabric of their undersea city, Little Sisters roam through the portals and tunnels of Rapture. Because the substance they extract from the recently fallen is so precious, the girls are accompanied at all times by their fearsome, diving suit-clad protectors, the Big Daddies. Armed with a deadly drill, possessed of incredible strength, and capable of quick bursts of speed, the Big Daddies guard their charges jealously, making all who attempt to harm a Little Sister wish they hadn’t.
THE LEGACY OF BIG DADDY:
[tab title=”Cole MacGrath”]
Cole MacGrath went from being a simple bike messenger to the saviour of Empire City. Given powers from an exploding Ray Sphere, Cole has the ability to store, control, and unleash electricity in a variety of powerful ways. The electricity running through his body gives Cole enhanced strength, agility, durability and reflexes as well as a fast healing factor. On the path of good, Cole is a selfless hero who uses his powers to battle evil and injustice throughout the city.
THE LEGACY OF COLE MACGRATH:
inFamous™: Festival of Blood
[tab title=”Colonel Mael Radec”]
Colonel Mael Radec is a brilliant tactician who leads his troops from the front. His unwavering focus on victory at any cost has made the conquest of Helghan a formidable task for the ISA. He brings that same ruthlessness to personal combat, where he is the personification of a shark, all of his training focused to a singular purpose: the destruction of his enemy.
THE LEGACY OF COLONEL RADEC:
Inhabiting both the mortal and demon worlds, Dante harnesses extraordinary powers granted by his demonic heritage to battle supernatural forces which threaten mankind. As stylish as he is dangerous, Dante uses a plethora of weapons, including his twin handguns, “Ebony and Ivory,” as well as his sword, “Rebellion,” to dispatch his foes.
THE LEGACY OF DANTE:
Devil May Cry™
Devil May Cry™ 2
Devil May Cry™ 3: Dante’s Awakening
Devil May Cry™ 4
DmC: Devil May Cry™ (2013)
[tab title=”Evil Cole MacGrath”]
Granted dangerous new abilities by the Ray Sphere, Cole is consumed by a thirst for more power, however it can be gained. His remorseless and single-minded path shapes his powers toward the sinister and destructive, turning him into a shell of his former self. Indeed, his increase in power comes at a cost to his opponents, as he sucks the life out of others to heal himself more quickly.
THE LEGACY OF EVIL COLE MACGRATH:
inFamous™: Festival of Blood
[tab title=”Fat Princess”]
Don’t let her sweet, bubbly exterior fool you. When the Fat Princess puts her mind to something, look out! Whether it’s tracking down every piece of cake in all the kingdoms of the land, or laying the smack down on some trash-talking rival, this royal cutie is an irresistable force of nature. The Fat Princess and her royal bodyguards first appeared in 2009 in the self-titled PS3 PSN game Fat Princess.
THE LEGACY OF FAT PRINCESS:
Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake
[tab title=”Heihachi Mishima”]
Heihachi is the head of the Mishima Zaibatsu and responsible for the King of Iron Fist Tournament, attended only by the strongest fighters around the world. A master of Mishima Style Fighting Karate, Heihachi seems to be able to rejuvenate himself, displaying a remarkable agility and strength which defies his true age. His pet bear, Kuma, joins him in battle, adding to the already formidable challenge he presents opponents.
THE LEGACY OF HEIHACHI MISHIMA:
Tekken™ Tag Tournament
Tekken™ Tag Tournament 2
[tab title=”Jak & Daxter”]
Lifelong best friends with a knack for getting themselves into and out of trouble, Jak and Daxter may not always agree on which of them is the true hero and which is the sidekick, but they know how to work together to defeat all threats to their planet. Jak’s ability to manipulate Eco, the life force of their planet, combines with the duo’s skill with gadgets, guns, and vehicles to make short work of those who wish them harm.
THE LEGACY OF JAK AND DAXTER:
Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy®
Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier™
Jak and Daxter: Jak X Combat Racing™
Once the leader of the mighty Spartan army, Kratos has wrenched his fate free from the gods who used him as their servant, swearing to see their reign ended. Known for a brutal approach to combat, he will let nothing stand between him and his quest to find and destroy whoever has gathered the combatants in Battle Royale.
THE LEGACY OF KRATOS:
God of War®: Ghost of Sparta
God of War®
God of War® II
God of War® lll
God of War®: Ascension
God of War®: Betrayal
God of War®: Chains of Olympus
Nariko’s birth was meant to serve as the arrival of the savior of her clan, the one who could wield the legendary Heavenly Sword, a fate orginally foretold of a male. Despite her people’s rejection, her father raised her to be a headstrong and fearless fighter. Joined with the legendary blade, she finds her skills, and her enemies’ peril, amplified to heights undreamed of.
THE LEGACY OF NARIKO:
Smash Bros is all about ring-outing your opponents whereas in Battle Royale, the only way to defeat your rivals is by utilizing Super attacks. During bouts, each successful attack you land contributes towards filling up your AP meter. Once your AP meter is full you’ll be given the opportunity to dish out a Super attack to instantly dispose of anyone in your path. Each character has three unique levels of Super attacks, each of which is more devastating than the last. By holding on to your Level 1 Super you can work towards earning a Level 2 or eventually a Level 3 alternative. Level 2 Supers generally allow you to take out multiple opponents at once, while Level 3 Supers are much flashier and (if used correctly) are almost guaranteed to change the outcome of a match. This adds an exciting risk/reward element to each bout and ensures that strategic planning will always take precedence over mindless button mashing.
Each character can also perform combos, throws, blocks, evasive manoeuvres and basic attacks which draw inspiration from their respective titles. So Ratchet has an assortment of gadgets, Kratos swings his Blades of Chaos, Cole electrocutes, Sackboy spawns items from his popit menu and… well, you get the point! The uniqueness of each character is one of the coolest things about Battle Royale and makes the prospect of DLC very appealing. Another extremely cool thing about Battle Royale are the arenas which fuse two different Playstation franchises together to form one interactive battlefield. Witnessing Hades’ satanic structure become overrun by cutesy Patapon is hilarious, as is looking on as a giant Metal Gear literally shatters the LocoRoco Universe! Moments like this enhance the feeling that Battle Royale is a heartfelt love letter to all things Playstation.
In terms of modes, Royale doesn’t offer anything beyond what you’d expect from a fighting game. There’s a standard arcade mode, an on or offline versus mode, challenges, training, tutorials and a tournament mode for online play. If you were expecting the SuperBot to manufacture a gripping storyline that neatly ties all of the game’s universes together then prepare for disappointment. The game’s arcade mode is a completely lacklustre and forgettable affair that simply isn’t worth your time investment. Each character has their own motivations but it’s usually paper thin and doesn’t explain why Playstation heroes are suddenly brawling with other purveyors of justice. Unlike Smash Bros, Royale doesn’t introduce any mini-games or creative stipulations to prevent the arcade mode from becoming stale. Instead you just fight, and fight some more until you eventually reach the game’s anticlimactic boss encounter. The fact that are no additional characters to unlock and the still-image cutscenes are generally uninteresting means you have very little incentive to ever complete this mode more than once or twice. If you fancy playing alone you should probably just play a few Versus games against AI opponents instead.
[tabgroup][tab title=”Nathan Drake”]
A fortune seeker who claims to be a descendant of Sir Francis Drake, Nathan’s adventures have taken him from the jungles of Borneo to the snowy peaks of Nepal in search of the hidden treasures of the ancient world. A resourceful combatant, Drake has proved adept both in the use of weapons and in hand-to-hand combat, skills which have aided him immeasurably in overcoming those who would prevent him reaching his prize.
THE LEGACY OF NATHAN DRAKE:
Uncharted 2: Among Theives™
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception™
Uncharted: Golden Abyss™
[tab title=”Parappa The Rapper”]
With his trademark red cap and ever-present microphone, PaRappa entertains crowds the world over with his freestyle rapping and skateboarding prowess. Trained by Chop Chop Master Onion, PaRappa is as formidable in combat as he is on stage, bringing all of his talents to bear, the most important of which is his indomitable belief in himself.
THE LEGACY OF PARAPPA:
PaRappa the Rapper®
PaRappa the Rapper® 2
Trained for combat at an early age, Raiden is a former member of the FOXHOUND special forces. He has been outfitted with a cybernetic exoskeleton and prosthetic limbs to increase his prowess in battle. Though trained to be effective with all types of weaponry, Raiden is particularly adept at wielding swords which resonate at high frequencies, cutting through enemies with surgical precision.
THE LEGACY OF RAIDEN:
Metal Gear Solid® 2: Sons of Liberty
Metal Gear Solid® 2: Substance
Metal Gear Solid® 3: Subsistence
Metal Gear Solid®: Portable Ops Plus
Metal Gear Solid® 4: Guns of the Patriots
Metal Gear® Arcade
Metal Gear Rising™
[tab title=”Ratchet & Clank”]
Armed with a seemingly endless arsenal of spectacularly bizarre and outlandish weapons and gadgets, this mechanic and his robotic companion have found themselves saving the universe from a myriad of threats, across both space and time. Their friendship forged over years of adventuring, they have learned to work extremely efficiently together, overwhelming opponents via both cunning and skill.
THE LEGACY OF RATCHET AND CLANK:
Ratchet & Clank®
Ratchet & Clank®: Going Commando
Ratchet & Clank®: Up Your Arsenal
Ratchet & Clank® Size Matters
Secret Agent Clank®
Ratchet & Clank® Future: Tools of Destruction
Ratchet & Clank® Future: Quest for Booty
Ratchet & Clank® Future: A Crack in Time
Ratchet & Clank®: All 4 One
Ratchet & Clank®: Full Frontal Assault
A small creature made of fabric, and imbued with the power to create, Sackboy inhabits the world of LittleBigPlanet. Using his mysterious PopIt, Sackboy can imagine objects into being, which aid him in any dangerous situation. Able to reshape the environment around him, Sackboy can present enemies with an ever-shifting array of obstacles to deal with, while forcing them to dodge his Cakinator and Grabinator attacks.
THE LEGACY OF SACK BOY:
Sackboy’s Prehistoric Moves
LittleBigPlanet™ PS Vita
[tab title=”Sir Daniel Fortesque”]
A coward whose celebration as a hero was unearned, Sir Dan has been given a chance to redeem himself, proving in combat he is worthy of his knighthood. He fights on behalf of his beloved homeland, Gallowmere, his oath to protect her intact despite her citizens’ somewhat waning interest in gallantry.
THE LEGACY OF SIR DANIEL FORTESQUE:
[tab title=”Sly Cooper”]
Descended from a line of thieves which stretches back centuries, Sly continues the family tradition with grace and style. With the help of his friends Bentley and Murray, the raccoon has infiltrated even the most heavily fortified locations while making away with treasures thought impossible to steal. Favoring stealth, reconnaissance, and cunning over brute strength, Sly and the Cooper Gang always stay two steps ahead of opponents.
THE LEGACY OF SLY COOPER:
Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus™
Sly 2: Band of Thieves™
Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves™
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time™
A young and energetic fourth-grader, Spike is accidentally sucked into a time machine by the hands of Specter, an ape granted uncanny intelligence through the use of an experimental cap. Spike embarks on a quest to stop Specter and his ape army, thwarting them using a variety of weapons, tools, and gadgets provided by his friend the Professor, including clubs, slingshots, an RC Satellite Laser, and Bananarang.
THE LEGACY OF SPIKE:
Ape Escape™ Pumped and Primed
Ape Escape™ Million Monkeys
Ape Escape™: SaruSaru Big Mission
[tab title=”Sweet Tooth”]
Marcus Kane had it all – big house, beautiful family, great job serving ice cream to the neighborhood kids. Then something went wrong. Very wrong. When he donned the mask and became Sweet Tooth, there was no going back. Now he carves a path of destruction and desolation, whether in his legendary ice cream truck or on foot. Violence is what he craves, wherever it can be found, and whomever it can be inflicted upon.
THE LEGACY OF SWEET TOOTH:
Twisted Metal™ 2
Twisted Metal™ III
Twisted Metal™ 4
Twisted Metal: Black®
Twisted Metal™ (2012)
[tab title=”Toro Inoue”]
Adopted by a kindly sushi store owner, this once-abandoned cat is on a quest to become more human. Toro has the ability to assume any of a variety of roles instantly, adapting as the situation requires. An unabashed fan of games, Toro is thrilled to finally meet so many of his heroes.
THE LEGACY OF TORO INOUE:
Doko Demo Issyo™
As with most fighting games, multiplayer is where Battle Royale truly shines. Whether you’re playing locally or via the interwebs, you’re almost certain to have a good time. During my pre-launch online sessions I did struggle to find random matches but playing against friends and other journalists proved to be a lag-free and enjoyable experience. Superbot has also stated that they will be using data from online matches to ensure that characters are well balanced and players aren’t able to rely on exploits or glitches. Matches can be customised in numerous ways, allowing you to choose either a time, stock or kill limit. In the time-based mode, each kill grants you 2 points while each death subtracts a point from your tally. The player with the highest score once the clock reaches zero is the winner. Stock limit gives each player a selected number of lives in an elimination brawl and Kill limit awards victory to the player who can earn a certain number of kills the fastest. Each match type can be played as part of a Free For All or a Team battle with up to 4 players in total.
Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale is available on the both the Playstation 3 and the Playstation Vita. Both versions of the game are completely identical and are equally stunning visually. The audio team at Superbot deserve a huge pat on the back for providing some exceptionally good music to get you get pumped up for a fight! The game also features the original voice talents for most of the cast although you won’t be hearing them talk much outside of the arcade mode which is a bummer!
For this review I played the game solely on the Vita and never came across any framerate drips or other technical issues. As Battle Royale is part of Sony’s Cross-Buy promotion, buying the game on the PS3 grants you full access to the Vita version, saving you a grand total of $40! Sony have stated that save data, stats and trophies will carry over from one version to the other although I was unable to test this out for myself in time for the review. I’ll provide an update on this as soon as I can.
This review was based on a retail download copy of the game for the PlayStation Vita provided by Sony.