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December 17, 2012
Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale - PS3 Review
Release Distributer Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
Media HDD Install Resolution Move Controls Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Battles in PS All-Stars Battle Royale are 4-player.
There's no denying that this game, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is Sony's attempt to latch onto Nintendo's 23- million selling Super Smash Bros. franchise. With Superbot handling development duties on this game the party based brawler sees many of Sony's biggest game characters, as well as several from other companies including Raiden from Konami and 2K's Big Daddy, battling it out to be the champion.

As you're likely aware Battle Royale (for short) is is a brawler for up to 4-players battling it out (either online or offline) within one of the fifteen stages on offer. Even these stages are based on the games, such as Dreamscape from LittleBigPlanet, Columbia from Bioshock, Hades from God of War, or Paris from Sly Cooper, while each stage is also being attacked from an invader who can also affect the gameplay. Indeed the way in which these stages are being invaded by characters or bosses from other games is one of the highlights of Battle Royale.

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Action in the PaRappa stage.
As we stated in our preview for this game there isn't much of a story - well, ok, each character has a storyline, told though a series of still images and narration in the Arcade Mode under the Solo Play Menu, but it's no literary masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination. Also under the Solo Play menu is the Combat Trials, Practice Mode and Tutorial, each of which is definitely worth your time to get to grips with the gameplay. A Tournament mode allows for Ranked or Quick Matches while Versus allows 2 or more players on a console to battle. Beyond that the developers have thrown in some nice customisation including Backgrounds, Icons, Minion to cheer you on in battles, Character Costumes, Taunts, Intro, Outro and Victory Music.

As a fighting game your character can perform a variety of attacks using the square, triangle and circle buttons with X used to jump (and double jumping is possible/essential) and each character also able block attacks. As a fighting game, and whether you're playing online or offline, this is a very slick experience. While battling each stage also includes various items and power-ups for characters to use. Using the normal attacks does nothing to help you win the match as you need to use these normal attacks to build up a Super Attack meter. With three power levels, activating these Super Attacks allows you to kill the opposition, and score points. It's the person that accumulates the highest score from these points that is deemed the winner...

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Battles take place in a variety of locations.
With the game proclaiming to be "All Stars" it needs to ensure a good line-up of characters, and this game does just that with characters including Cole MacGrath and Evil Cole MacGrath (inFamous), Nariko (Heavenly Sword) Jak and Daxter (Jak & Daxter), Ratchet and Clank (Ratchet & Clank), Sackboy (LittleBigPlanet), Spike (Ape Escape), Heihachi Mishima (Tekken), Toro Inoue (Japanese Sony Cat), Kratos (God of War), PaRappa (PaRappa the Rappa), Fat Princess (Fat Princess), Colonel Radec (Killzone), Sir Daniel Fortesque (MediEvil), Big Daddy (Bioshock), Nathan Drake (Uncharted), Dante (Devil May Cry), Sweet Tooth (Twisted Metal), Raiden (Metal Gear) and Sly Cooper (Sly Cooper).

Looking to the future and it has been confirmed that Emmett Graves from Starhawk and Kat from Gravity Rush will be available as DLC in early 2013 - we're unsure if they will be free, or incur a small charge.

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Graphically this game is very impressive.
We do have some issues with the game though, the primary one being how you actually score and win matches. You can chip away at the opposition landing attack after attack, but if you miss in the Super Attack your entire battle could be for nothing. It seems somewhat unfair as, just like soccer really, it's often luck that can determine the winner. While many of the attacks and Special Attacks are spectacular to perform, some things such as Nathan Drake pulling barrels from nowhere looks rather stupid.

In terms of characters, while the list is extensive there are some choices that just see you shouting "marketing ploy"! Having the new Dante, instead of the old one is pushing you towards the new game due in January. Having Raiden instead of the much more popular Snake is another one. Oh, Raiden's game, Metal Gear Solid Rising: Revengeance is due in February. Big Daddy? Yar Bioshock: Infinite is due in, oh, February. Cole MacGrath? Well there are rumours of inFamous 3 in development - possibly for PS4. Wait, did I just promote a swag of upcoming games? Yep... Sigh...

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Even Sackboy is getting into the action!
It's clear though that unless companies have something to gain from their characters appearing in this Superbot title, they won't be here. Hopefully if this game sells well enough we'll see some real "All Stars" included in the roster in a sequel or via DLC. Indeed, being dubbed an "All-Stars" game it seems strange that characters including Sony's first unofficial mascot Crash Bandicoot is missing, surely Sonic should have made an appearance, what about Cloud from Final Fantasy? Lara Croft, Strider, Ken or Ryu, Spyro, Rayman... The list goes on.

One rather neat feature of this game is that when you purchase the PS3 version of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale you also get a PSVita version of the game. Not only that but the game allows you to compete against gamers playing the title on the other platform. Huzzah!

Visually Battle Royale is pretty nice. While the menus and almost static cut-scenes in the story mode aren't too exciting in-game things heat up with some wonderful levels with backgrounds that even interact with the combatants. Fighters look fantastic too with some slick animations and some great visual effects which activating the Level 3 Super Attacks in particular.

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Fat Princess gets into the fighting spirit.
Sonically Superbot have done a very good job with this game. Not only does the title have plenty of lively music and effects that perfectly match the action on-screen but more importantly contain the same narrators used in the games where the characters come from.

After almost two years of Sony showing off this game anticipation was high for something quite exciting, but the developers have missed the mark slightly with the ability to score only during Super Attacks is disappointing. Still, with sharp visuals and decent audio this is a game which offers a decent multiplayer experience.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSCharacter models look great and the game runs smoothly. Nice visuals.
SOUNDCharacters sound good, sound effects are meaty enough and music impresses
GAMEPLAYIt's a decent party-based brawler that falls down due to the decision to only allows scoring during Super Attacks.
VALUEThe 20 characters offer plenty of variety in fighting styles and Super Attacks, multiplayer, online or offline impresses.
OVERALLPlaystation All-Stars Battle Royale is a decent, and frequently entertaining title that looks and sounds the part. It's not quite up there with Nintendo's Super Smash Brothers but is a decent Sony alternative, and a game which we would love to see a sequel to down the line.

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