Yes, the Sony Smash Bros. “rip-off.” Since it was announced, this game was the center of controversy, but does it stand on its own? Short answer; yes. Now I’m sure you want me to get more specific and I’ll be doing just that. For starters, let me just start by telling you that this game IS’NT a Smash Brothers rip off like so many like to label it. the combat is completely unique, punching & kicking doesn’t take any health away from your opponent, instead it builds up a super meter(think “Street Fighter”), there are 3 specials with each taking more time to reach but easier to land.
Now this might sound as a poor decision but it works out really well, it introduces a new meta game. Think of your opponent’s AP meter as your health. However, the problems with this mechanic is that because your attacks don’t truly do any damage to your opponent I would often find myself playing against people that that use whomever has the easiest Level 1 supers, which would arguably be Raiden. One tricky game this had to do was somehow appeal to both the hardcore and casual, and while I do believe it has succeeded in appealing to the hardcore it doesn’t such a great job for the casuals. Yes, anyone could essentially just pick up a controller and play but the game only features 2 game modes; time and stock/reverse stock. The story mode also leaves much to be desired. There’s no true story to this game, it’s never explained why our all-stars are brought together; they just are. Instead we’re given static images at the beginning and ending with a very underwhelming boss battle.
The game features 20 unique characters and 14 stages(with 2 characters and 1 stage coming in in February for free, for the first 2 weeks.) Now while I certainly don’t know Superbot’s definition of a PlayStation All-Star (I’m looking at you Dante, you don’t even have a single game out.) none of the characters play the same excluding the 2 Coles which SuperBot stated they had to, in order to get Sucker Punch’s approval. Instead of having one stage dedicated to one franchise, All-Stars does something much more interesting, it mashes up 2 franchises instead. Some are really cool, like Invasion which pits Killzone and the Ape Escape franchise. But not all are great, like Franzea, which is combines Metal Gear Revengence and Loco Roco; the interaction between the 2 franchises is kind of forced and doesn’t work well, I might even go as far as to say it kind of feels lazy. While all characters are unlocked from the get go there are plenty of other things to unlock instead.
Unlockables feature titles for your profile, minions who cheer for you when you get mutli kills, Icons and backgrounds. My only problem with the unlockables is that I truly didn’t care for any of it except for the minions; I would’ve preferred more unlockable costumes. The art for the game is also not the most attractive, instead of having a single unified art direction everyone sticks pretty closely to the art direction of their own game and on paper this sounds cool but once it’s done it doesn’t look all that great. Because of the characters don’t look like they belong together.
While it might seem that I’m being critical on the game its actually really good. It’s a fighting game with a lot of depth, but that’s all it is. For better or worse this is a hardcore game that tries to and successfully mixes things up in the fighting genre. And with Sony’s cross buy program this game sounds that much more appealing