Friday, August 31, 2012

Thoughts on PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale

Didn't have time to make this a video but I wanted to talk about this game anyways. I'm a Nintendo fan. Have been ever since I played the first Mario game on the ol' NES. But it didn't really bother me when Sony announced they were doing their own spin on the Super Smash Bros formula.

If anything, it intrigued me. I enjoy crossovers a lot, especially when you get to pit characters from different universes against one another. Yet I, as many did, felt that Super Smash Bros Brawl was lacking, despite all it's good parts.

When I reviewed TMNT Smash Up awhile back, I noted that Smash Up, while being not much more than a turtles flavoured Smash clone, did do somethings which I actually liked more than Brawl. (The online, for one, didn't lag.) Mind you, there wasn't much that Smash Up did better, but it showed that the formula was in need of a mix up. And Cartoon Network Punchtime Explosion certainly wasn't it. So, when PlayStation All-Stars became public knowledge, I was curious to see just what Sony was planning on doing differently. Rather than focused on ring outs, Battle Royale takes a cue from traditional fighters with a super bar. I was unsure about that at first, but right now, the only issue I see is that there's no counter as to who's in lead. This isn't exactly something new mind you. You won matches in Shrek Super Slam similarly. One new thing I see in Battle Royale is the fact that the roster (and the other elements of the game such as background cameos) do not look like they're made to fit a similar design aesthetic like in Brawl. If anything the characters almost look exactly they did in their original games. Not to say that's a bad thing. In fact, if you know anything about my Gamers vs. Games concept, I find the idea of multiple art styles in one game appealing. Other new things include the fact that the characters have many more moves than the Smash Bros and previous Smash-clones did. And of course, the composite stages, something I think was only done before in MK vs. DCU, and that was only for a few stages if memory serves. Even the staunchest of Sony fanboys cannot deny that Battle Royale is a clone of Brawl. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. The Smash Bros games are fun to play, but by the third game, it's more than clear the formula needs something more than just additional fighters. Who's to say that Battle Royale isn't onto something? Perhaps an idea from All-Stars will inspire Namco once they begin work on Smash Bros Wii U and 3DS that will make the Smash formula feel fresh and new again! Or it could be a stinker. We'll find out in October.But for now, lemme talk about what's most important about any fighting game. The roster.

Now, I'm not someone who's big into fighting game related terms like say, Maximillian, so I'm just going to talk about all the known (and leaked) characters one by one.

Kratos - The God of War. One of Sony's most popular characters ever. One of video gaming's most prolific and popular anti-heroes of the past decade. It should be no surprise he'd be in this game.

Fat Princess - A character I had not heard of prior to PASBR. Her attacks seem based around her subordinates.

Sly Cooper - One of the first PS2 games I ever own was the first Sly game. My ex really enjoyed the series as well and she got a lot farther in the game than I did.

Sweet Tooth - I can't help but laugh when I see this character. He's so deliciously mismatched.

General Radec - I'm not a fan of first person shooters so I had no clue who this guy was, let alone know he is actually the bad guy in the Kill.Zone games.

PaRappa the Rapper - Extremely pleased to see this guy again.

Nathan Drake - Don't know much about Nathan. He seems like a male version of Lara Croft.

Cole McGrath - Again, I don't know much about this character, aside that he's been in a ton of cameos, almost as many as Kratos. He even got a cameo in DC Universe if I'm not mistaken.

Jak & Daxter - I never owned any of these games but I did buy one for a birthday present for my ex years ago.

Heihachi - I've always been more of a Soul Calibur guy than a Tekken guy, but surely, surely there's someone better to represent Tekken, or Namco for that matter, than Heihachi. I'm sorry, I've never cared for this character. Even back when Tekken 1 was still new, I always found Heihachi to be a boring design. Although he was easier to beat than Jinpachi was.

Toro -  That little cat that keeps showing up in games (Most recently SFxT alongside Cole). He has three modes that, if I understand correctly, are meant to serve as tributes to Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Tekken.

Big Daddy - Personally, my favorite roster addition. Like I said previously, I am not a fan of first person shooters. For two reasons. 1, Most of them look the same to me. 2, I get motion sickness really quick from these games. Regarding number 1, I do feel that is true. Most FPS games look like the last one. So you're probably  wondering why I'm happy about Big Daddy's inclusion. Well,
BioShock is an exception to reason number 1. When the first game came out, Malacefire downloaded the demo. I watched him play due to my motion sickness problem. And it enamoured me. It was so different from other FPS games. It was different from games period! I even watched the BioShock Infinity gameplay trailers this year with the volume cranked up. It looks like an amazing game. (Not to mention that Elizabeth might just win the award for cutest video game character.)
So, yeah, Big Daddy was for me, a very welcomed surprise.

The purported leaked roster *SPOILERS*;

Ratchet - Not surprised to see him.

Dante - This is the version of Dante that will appear in Ninja Theory's reboot. I've never played any of the DmC series but when I think Dante, I don't think black hair.

Another thing to consider; if you looked at Dante, Cole and Nathan...would you know that they were from three different games?

Raiden - Not the god of thunder, the swordsman from Metal Gear Rising.

The Ape Escape hero - I'm sorry, I forgot his name. I'm also not surprised to see Ape Escape represented.

EDIT; It's Spike.

Nariko - From Heavenly Sword. Not surprised to see her but it's nice to see that there's another female in this game.

Sackboy - I'm very curious to see how Little Big Planet's mascot plays.

Sir Daniel - Old school PS1 games. Sweet!

Evil Cole - Ok. I don't know much about InFamous, so pardon me if I sound ignorant. Evil Cole?!? Maybe I'm wrong, but this sounds like a waste of a roster slot. Kind of like how people viewed Young Link and Toon Link. I mean, come on Sony. I know you're sticking close to the Smash formula but do you have to stick close enough to include clones?

I guess you could say I have some issue with the roster at this point. I believe there may be more characters to come.
Let me try to explain myself here. With Brawl, there were characters I wanted to play as. Most did not make the roster.
With Marvel vs. Capcom 3, there were characters I wanted to play as. Yeah, I was one of those who wanted to play as Mega Man. With All Stars, there wasn't really anyone I had my heart set out to play. With a company of games I've never played or heard of, coupled with third party support, what I wanted most of all was to be surprised. And so far, Big Daddy is really the only surprise for me so far, and since BioShock was so well received by gamers, it's not really that big of a surprise. Considering that this game has Raiden, and the current iterations of Heihachi and Dante, it looks like Sony may look at the game the same way Marvel looked at MvC3; as strictly a marketing tool. Of course, they're a business, they gotta pay the bills, but as a fan of fighters and crossovers, I can't help but wonder why some company out there with the resources can just go "Let's go nuts!" or something. I mean, not to the extent of something like MUGEN. Even in the gaming world, a crossover of that magnitude wouldn't or couldn't happen. But what if a game filled with video game characters - included a comic book character? Or a movie character? That's what I've been wanting from this game, something that no one is expected. Like when we saw Sub-Zero and Batman throw down years ago.

It's been announced today that the leak does not represent everything that is in the game, so there's still plenty of time for Sony to deliver more surprises. It makes me wonder just why so many leaks happen on high profile games like this. But, that's a rant for another day.

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