Published on June 17th, 2012 | by Davis Fan0
[E3 2012] Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale Preview
When Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale was initially announced, certain thoughts raced through everyone’s minds. It was about time for Sony to have their own mascot-filled brawler, especially considering the success of Super Smash Bros. to date; what characters would fill the cast; how would Sony deal with the impending lawsuit? However, all of that is under the impression that the game would be an exact clone of Nintendo’s series. With veteran fighting game players like Edward Ma and Daniel “Clockw0rk” Maniago associated with the title, we knew to expect something different.
Though it has some heavy influences from 2D fighters, the heavier influence of the casual systems in Smash Bros. is apparent upon first glance. It supports up to four characters on screen who will brawl it out in front of a Playstation themed level, which will feature periodic items and stage-specific interactivity. Rather than use complex motions like those of hardcore fighters, attacks can be modified with a simple direction press. However, the similarities end there.
The actual battle system is much more like a 2D fighter, featuring three different strengths for attacks and a one-button activated level one to three special that depends on the amount of meter the character has. Rather than knock an opponent off a ledge to score a point, players will have to take them down by landing enough strikes or a special. Generally, normal attacks would not deliver the killing blow, a privilege reserved for special attacks most of the time. I say “generally” and “most of the time” because this was often a confusing issue; without an actual health bar of any sort, I often played based on instinct alone, hoping that I wasn’t weak enough to be taken out. Randomly, a wandering normal strike finished me off or a special would leave me intact.
While level one and two specials were generally unspectacular, often blending in with the other attacks to create a seamless experience, level three specials act like Smash Bros. Brawl’s infamous Final Smash attacks, precluded by a cinematic and giving characters the ability to take out others easily after activation. Just as one example from those that we saw, Big Daddy would fill the whole arena with water, slowing everyone else’s movement to a crawl all the while Big Daddy could pick them off individually. Additionally, there already seems to be a strategic element built into meter management; certain attacks and throws take away meter from an opponent, leaving orbs of it up for grabs. Players may want to save their meter up for the all powerful level three attacks, especially considering how easy it is to interrupt either the level one or two specials, but this type of meter stealing system will have players scrambling till the very last minute to prevent their opponents from reaching the coveted three bars.
Two weeks ago, we asked what Battle Royale will do to separate itself from its Nintendo competitor and the answer seems obvious at this point: they are catering to a different crowd. It isn’t so much an improvement on the formula as it is a different approach. So far, it seems to have done a great job of mixing the hardcore and casual elements of brawlers , despite the key issue of an absent health indicator. We look forward to the parties and tournaments Battle Royale is sure to be a part of come its projected release date later this year.