When the PlayStation 2 dropped back in 2000, the number one title that I and many others wanted Sony to create was one just like Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. series. Sony has always had a huge arsenal of characters, so it made perfect sense for them to go out and create something of the sort. The announcement of such title only occurred just under a year ago, and with it, brought many high hopes for Sony fans around the world.
The PlaySation All-Star Beta comes packed with six characters and two stages, which is only a small fraction of what the whole game has to offer. These characters include:
If your someone who’s been complaining about how Sony “ripped-off” Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. series, then I suggest you take a look at all the other genres out there and see exactly how many titles out there are “ripping” each other off. The structure and gameplay may look the same, but we all know that Halo and Call of Duty play on a completely different level. The exact same thing goes for PS All-Stars and Smash Bros.
The button layout (as shown above for the PS Vita) is pretty easy to get use to. Now, all attacks (1,2,3) can be combined with an additional direction button, causing a character to perform unique attacks. All these combinations are available for every character and all of them are different. So, in a way, you pretty much know everyone’s basic move set from the get go. There are no special order inputs that is seen in titles like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat.
One thing you’ll notice right away is that instead of a health system, All-star uses a Super system to stem itself from the Smash series. At the bottom of the screen, you’ll notice a blank AP bar that over time, and with the use of direct attacks, will turn blue. The AP bar consists of three levels in total, each offering their own unique super attack. Super attacks are the only way to kill and score points. There is confirmation that there will be other modes in the final build, so chances are, there are other ways to earn points.
In comparison, I feel that the super system is far deeper than the damage system, since your constantly thinking about which super to use and at what moment. Do I use my level 1 Super to get a quick edge? Would waiting on a level 3 be smarter, considering that I could rack up a bunch of kills? Would it be faster to use the lower level first? Your always thinking ahead when it comes to strategy. There are no ring outs, nor are there fatal blows from standard attacks. The game does have items, much similar to that of Smash Bros. So far, they have shown off Rocket Launchers, the Shield Bubbles from the Wipeout series, Hermes Boots from God of War and the Hedghog from Resistance. Each item is used to either increase your own AP, take away from the enemy’s AP, or as character enhancements such as speed.
Besides that, characters also have a wide variety of combos that they can perform, which adds bonuses to your AP meter if performed correctly. I found that some characters, such as PaRapper or Sly Cooper, have a more difficult combo set while characters like fat Princess and Kratos have easier ones. However, some players I have faced against have managed to master these characters.
The online is as smooth as butter. Not once did I encounter any hiccups trying to connect or stay connected and the frame-rate is well maintained. Getting into a lobby filled with players only takes a simple push of a button and is rather fast at matching you up. It does also support a party system, which is also extremely easy to get started. The beta only allowed parties of two, which when placed in a match, pairs you against two other players for some 2 Vs. 2 matches.
For the most part, I was playing using the PS Vita, and yes, I was fighting against PS3 players – one of the benefits of having All-Star on both console (cross-play). Down below is some gameplay that we recorded for the Playstation 3.
So what are my overall thoughts on the Beta so far? Well, it’s an absolute blast and I can honestly say it’s right up there with the Smash series. I’ve been playing the beta non-stop since it released last week on the PS store. Controls feel fluid, the game has stable FPS which is great for its fast-paced action. The graphics looks absolutely great for a 2D action brawler and each level takes from other series and are completely dynamic (as shown in the gameplay above). The biggest problem that I have is character indicators. I find it hard to spot where my character is, despite the rooms only being a total of four players. I often found myself wondering on another character by accident, thinking that they were me. Hopefully this is improved upon final release.
I know the biggest concern so far for many is the character roster. The characters announced (20 in total) are indeed the final roster for the final build of the game. I know this is disappointing for many to hear since Cloud, Spyro, Crash or any other old favorites did not make it into the game, but from just playing the Beta alone, the six available characters offer a ton of enjoyment. I highly suggest those concerned to download the Beta as it’s available to everyone until the 30th. I know people hate hearing about DLC, but for what it’s worth, this seems like one of those titles where DLC is definitely worth the purchase.
Remember, this is only the beta, a small taste of what’s to come in the final product, which we expect to be plenty. Be on the look out for our review next month.