Playstation All-Stars is a different take on the usual fighting games. It’s easier to learn, has a near-perfect balance between hectic fun and complete control while also removing a particular problem that plagues many other fighting games, namely, being played by ‘randomly pressing buttons’ based on luck or also using the same combo to trap another fighter in an infinite loop.
It is hard not to compare this to Super Smash Bros, the gameplay is extremely similar with the exception of a third set of combos used – making it a little more complex. Sadly, other aspects such as items or game modes are far more basic compared to Super Smash and we never get over the feeling that this is the Sony version of Nintendo’s epic Smash Bros.
The aim of the game in All Stars is to fill up a special bar using normal attacks in order to unleash Super moves on an enemy, which happens to be the only way to eliminate them as normal attacks cannot kill nor weaken foes.
This lack of HP means that a character’s worth lies in their three progressive Super attacks and their ability to rack up points in order to use these finishers. God of War’s Kratos seems to be particularly overpowered in this aspect because of his bar-filling combos – in fact online is littered with people sticking solely to him.
The gap between some characters are simply too large, they’ve already had to weaken Sackboy because his special bar filled up too quickly while other characters such as Ratchet and Clank cannot hope to compare to the likes of Kratos who, although the most unbalanced, has yet to be weakened.
The unique aspect of Playstation All Stars compared to typical fighting games is that movement is equally as important as combos. The environment has a good variety of sizes for mobility but don’t expect to tame them because some stages will try to take you down as much as the enemy himself will.
Lets be blunt, there is no story, nor are there other modes worth mentioning (excluding online). Story mode is a typical 10-stage match. They’ve tried to add an element of dialogue for each character by having a minute intro (still pictures), a middle scene, and an ending that treats players to another minute of still pictures once again.
This seems to have had the opposite effect intended as it only serves to highlight the lack of content. There isn’t a lot to do on single-player so the game seems to rely heavily on its online features to keep it active, in other words content is the biggest disappointment of All-Stars.
Online multiplayer will be where you spend most of your time. Some avoid online in fighting games because of the ‘robotic-like players’ online, however in All Stars it seems a lot more balance and even average gamers can enjoy and maybe even win a few matches. The connection is perfect – which is a crucial hurdle to pass on the PS Vita and the community seems to have fared well these last few weeks.
Playstation All Stars is a welcomed addition to the PS Vita, it plays well both on the portable and the PS3 (while the Crossplay is a fantastic feature for Sony fans). One of the biggest disappointments is the content and choices made in character selection such as: Sir Daniel or Fat Princess over someone recognizable such as: Crash Bandicoot, Spyro or other Playstation icons.
Character balancing issues have kept All Stars from being a great hit, fortunately online is alive and well and if they weakened Kratos a little; it would be near-perfect. This fighting game has clearly proven itself unique through great gameplay that is let down by content.
Developer: SuperBot Entertainment / Santa Monica Studio / Blue Print Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Producer: Chan Park
Release Date: 23/11/12
Genre: Fighting / Action