* Prices may differ from that shown
* Introduction *
Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale is a cartoon multiplayer fighting game that allows you to play as a number of characters from other Playstation games.
The characters included without paying for additional downloads are:
Evil Cole McGrath
Jak and Daxter
PaRappa the Rapper
Ratchet and Clank
Sir Daniel Fortesque
Downloaded extras give access to additional characters including: Emmet Graves, Isaac Clarke, Kat and Zeus. These characters though are paid extras and in my opinion don't really bring anything new to the game.
The character list includes characters from games aimed at children and games aimed at an older audience. This indicates the broad spectrum of appeal that Sony were aiming for in releasing this game.
* Gameplay *
Gameplay is similar to many other fighting games. With upto four multiplayer characters joining the battle you would like to feel it is something that you have control over and that with practice improves. Maybe I'm showing my age but for me this becomes quite a random button-masher with me hammering the buttons in the hopes of stumbling across one of the more powerful combination attacks. Fortunately, there are so many of these that button-mashing does work to a certain extent.
I don't know who should take responsibility for this, Sony or the parents, but everytime I have played this online the background noise has been filled with the abuse of pre-pubescent teenagers which in a cartoon style game such as this seems quite out of place. I think this could soon become a bigger issue for the gaming market. Having labelled games voluntarily to indicate the suggested age that a game is suitable for, as soon as it opens into an online competition the rating would change with the language used by the players. Back to the game itself.
Each of the characters have their own defining special moves that are categorised into three levels. Successful hits build up a power meter which with time gives access to these special moves. They almost guarantee a knock-out and therefore it is worth holding on and trying to save until you have a level 3 special move ready to go. Used well, these can be an almost instant game winner.
Each fight lasts about three minutes so it is an ideal game for just dipping into when you don't have time to engage in playing games for any length of time. The fact that the same title is available on PS Vita is also a bonus. The game allows battles to take place across the two platforms (PS3 and PS Vita) and character development is updated so gameplay on either device advances your characters on both platforms. Unfortunately though there is no cross-platform trophy system so you have to earn the trophies independently on both platforms. Having mentioned this briefly, let's take a look at the trophies for this game and how easy they are to obtain.
* The trophies *
As an overview to obtaining trophies in this game I would say that the offline trophies are incredibly easy but do get repetitive. They can be earned on easy difficulty but there is one trophy for winning as each character. This means that you have to play through the whole sequence of fights for each of the characters. This takes about thirty minutes per character. You know you will win with little effort but it does involve an investment of around ten hours just to unlock these trophies. With regard to other offline trophies there is nothing that is too difficult or time consuming.
Online trophies are a different story. Success online in this game is really difficult. You will be playing against people who have poured hundreds, maybe even thousands, of hours of their life into perfecting every special move. This means that unless you strike lucky and find yourself in a battle with three people also learning the game you too will need a considerable amount of luck not to be completely outclassed. This in itself can be frustrating as not being able to get a single move in for the whole round takes the enjoyment out of the game, especially when the same is repeated over and over again.
Therefore, getting about 80% of the trophies in this game is relatively easy if a little repetitive but those online trophies are going to take dedication, time and maybe even a slice of luck. The platinum trophy therefore maybe out of reach for many.
* Overall *
The game is fast, fun and colourful with entertaining sound effects and music. The backdrops develop during each battle which adds a new dimesion to the fights. The character choice is solid and there are some favourites in there from Sony games that it is a joy to see. The offline mode is either very easy, or if you change the difficulty, jumps to nearly impossible. The online mode is very difficult and also has the background noise of young children swearing at each other which for me detracts considerably and is certainly a consideration if you are buying this for children to play.
As an overall rating, I would recommend this game if you are buying it below full price. I don't feel it merits the price tag of other 'AAA' titles but if you can pick up a copy for 20 pounds or less you won't be disappointed and should get a number of hours of fun play from the game.