The first worthy rival to Smash?
When it comes to modes, the game skimps out a bit when compared to the competition. There's Tournament Mode, which is online only and seems to reset every few weeks or so, Offline and Online VS, which can be played against up to three CPUs as well. As for Single Player, there're Trials, a 'general' set of trials as well as trials specific to each character... although they are more or less the same to be honest. Then there's Practice, Tutorial and Arcade, Arcade having unique, fully voiced, intros and endings for each character, even the four DLC characters. Mind you, their stories are nothing to write home about, but they bothered to do them, which is nice. I didn't play the Arcade Mode on the PS3 as much as I did on the Vita, but on the Vita version, every now and then, the Arcade Mode would glitch and I would get no voice overs during the intros, endings and rival cutscenes, and no music during fights.
When it comes to gameplay, you have three attack buttons at your disposal: Triangle, Square and Circle, and holding different directions when pressing the buttons performs different attacks, for a total of 15 different attacks per character, not counting the aerial attacks. Something that I thought was genius, due to how simple yet fun to perform is, was having throws being done by tapping the right analog stick! IT works fantastically and made throws fun to use! L button guards, and tapping a direction in conjunction with it performs a dodge, there's even aerial dodges! Lastly, the R button performs the special attacks. Controls, as a whole, are spot on, and characters have diverse movesets. Plus, the overall 'feel' of the game is very, very tight. No other Smash-like game has gotten the physics so right before, movement is as fast and as loose as a game like this requires, and the physics are floaty enough as to allow for aerial combos, but it doesn't feel awkward. It's hard to explain, but if you play... say, Cartoon Network Punchtime Explosion and then Playstaton ASBR, you'll notice how much better it feels.
And you gotta give them bonus points for the Stages, each stage is a fusion of two franchises. God of War and Patapon, Parappa the Rappa and Metal Gear, Ape Escape and Killzone, etc. And yes, there's a ton of clashing between visual styles, but it's not jarring, it's fun, specially if you know what comes from what franchise! And using a character nets you points, and as you 'level up' your rank, you unlock an extra costume, more taunt, more victory music, more victory poses, etc. It's a lot of extras for each individual character!
I feel like Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale is the first worthy rival to Smash Bros. It feels really good, controls are tight, and a lot of creativity went into the different stages and character movesets. The Character roster could've been a bit better, there're a bit too many guns(Radic, Drake, Dante, Ratchet, Jak, Isaac and Sweet Tooth all have guns as part of their movesets!) and not enough iconic characters(Big Daddy? Isaac? New Dante over Classic Dante?(And I liked new Dante!) Raiden? Gimme Crash, Lara Croft, Solid Snake, how about a Final Fantasy rep?) Still, overall it's a fun Smash-like fighter, with a bit less party, but a bit more 'fighty' feel to it.
8.0 out of 10