PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Review
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PlayStation All-Stars is a deeply engaging fighter and love letter to PlayStation fans that ultimately triumphs over shallow single-player content and a few design quirks.
- PlayStation's best, together at last
- Tremendous fun and impressive mechanical depth
- Sophisticated networking
- Inconsistent narrative quality
- Boring presentation
- Disorganized progression system
(continued from previous page) ...new ranks are earned so fast that the whole thing feels less like a measure of skill and more like a measure of time spent with each character. Progression isn't particularly well-organized either, as all of the hundreds of goals (which are divided between your current session, lifetime career, tournament season, and specific modes) can only be viewed in a single menu far removed from the first thing you'll want to do: play the game.
On a technical level, the game performs admirably, running at a constant 60 frames-per-second regardless of platform. There's no graphical caveat for this achievement; stages and characters are packed with detail and a pleasure to behold. Special commendation must also be given to the game's audio, highlighted by diverse sound effects and background music that respectfully remixes memorable tracks from each franchise. Networking is similarly polished. Cross-play works like a charm between PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, and as profile data seems to be tied to your PSN ID, syncing your character levels, unlocks, and completion data between the two platforms is quite literally as easy as signing in. Hooking up with your friends is a breeze as well, thanks to the always-accessible party invite system. Changing match settings, adding CPU opponents, dropping in and out of a game; it's all very accesible, designed to get you into the action as quickly as possible.
Not every presentation element is a home run, however. Menus and the UI in general are woefully slim on detail and allure; you'd be hard-pressed to find a more visually boring interface in any triple-A PlayStation blockbuster. There's certainly something to be said for prioritizing gameplay over style, but it's hard to justify no style to speak of. It's a small complaint, to be sure, but in a game so fiendishly fun and compelling that “Time for bed” quickly becomes “Holy s***, it's six in the morning?!”, this sore spot becomes apparent after a while.
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is a triumphant nod to nearly two decades of memories and amazing experiences. SuperBot Entertainment absolutely understands what makes PlayStation special, and has succeeded in marrying emotionally-charged fan service with a suitably deep fighting experience that will likely evolve for months and years to come. Inconsistent narrative direction and ho-hum presentation aside, PlayStation All-Stars might just be the most pure fun I've had all year. And as a lifelong PlayStation fan, the wait was worth it.
Editor's Note: The majority of time spent reviewing PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale was spent playing the PS3 version of the game, testing every mode and character over 30+ hours of gameplay. The PS Vita version of the game was tested primarily for network compatibility, but the gameplay experience is identical between each version (save for PS Vita control changes to compensate for missing L2 and R2 triggers).