Recently, Sony unveiled the plans of their new four player fighter, Playstation All-Stars to the collective groans and facepalms of the gaming community. This was followed by Superbot, the developer, trickling trailers that seemed very reminiscent of Nintendo’s popular Super Smash Bros. franchise; which focuses on pitting Nintendo icons against each other in an attempt to knock foes into oblivion. But while gamers lamented the coming of a Smash doppelganger, Superbot slowly released more information that may make All-Stars worthy of a second look.
The basics are the same as usual. Four iconic characters get dropped into an arena and smack each other around until on emerges as a victor. But rather than health totals or life counters, Superbot opts to zero in on a super system. Each character can perform three different supers ranging from an inexpensive more focused attack, to an assault that sends all foes on the screen fleeing in terror. It looks as though simply being hit by the super is enough to take out a character and add to you point score, regardless of how much damage that character has sustained up to that point. This places a focus less on simply hitting your opponent, and more on keeping an eye on all of the super meters in play in an effort to outscore your opponents.
The change in how to score is refreshing, but All-Stars also implemented another mechanic that will affect the way players approach the game by hiding the score and only showing the timer. While this doesn’t seem as a very big deal, the absence of any definite way to know which character holds the high score creates an urgency for players to keep brawling until the timer is completely depleted. This fights a very well preserved fighter strategy of getting ahead and running away. While this tactic will not be removed altogether, the inability to truly know will hold a persistent threat of another player creeping at your heels and will curtail the idea of fleeing for success.
Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale falls in the same role as Smash Bros. clone, but the subtle changes in gameplay are enough to keep the game fresh. Superbot’s subtle tweaks to the fighting formula are not groundbreaking, but slight shift in the focus of the game’s mechanics warrant a second look. We will see if Sony and Superbot strike gold when the game is released on October 23 this year.
About the Author: JP is a native of Athens, Alabama, though most of his time has been spent in Arkham, Westeros, and other such locations. He can typically be found on Xbox Live under the gamertag, “Sir JayPea”