December 12, 2012
Take your favourite PS3 character into battle
By Brian Baker, Special to QMI Agency
We’ve seen the PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale model before: a multi-player fighting game with plenty of bells and whistles, and enough random kills to make anyone titter like a stoned frat boy.
Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. set the standard back in 1999, where their all-stars came together to avoid being bumped off the fighting arena stage. That was over a decade ago, and Nintendo has since released two sequels to their popular fighting game that breaks the traditional mould.
I had some trepidation when deciding to pick up Battle Royale because I thought it would be akin to Super Smash Bros. – I’ve never taken to Nintendo because it seems too cartoony, and being a sports gamer, realism is where it’s at.
But I was pleasantly surprised with Sony’s answer to Nintendo. There’s a good balance of the cutesy, family-friendly characters and the gutsy, first-person shooter types. A basic storyline pulls the rag-tag parties together like Sackboy’s stitching.
It’s also worthy entertainment, when you can take Little Big Planet’s protagonist and launch Uncharted’s hero, Nathan Drake, across the screen. What I like about Battle Royale, is the fighters don’t knock down the power gauge of their opponents, but build up their gauge to unlock special moves.
It adds that element of strategizing, especially in online play, where a player can knock out all three of their opponents in fell swoop. Plus, much to my amazement, a character I had no experience using won me my first online match – thank you, Jak.
There are no Street Fighter-esque controls to do special moves but some of the specials are cumbersome. In particular MediEval’s Sir Daniel has a one-bar attack that is only useful in close-combat at diagonal angles.
As for characters, there are 20 options, and not all are Sony specific, in particular, Big Daddy from 2K Games’ Bioshock, and Raiden from Konami’s Metal Gear series. Also included are God of Wars’ Kratos; Killzone’s Radec; Heavenly Sword’s Nariko and Parappa the Rappa. Two more Sony universe cast members are set for 2013 as downloadable content: Gravity Rush’s Kat and Emmett Graves from Starhawk.
Sony begs the question though: Is Battle Royale a coy marketing ploy? Bioshock Infinite (with a release date Feb. 26, 2013 and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (Feb. 19, 2013) are both coming soon, and their more identifiable cast members are in Battle Royale, although Big Daddy reportedly doesn’t make an appearance in Infinite.
Regardless of shameless self-promotion – or cross promotion for that matter – Sony needs it right now after a rough November. And Battle Royale is a good game for kids of all ages. Especially since Big Daddy’s grisly side is toned down considerably.