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While most fighting games consist of one-on-one matches, health bars and have simple 2D stages for arenas, Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros series does things a bit differently. First appearing on the Nintendo 64 as a slow paced fighting game, its sequels, Melee and Brawl, have increased both the speed of the gameplay and the roster, bringing it from 12 to 35. Up to four characters can duke it out at once, with interactive stages and items, like laser swords and the now iconic sandbag, that can easily change the course of the match. Some do not even consider the series to be a fighting game. Truly, it is one of a kind…
…Until now. Sony recently announced PlayStation All-stars Battle Royale for the PlayStation 3 and Vita, the company’s answer to Nintendo’s acclaimed series. Much like Super Smash Bros, Battle Royale will feature some of Sony’s most well known and console exclusive characters, including Nathan Drake, Fat Princess, Kratos and PaRappa the Rapper. Big Daddy from Bioshock fame will also appear as a playable character, opening the possibility for other third-party characters to join the mix.
Stages will be more similar to Super Smash Bros than other fighting games. Platforms, conveyor belts and other obstacles will be incorporated, making stages very hectic. Items will also appear on stages, which players can readily use by hitting the R1 button.
Despite all these similarities, though, Sony insists that their game is fundamentally different than Nintendo’s. In the game, players deal out damage to earn power points, which can be saved and then used for devastating super moves. These moves are the only way to defeat other players and earn points, and are thus performing them is the object of the game. The one with the most points at the end of the round is the winner.
Sony’s argument for originality, however, has convinced very few. Many still claim the game is a Super Smash Bros clone and some doubt Sony characters are iconic enough to warrant such a game.
While the way characters are eliminated may be different, pretty much everything else is the same. In the God of War stage shown at E3, Hades is present in the background and occasionally performs an area attack on the stage, similar to Kraid and Arwings in Metroid and Star Fox stages in Super Smash Bros. Super moves themselves are similar to “Final Smash” moves from Super Smash Bros Brawl, which are powerful, character-specific moves that almost ensure the elimination of other players. One difference, though, is that Final Smashes can only be activated by breaking a “Smash Ball” item, which appear and float around stages for a brief amount of time.
At this time, other game modes in PlayStation All-Star Battle Royale, such as a single player mode, have yet to be revealed. However, considering the direction the multiplayer mode is being taken, it is likely that a single-player mode would be reminiscent of the “classic” and “adventure” modes in Super Smash Bros.
In classic mode, players battle against computer controlled characters with mini-games occasionally thrown in, much like in a typical “arcade” mode, while adventure mode focuses more on special stages like mazes where the goal is not to defeat other characters but to reach the end of the stage. Players of Brawl will remember the epic Subspace emissary, an expanded and juiced up version of “adventure” mode complete with its own storyline that takes around a whopping 10 hours to complete.
Although PlayStation All-Star Battle Royale is undeniably and unabashedly a clone of Super Smash Bros, gamers should not automatically turn a blind eye to it. It still will probably be a fun game, and, if nothing else, will tide over hardcore Super Smash Bros players until the next one releases.
PlayStation All-Star Battle Royale is due for launch this fall, just in time for the holidays.