January 16, 2013
PlayStation All-Stars and what I want from Smash Bros. U
I came late to the party with PlayStation All-Stars just picking it up at a discount the other week. The ties to Nintendo’s Smash Bros. franchise is glaring; four fighters enter a 2-D fighting plain, the last one standing is the winner. Now there are some differences in terms of the combat and how one goes about knocking a character out. In PS All-Stars you fill a meter to execute power moves, of which there are three levels, to take an opponent out. There is no damage counter, no altered weight distribution if too much damage is taken; just beat the crap out of one another until you collect enough orbs or land enough hits to fill up the bar and then power move. I must admit the change was a little jarring at first, coming from playing and owning every Smash Brothers title on release day, but I liked the more simplified approach. The third level attacks felt a lot like the “final smash” moves from SSBB, where your character became uber powered and had the ability to take out every opponent. If there is a downside to this power move knock out system is that in a 1v1 match if you are just trying to knock out your opponent with a level one attack they are not very accurate and the match can drag on longer than it should. I, in particular, had a 4 player free-for-all that when it was down to me (Raiden) and the CPU bot (Nariko) that took almost 15 minutes to finish because there is no ring out and she just kept dodging my level one power attack. I finally saved up for his level three and ended the match but, if online, I feel like this could be abused. The online modes is something I haven’t dived into yet, I would like to be competitive with a character before having my backside handed to me.
There are 20 characters and 2 more via upcoming DLC in PS All-Stars and while I like them, some feel like they were a stretch to round out at an even number. While characters like Kratos, Cole (though there is no need for a good and evil Cole) and Drake feel at home, there are others like Big Daddy, Dante, and Raiden that feel they were added for the sake of filling a roster. I understand they were trying to find characters that made the PlayStation brand, but Bioshock was released a little over a year after the 360 and PC release. Despite the odd lineup, it does feel like there is a nice balance between the characters and the 20 mark feels like a good start if this is to become a series like Smash Bros. has become. Super Smash Bros. only had 12 characters, then Melee progressed to 25 and then 35 in Brawl. 35 in a PS All-Star sequel would be pushing who they could bring in and if the characters would feel like clones as some of Melee’s and Brawl’s characters felt. There is some magic in the levels. The levels tend to transform into a different Sony title from time to time. For example during the Hades level, about mid way through my match, Patapon showed up took down Hades and the level and music changed to feature the other game. The same was for the Uncharted level eventually flying into Columbia from BioShock Infinite and the Killzone level transitioning into Ape Escape. There is love for Sony’s franchises in the game and it is a good game. Does it feel like they were trying to make Smash Bros. with out everyone saying it was a clone, yes. But with a $39.99 price tag popping up at retailers it is worth checking out. The PS3 version does come with cross play with the Vita so two games for the price of one isn’t a bad offer.
Since we are talking about PS All-Stars, discussion of this game couldn’t shy away from what I want from a Smash Brothers U title. As far as characters go, I would like the Wii U title to be a collection of all the characters from the series; more like a greatest hits. The characters that are clones, to be retooled into something more viable. The one thing that Brawl did that left me wanting more was online. The online took for ever for me to connect to and find a match, that I would rather have played bots than actual people. With Nintendo’s new network and seeing how well Street Fighter 4 on the 3DS worked, there should be no issues when this title comes to life. I hope the game is compatible with the Wii U Pro controller. There is no chance of using a GameCube controller so the only proper thing the big N can do is to let the Pro controller be the controller of choice. Not that the GamePad would be terrible for it, but I feel it would be the same as the Wii Remote/Nunchuck combo, awkward.
So have you played PlayStation All-Stars and if so how do you feel about it? What do you want to see from Nintendo’s next big Smash Brothers release?