PlayStation All-Stars Vs. Super Smash Brothers – An Addendum

Note: this article is a companion to our PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Review, and both should be read for the best experience.

I’ll admit it, the first draft of my PlayStation All-Stars Review was a mess – the introductory paragraph, presented below this one, drew far too many comparisons to Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. series – as did subsequent paragraphs – which ultimately detracted from the final verdict.

Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a game like no other. Was a game like no other, until the inspired PlayStation All-Stars joined the fight. Much like Smash Bros., All-Stars a mash-up fighting game with the best PlayStation characters going head-to-head in a battle royale. And it’s an absolute blast.

I chose to avoid a lot of the comparisons between Smash Bros. and PS All-Stars in my final review, with good reason – so it could focus on the main subject of the brand new PlayStation exclusive without deviating off course. These comparisons can’t be ignored however, they’re two games in a genre with few notable entries and no other real competition.

[videoyoutube]So, that brings us to this companion article. Now that the final verdict for All-Stars is out there, we can take a look at how it compares with Nintendo’s veteran series. Let it be known that this addendum doesn’t serve to cheapen the review and I’m not going back on anything, it’s simply an expansion of one point that could’ve ruined the initial review if tackled differently.

I highly doubt PS All-Stars would exist without Smash Bros., and it definitely wouldn’t be in its current form. Sony aren’t exactly riding on the back of Nintendo’s success, either – there hasn’t been a new entry in the series for four and a half years and it origins lie closer to fifteen years ago, so they’ve hardly copied it straight off the bat.

So, why now? Well, firstly, PS All-Stars has been in development for over three years, meaning it started off around a year after Nintendo’s success with Brawl. We can assume Sony tried to predict a new Smash Bros. title, but the three games so far have had a bit of an odd cycle – Melee released just two years after the original Smash Bros. yet Brawl wasn’t for seven years after. I’m sure Sony didn’t want to compete with Smash Bros. and it has worked out well for them – PS All-Stars has arrived at a relatively dry period in terms of Smash Bros. games, so they’ll no doubt have some Smash addicts (read: me) excited to play. It’s at a great time in the PS3’s cycle, too; the game wouldn’t have worked as a PS4 title and Sony’s current console has quite a lot of owners now.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl is my favourite Wii game and I’ve put countless hours into it. I truly believe that the concept is incredible and fully realised with utterly sublime gameplay. PS All-Stars isn’t quite there; it’s definitely something to get excited about, but in the end, that’s the difference between a 9/10 game and a 10/10 game. I’d pick Smash Bros. over any fighting game ever made though, not just over PlayStation’s brawler.

PlayStation All-Stars isn’t identical either, of course – there’re the obvious change in kills with the Super move system but there’s also more subtle changes, such as the way the characters feel much weightier (attributed to the fact that you don’t need recoveries to save yourself from falling) yet they still don’t lumber around, or the extra moves that each character has along with throws mapped to the right stick.

[drop]There’s also the Arcade mode. It’s great having story cutscenes for each character and it’s certainly far better and more rewarding than Brawls’ Classic mode, which was always fun and had a bit more variety with teams and giant versions of characters and such, but wasn’t really as satisfying as PS All-Stars’ Arcade mode. It’s nothing like Brawl’s epic story mode, however, which changed Smash Bros. forever with a real story and some decent platforming elements to compliment the fighting.

I was mainly worried about the unlockables in the game, since Smash Bros. has such a wonderful array of items to earn as you play through the various modes.

Fortunately it didn’t disappoint on that front either, meaning I should keep going back to the game and stick with it until I’ve done absolutely everything.

If there’s one thing that’s vastly better in All-Stars, it’s the online mode. From what I remember of Brawl’s online it was a bit of a farce, but in All-Stars it works extremely smoothly, with tournament seasons, belts and even integration with the game’s global ranking system. That ranking system is great too, allowing far more customisation of your characters and a real reason to not just stick with Ratchet for every match, as I seem to do with Toon Link in Brawl.

Really, the point of all this was to talk about the phenomenal Smash Bros. series alongside the wonderful PlayStation All-Stars, which has potential to grow into something really special since it didn’t disappoint with its first instalment. I’m excited to see what the future holds for both of these franchises but know that both are fantastic, albeit similar, games each with their own merits and reasons to keep playing.

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11 Comments

  1. Played Smash Bros once, felt a little bit random. Kept falling out of the ring more than anything. I think the stages on Battle Royale are one of the most important differences. You don’t have ring-outs and the stage itself changes and attacks you.

    • Smash Bros. stages also “attacked” you in some cases. There are lasers in the Starfox level, Pokemons in the Pokemon level, racers in the F-Zero level, rising lava in the Metroid level and cars in the level with the little boy who shoots thunder (forgot his name) to name a few that I can remember from the top of my head.

      • Goes to show how little I played it, it really didn’t strike a cord with me.

      • The little boy is called Ness, he’s from Earthbound (Mother 2).

      • Yes! Thanks for reminding me. I was too lazy to google it…

  2. I simply can’t get past the super move mechanics. Maybe I’m just tainted by playing Smash Bros. for so many years but I truly believe that smashing someone out of the picture is the best way to kill a character.

  3. One thing I never get is why people simple dismiss All-Stars as just a rip-off. Surely Smash Bros now having a competitor is nothing but a good thing. Competition breeds innovation.

    While I’ve never sat down and really gotten used to Smash Brothers mostly because I don’t have a Wii and I have no real liking for most of the characters in the game. I can see it is a great game.

  4. I love Smash Bros. Still remember the day I bought the original without fully knowing the epicness stored within the box. I think it’s great that there is now two of the kind, as competition is healthy and it takes away Smash Bros monopoly.

  5. I’m a big believer that ring outs are cheap feeling so I’m glad All Stars kept them out but I’d love to see a health bar depleting mode (like traditional fighters). The supers method works perfectly fine, and they’ve done some smart balancing so far, but the option would win over a lot of people I reckon.

  6. I think they should actually have copied it more, not being able to KO people by throwing them off the edge of the stage kind of takes away half the tension and atmosphere from the game.

  7. Personally living battle Royale, the cross-play saving is something that will help me get a lot if life out of my purchase I reckon too.

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