I’ll Be One Less Combatant in Sony’s Battle Royale

I don’t care about PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale. Not in the slightest. I have no interest in the game itself, on any platform or in any guise. I just don’t care. in fact, the only thing I find remotely interesting about it is that fact that I don’t find it interesting at all. Let me explain.

Normally, I’ll get quite excited about anything new, even if it’s not something that would usually interest me. I’ve got a Wii U pre-ordered and I can’t wait to try it, in spite of never being the Wii’s (or Nintendo’s) biggest fan. I bought a 3DS at a midnight launch and I imported a Vita from Japan as soon as it was possible, despite never being a great fan of handheld gaming – and letting my DS and especially my PSP gather dust for so long.

I can’t think of a single high profile game that’s been released in recent memory that I haven’t at least wanted to try. Usually, I’ll see a trailer, maybe watch a dev diary and look at some screenshots. It might be a game I don’t think I’ll like but I’ll still want to try it, just to know what everyone else is talking about.

[drop]Sometimes, as with Killzone 3, this presents me with a little surprise in that I enjoy it very much. Sometimes, as with Gravity Rush, I expect to like something and find it a little underwhelming.

Either way, I’m usually keen to see it in action. And yet, Sony’s big release for this Christmas (outside of Wonderbook’s Book of Spells, which I’m perplexingly eager to try!) doesn’t connect with me at all.

I’ve spent weeks wondering why this might be. I’ve tried – tried – to watch various trailers and gameplay videos.

I’ve also read several reviews, including the enthusiastic coverage Blair gave it on this very website. I know loads of people who are excited about it. So why can’t I muster any enthusiasm for this coming together of so many treasured icons from my gaming history in one package?

“Just try it and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it” came the response from one of my Twitter friends when I mentioned my unrelenting apathy towards this game. Which is fine, usually that’s exactly how my head works for games that I’m not keen on. But Battle Royale isn’t a game I feel I won’t like, it’s a game for which I don’t feel at all.

It looks very much like multiplayer a brawler – like Smash Bros. Well firstly, I wasn’t very keen on Smash Bros. Secondly, it seems as though it’s not quite that simple. Battle Royale is being spoken about in terms that make it seem similar to a proper fighting game, like Street Fighter. Several references to balancing and online code make it seem to me as though this is something which could be played competitively, at tournaments. The problem with that is that I’m not a huge fan of fighting games, either. Well, not since Mortal Kombat 2 on the Mega Drive, at least.

[drop2]So, already I don’t really know what Battle Royale is but neither of the things I think it is are very dear to me.

I find the focus of the game’s pre-release discussion quite confusing. It’s like Sony decided to rip off Nintendo’s Smash Bros. but then decided that they could make something that might appeal to traditional fighting fans instead.

It seems like a bit of a hybrid. Kratos throwing hands with PaRappa the Rapper is a juxtaposition too far for me. If it had been either of the two things I think it seems like, I would probably have wanted to try it. Kratos fighting against other muscle-bound rage monsters? Yeah, bring that on. PaRappa trading slaps with Sackboy? Yeah, that could be fun. But Battle Royale seems to not quite know what it is and without that cohesive anchor point, I can’t find anything to attach to.

I’m sure the single sale I lose Sony this holiday season won’t tip them over the edge into absolute economic meltdown. But I can’t be the only person that the marketing message hasn’t connected with, can I? Is this widespread? Will it damage the game’s sales figures?

Perhaps I’ve just (finally!) reached a point in my life where my subconscious is switching off my desire for things that I must know, deep down, are an unnecessary drain on my dwindling free time? Either way, I’ll be spending my holiday season playing games like Far Cry 3, Halo 4 and Black Ops II. I’ll be running around Nintendo Land with Mario and friends rather than slapping the cake out of Fat Princess’ mouth with Cole from inFamous. And I’ll be thankful for the abundant choice we all have in today’s selection of games.



  1. Some great points, it’s nice to see a different view.
    It’s hard to explain exactly how to someone who hasn’t played it or shown much interest in it at all, but it definitely works as it is.

  2. Same. Played it at the Eurogamer Expo and its incredibly dull for a game that is advertised as a frantic multiplayer experience.

  3. I’m the complete opposite, I’m super excited to get this and was so disappointed when the postman didn’t bring it to me. I love fighting games and crossovers so this is perfect for me.

  4. I agree that I am hardly dribbling in hunger for a game like this, I like fighting games (BlazBlue my favourite) but All-Stars looks a bit funky and not-serious.

    I was surprised at the review on TSA as it said that single player was good, but again I agree with you that it looks very much ‘multiplayer a brawler’.

    That said, if it drops in price in the sales I’d give it a try, if the gameplay footage is true to the singleplayer, then it looks pretty fun and hectic, but I don’t think I can stomach £30-40 on a game that isn’t really going to provide anything else except some fun brawling.

    Hence perhaps the game isn’t the problem, maybe it is just that it is being passed as a full blown £40 release.

    • It’s absolutely a £40 release – there’s so much to do and that gets you both PS3 and Vita versions.

      • And what if a ps3 owner doesn’t have a vita?

        meh either way we all have different standards of value for games as I said below, good value for some, not so much for others.

  5. I am the same but for different reasons. I can’t say that I was ever too enthralled by a gimmicky fighter (I have gone off of fighters recently anyway & gimmicks are not the draw to bring me back), but I was willing to at least give it a try at eurogamer. As was touched upon above (albeit in relation to other games), it may have turned out to be a bit of a diamond in the rough.

    However, to me, it just seemed rough.

    My problem with it was simple; I had no idea where my character was or what he was doing at any one time. In fact, by the time I had worked out where my character was it was usually purely because he was respawning. Now, you could argue that an expo is perhaps not the best place to trial this sort of game, but I think that would be somewhat of a flawed argument – Purely for the fact that this title should be aimed at those at home playing with others for the fun factor & it should have that pick up & play ability so that newcomers don’t feel overwhelmed & can get stuck in right away.

    I didn’t get that from it… At all. In fact, i think “confusing mess” were the words i used to describe it.

    Don’t get me wrong & think I am bashing the title, as I am really not – There is clearly an audience for this kind of thing & those that are invested in it will probably have a great time with it. It’s just not for me I’m afraid.

  6. The only reason I want this game is for the Amazon steelbook edition, which is another awesome piece of work by Robert Ball. I have two framed original pieces by him called Fifty Baddies and Fifty Goodies, I just love his artwork.

    As for the game, it doesn’t appeal to me particularly, although I’d like to try a demo.

  7. Similar feelings to my own. I’m just not that into fighting games, and Ninty’s brawling games are even further beyond me. They feel like the chaotic rubber banding which is seen so much in karting titles, compared to a Street Fighter’s finely tuned arcade racer, where absolute skill rules.

    Fine for the very occasional burst, as I had at EGX and with the beta, but just not my kind of game.

  8. btw, the last paragraph of your article may be the case, I’m only 20 and am feeling a little like that. I used to be so excited for a lot of games but now they seem somewhat drab or the experience I think I will get from the game doesn’t match the price (i.e. CoD would give me crazy shoot em ups but no meaningful story, so not worth the full amount for me imo).

    I mean I bought A3 liberation, and its a good game it really is, but I’m hardly eager as I might have to play it at every chance I get.

  9. No offense, I respect what you saying etc & as a fan if this site I respect all that is written but couldn’t you write this another time rather than today as this seems like an attack on the game & most might interpret it in a wrong way & sway them not to buy it.

    • Nah, it won’t do that. I’m sure it’ll be fine. It’s also an good insight into how the momentum of a game (and thus, the number of articles we see about it) can drive some of us mad. Every big franchise will have a decent-sized minority thinking “kill me now, please!” until the bloody thing has released. :-)

      Personally, I think Peter’s going through the menopause so he’ll be fine in a few years’ time.

      • Agreed – Those that will be buying it will be buying regardless (& in most cases will already have their pre-orders or have it arriving today). As influential as Peter may be, i don’t think him saying that he doesn’t like a game is going to change the opinon of thousands of people!

        Additonally, something stikes me as a bit odd from the pic on the front page – Have they really made Sweet Tooth a bit more ‘family friendly’? He looks more like a standard clown thats a bit down on his luck rather than a deranged serial killer.

    • we don’t (and won’t, ever) hold back any opinions because it’s a game’s launch day or window or they’re having a sale or whatever. It’s not our job to sell, or give consideration to the sale of, Sony’s products. Or anyone else’s.

      I wrote this today because we were a bit light on things for our readers to read and it’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a couple of weeks that I thought might generate a bit of discussion. While I very much doubt that my opinions will sway people into not buying (and I thought the article itself makes it abundantly clear that this is a personal bit of writing about self examination rather than the merits of the game itself, which Blair already covered admirably for us in his glowing review), that’s not something we can consider and still remain neutral.

      We publish things to entertain, interest and inform our readers as well as to get a bit of discussion going. The marketing is Sony’s job.

      • I’m glad you think that way. In no way did I get the feeling that you were trying to shove your opinion down my throat. I actually feel the same way. The only difference is: I love the Smash Bros. franchise but this still does nothing for me.
        I wasn’t swayed into buying this game from Blair’s praising review, so why should it be the other way around?

  10. I agree, I just don’t get this type of game! I tried to like Castle Crashers which is a similar thing, so to with Mario Bash, even with friends it just seems pointless & not much fun.

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