Eighteen years of PlayStation have passed, and it is a surprise that we have never seen a game with all of Sony's mascots duke it out until now. Nintendo has been doing it for years with the Super Smash Bros. series and I would be remiss not to mention the countless times PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale has been compared to it since it was announced. Having never played the aforementioned Smash Bros, I came with a clean slate to PlayStation All-Stars, and was greeted with a well-produced tutorial that introduces the new and interesting fighting mechanics. So you don't need to have played Smash Bros. before in order to enjoy this game.
If you were expecting a run-of-the-mill fighter, you may be a little surprised to find out that in this game the fighters don't have health bars, and can't be KO'ed. Instead you brawl and build up a 3 tier special meter by collecting AP (Attack Points), and when you activate the super it performs a 1-hit kill. The more tiers of special you obtain, the bigger the range of your 1-hit kill. Your final score at the end of 3 minutes is tallied up to reveal the winner based on the amount of kills you managed to do, and how many times you died. This is probably the biggest mental hurdle that I and many other fans of beat 'em ups and fighting games will have to come to terms to first.
What tends to happen, especially when playing against a group of non-AI players online or locally, is it becomes a race to whoever levels up the fastest. This then leads to which fighter has the best level 1 super attack, so the better it is, the more likely you will win. As everyone knows about a successful fighting game, every character in the game should be able to duke it out with one another with an equal amount of chance that either one could win, and it should all boil down to skill.
However, a large part of PlayStation All-Stars is that it has been specifically been designed in order to cater to casual players. The fighting inputs are the same for every character. X is jump and the rest of the face buttons do a specific move, which you can combine with a direction on the d-pad to perform another move. Obviously each fighter will perform a different move based on their character, however it really removes a lot of what I find interesting in games like Tekken or Virtua Fighter, where learning a character's move-set is a skill and challenge in itself.
There are 20 playable characters, and what you will want to do first is play the "Solo" campaign and play the story mode for each one. I was disappointed to see that 90% of the story is played out with still images with voice-over. What makes this worse is the fact that the stories are not very interesting and when games like the new Mortal Kombat have truly raised the bar in terms of the best single player stories in fighting games, it accentuates the fact that PlayStation All-Stars comes nowhere near this quality. The single player campaign seems to last about 2 stages too long, and it would be much better if there were more story scenes in between fights.