The worst kept secret in gaming.
An idea so obvious, so plainly brilliant as a Super Smash Bros. clone was bound to happen some time. It's almost a wonder that Sony has taken as long as they have to ape the idea.
It bears remembering that it took Nintendo well over a decade of franchise building before they threw their characters together in a highly animated, chaotic ring to duke it out. The PlayStation stable of recognizable names continues to grow, but PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale has been a long time coming.
All the speculation and rumor-mongering can be swept aside at this point, because All-Stars works, and that's really all that matters. Fighting Fat Princess as the God of War might not make sense on paper, but when you're mashing the triangle button and storing up power for a super-attack, the questions fade away and a grin quickly replaces any confused look you have on your face.
The pre-E3 demo Sony showed off this week featured six playable characters: Kratos, Killzone's General Radec, the Fat Princess, Sly Cooper, PaRappa the Rapper, and Twisted Metal's Sweet Tooth. Each character comes complete with full movesets and three different levels of super attacks. As you fight, an energy bar at the bottom of the screen will fill up. You can also pick up energy when it drops from items and specific moves, but you'll spend most of your time beating the crap out of each other on your way up.
The X button is used to jump and double jump in mid-air, while Square, Triangle, and Circle act as different moves that can be modified by the direction you're actively pressing on the d-pad or left stick. The L1 button acts as a guard while R1 is used to pick up items. R2 will activate your super attacks and the right stick can be used to grab and throw your opponents. Don't be misled, though, into believing that you can just throw people out of the ring to off your enemies.
All-Stars is much more focused on smart use of your super meter. PaRappa's level three super will destroy anyone on screen at the time. Kratos can use his level two super to turn into a tornado that kills off anyone in the vertical space above him.
And that brings us to the real stars. As exciting as it is to smash your favorite PlayStation characters together in a knock-down, drag-out fight, the stages these fights take place in are incredibly inventive. In Hades, an obviously God of War-inspired level, gets a Patapon twist, forcing players to dodge both a towering boss from Kratos's world and the volleys of Patapon in the background. A LittleBigPlanet-inspired level also throws in a Buzz Quiz TV question that requires players to navigate to specific areas to answer a question, lest they get damaged by a pie. Even a Jak and Daxter level isn't safe when the Hot Shots Golf crew starts teeing off in the background.
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale still has plenty of room to flesh out the roster and hopefully bring in third-party characters into the fray. If Kratos can face off with Sub-Zero and Mileena, why can't Scorpion fight Sly Cooper?