The game boasts 20 characters that cover all of PlayStation. The leaders like Drake from Uncharted and Kratos from God of War will battle upcoming icons like Sackboy from LittleBigPlanet and Cole from InFamous. Only 20 characters is a bit shocking with some of the really wanted icons not making it into the game though. People obviously wanted Crash Bandicoot and Spyro (or other classic characters), but they were not included. This makes certain characters like Fat Princess and Toro questionable calls for the roster.
Yet this is something I hated from afar too. I didn’t want to touch the game because Snake (Metal Gear) wasn’t included, and the lack of Crash Bandicoot makes the purpose of the game feel incomplete. However I was wrong because the characters they did include actually make you like them more. Raiden replaces Snake for Metal Gear and this is upsetting to a MGS fan like me because Raiden annoys us. Yet Raiden is my top played character, I already almost maxed his level out and this game has made me want to go pre-order MGS Revengeance. The way the game is made makes these choices seem reasonable, since they all have perks that work perfectly in the gameplay.
Each character is extremely balanced with the entire roster, it honestly is something we never see often. There isn’t one character that absolutely dominates anything as there is always a weakness in some regards. People might think Kratos feels overpowered, but if you play a few games against him you learn how to get around him. Everything is well balanced and every player will find someone they prefer to play as. You will really enjoy experimenting with all the characters and finding one that suits your playing style. Once you get comfortable with one, you will find another that is fun to play as well.
Each character is also very unique, and I haven’t seen a single character that feels like a re-skin of another. Even the evil and regular Cole (InFamous) are two very different characters. Evil Cole is more swift and up close, while regular Cole is more of a distance fighter. I keep finding cool littler perks about each character as well, since they had to do something more than throw a bunch of people with guns in an arena. Drake utilizes actual game elements for moves, so he will hide behind a wall for cover, or have a bunch of rocks fall down on top of characters. Toro will change clothes in battle and this will let him have different moves mapped to your controller.
All of this blends well as the purpose of the battle is to land hits and gain “All Star Points” which lead to a “Super.” Each character has 3 levels of super attacks. The first is a basic attack that last about a second or two, the second level is a bit more powerful and normally has a range across the map, and the third is the ultimate super where your character will transform and obliterate the map. The weaknesses of each character can be anything from being powerful, but slow, or gaining their “super” fast, but it’s hard to use and land a hit.
There can be any combination, and the only thing that feels questionable is restricting supers when that is how you win games. This is where PS All-Stars sets itself apart from other brawl games, and it will take some getting used to, but it’s entirely worth it.
The cool thing about PlayStation All-Stars is the fact the levels are a roster of their own. They are not scenic views similar to some games, they are literally mashed up scenes right from games themselves. I am still finding cool things to look at, and several times I’ve caught myself pushing a character into the wall while staring at the environment. You have anything from PapaRappa owning the giant machine from Killzone, or Metal Gear destroying a Loco Roco level. The level designs also allowed Superbot to include games that were left off the roster. Resistance didn’t get a character, but my favorite level is based on the San Francisco level from Resistance and there are several weapons you can pick up that are from Resistance as well.
Most of the levels evolve and change as the game goes on which is neat. In the Resistance level a flying vehicle will crash into the playing field and alter the side of the map. In Dreamscape it’s basically LittleBigPlanet building the level as you right, and then Buzz will come out and start quizzing everyone. In Aldens Tower you will have to start climbing at certain points of the match to get to the top, which is a great nod to Sly Cooper and InFamous.