The Single Player Is Lacking
The game is split up into three sections. You have tournament which is ranked games online against anyone. Versus is playing against anyone you invite to your game, and AI bots. Lastly you have solo section which is sadly lacking as the entire game is completely slanted towards multiplayer.
In solo play you have practice modes etc which will help you learn a specific character rather well, but overall its Arcade mode that you will want to play. Here you will pick a character and go through his story, and by doing so you will learn a bit about how to play the character better. Normally these are fun, but it’s a bit simplistic and easy, let alone lacking a story.
The overall boss is Polygon man and I want to go out of my way to say this is the absolute perfect boss for the game, absolutely awesome! However there is nothing to make him better. Those of us that know who he is think he is neat, and those that don’t will still think he is cool. However why is he here? What does he mean he “never lost till now?” None of this is explained, and you don’t see him till the very last battle.
I know, this is a brawler and story isn’t entirely important, but there could have been a really awesome story here that is entirely missed. Each character will introduce themselves with a short story and create their own little agenda as to why they need to fight all the other characters. Midway through they will meet their rival and a funny little scene occurs. Then they beat Polygon Man and finish the story by saying “well I didn’t reach my goal, but I have this power.” Once again the power is hardly explained beyond a blue glow. I just would have preferred more story to each character, make it a bit more funny or something because what was there was highly entertaining. So far Jak and Daxter facing off against Ratchet and Clank has been the most entertaining for me.
A ton of effort went into the core of the game with the fighting that the single player feels unpolished. The “cutscenes” are simple images placed together with voice overs to talk about the story. The meeting between rivals is basic animation on the level. Once again there are great ideas brought about, but it’s never further developed and it just makes you want more. I’m sure Superbot will be making another game, and this is where I’d like something to be improved. If they up the single player experience then this game will be nearly perfect.
The Online Saves The Day
Online is the most important aspect of the game, and it’s built up extremely well. You can play PS3 and have Vita users in the game, which is awesome. You can easily set up party games, and adjust any of the settings you want. You can play free-for-all or 2-vs-2, mess with the clock, change out the items, stop the environment interruptions, or do whatever to make it your own game.
The online portion also has ranked tournament mode. Here you play through seasons, and at the end of the season your highest ranked belt is saved, but the stats are reset for the next season. This is great way to let everyone have a fair shot to be at the top at one point or another.
My only gripe about online play is how some players already found some easy exploits. For example the Helghast character from Killzone has distance attacks. Players will sit on the edge of one level maps and just “camp” there. (funny how camping from a shooting game affects a fighting game) It’s annoying, and since All-Stars takes out the edge of the maps and health system, there is nothing you can really do. In some maps you can knock them off, but overall they just get thrown to the other side and then keep doing it. Superbot said they are paying attention to how people play, so it will be interesting to see how this is repaired.
I will admit that you do need to be a PlayStation fan to truly enjoy this game. You don’t need to be a die-hard fan from the PlayStation One days though because Superbot did an amazing job of covering all three generations. There is a great recognition of all the icons, and this feels like a great celebration of everything PlayStation has to offer. One thing you have to be afraid of when doing something like this is respecting everyone, and I believe they did that well. Even the much loved Insomniac has a big impact on this game. Lastly they thank the fans at the end, and that just makes the entire experience wrap up in a neat little bow.
Will some fans be angry their big icons didn’t make it? Yes, but give it a shot because a lot of the “new” characters are placed nicely into the game and you will become fans of them as well. Plus Superbot has DLC planned! Plus if you are still trying to say this game is a direct clone to Super Smash Bros, please stop and actually play the game. They are two very different experiences.
OVERALL SCORE: 8.5
The fighting system is almost perfect and that alone took a ton of effort to build. The Super system is an awesome and fun twist, and the nod and respect to each franchise is astonishing. The only thing really holding it back is the lackluster single player experience.