Four player brawlers are something of a rarity these days, especially if your dusty Nintendo consoles have been boxed up for a while. Skirting around the much-mentioned copycat nature of the game, what we have here is an impressive collection of PlayStation’s most iconic first-party characters (and Fat Princess) plus a select few third-party heroes kicking the pixelated hell out of each other.
As well as brawling, the game is also something of a platformer as the game is set in 2D levels with players able to leap around platforms and sometimes even bounce off the walls or fall into traps below.
The stages are set in a pleasing variety of familiar locations that PlayStation-generation gamers will get a real nostalgic kick from. Jak & Daxter’s Sandover Village, the dojo from Parappa the Rapper, Metropolis from Ratchet & Clank amongst others are just a taste of the arenas you can look forward to. These stages will feature cross-over or “mash-up” elements from other games too. While the creatures fromPatapon might be dancing in the background, you should be more concerned with the large figure of Hades from God of War III, who attacks the stage at will. Carmelita Fox from the Sly series makes appearances with her stun gun while even Buzz gets in on the action in the LittleBigPlanet stage, by asking a question and electrifying the platforms below the wrong answer. The LBP stage will also randomly assemble itself as you play, as if you’re fighting inside the level editor. The plane level ofUncharted 3 is reimagined in 2D with a surprise appearance from the Songbird of Bioshock: Infinite andRatchet’s Metropolis level is suddenly invaded by the Hydra from God of War.
Clearly, the potential of the stages is ridiculously huge thanks to the diverse range of content we’ve seen on planet PlayStation over the years. So, as long as the game plays up to the standard of the characters and stages, we should be onto a party classic, right?
*Goes to Germany to play the game at Gamescom…*
After getting hands-on with the game it quickly became apparent that instead of a party classic, this game is shaping up to be a steaming pile of [We had to cut much of the rest of this paragraph due to endless streams of expletives – Ed.] Where is the rest of the game? Where’s the character balance? Why is the scoring system such bullshit? Arghhh.
Ok, breathe. Let me break this down. To score points you must kill opponents. You can only kill them by performing Special attacks. There’s no health bar and no ledge kills. By performing basic attacks you fill up a Specials metre to one of three levels. Cashing in a Special move at one of these levels will hopefully get you a few kills. Level 1 strikes are close range and unlikely to get more than one kill, Level 2’s are typically wider-reaching and longer lasting, such as Clank coming out to help Ratchet for a short time or Sackboy dropping a line of flaming coals anywhere he pleases. Level 3 strikes vary depending on character. Drake turns everyone into Zombies giving you the chance for easy kills with a golden gun, Big Daddy puts everyone underwater (similar to zombie effect), while Kratos gets to almost instantly win the match.