Playstation All-Stars Is No Super Smash Bros. Brawl, It’s Better

Note: Before anyone says it, the name of the site has nothing to do with my opinion. PASBR is literally the only time I have played my PS3 aside from the Uncharted games. Aside from those two titles, Sony barely ever registers as a blip on my radar.

My history and experience with Super Smash Bros. is decently storied. I was active in the tournament scene for a few years and well renown for my use of Ike, a low tier character. Truthfully, I was never particularly successful in tournaments, and almost all of the acknowledgment I received was from playing people in friendlies, where my penchant for self-scrutiny didn’t seem to creep up as much.

For all of its flaws, I love playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl and all of its fan-made variants. That would be hard to deny, considering it’s been the mainstay in my Wii for just under five years. Brawl Plus, Brawl Minus, Project M, and even Balanced Brawl provide unique and differing takes on improving a game that was hamstrung by the creator’s desire to spite a portion of his fans. I’m not the type that believes that games should only be competitively minded, I just don’t think that bad game design in the name of sending a “f*** you” to anyone is a good idea. Sakurai’s decisions enforced the falsehood that casual fun and competitive spirit could not coexist in the same game.

For months, the guys over at SuperBot Entertainment have been saying that PlayStation All-Stars is one of those games you have to give a legitimate shot before bringing the hammer down on. Admittedly, the game sounds kind of dumb on paper. Throwing supers to OHKO your opponents could easily strike some as too easy, while others would feel cheated by the idea that they couldn’t earn a kill by virtue of landing normal attacks.

In execution, the game makes sense. There’s a mix of Smash and regular fighting game fundamentals that propel the title beyond the constraints of either. Items that don’t skew the overall battle and hazards that are able to be avoided encourage playing the game at face value, rather than running to the options to minimize the level of random BS that can happen. While the cast of twenty seems paltry compared to the thirty-five to fifty character rosters we’re used to, each character’s essence is woven into the move sets in creative ways that display how each character would act in an all-out-fight. You’re not stuck with a lazy Captain Falcon/Ganondorf situation. The closest argument one could make for similar treatment would be the Coles, but Good and Evil Cole actually serve different purposes and have separate circle moves.

What makes the move sets work is that you’re not picking repetitive characters or clones. Radec, Ratchet, Jak, and Nathan Drake are all gun heavy characters, but there’s no overlap in how each of them function. Drake is probably the best of the four at close and mid range, Jak is the most mobile of the four, Ratchet has the widest variety of moves in terms of range, and Radec’s strength lies in the longest of ranges.

Similarly, you don’t find overlap in the action-based sword wielding characters either. Kratos’s chain swords have strong frame data that make him ridiculously safe at mid-range. When fighting Kratos, you either have to stay outside of his range, or keep directly in his face to punish his recovery frames. Dante’s sword attacks may be the best way to start up a combo, but using it in the way that a Kratos players uses his square attacks will make an otherwise mobile character very stiff and open to punishment.

I’m not a Melee apologist. I don’t look back on the title as some golden age for Smash, and one would be silly to not acknowledge that all three Smash titles were runaway successes. I understand that it’s in a developer’s best interest to keep games as accessible as possible. Anyone who militantly preaches otherwise is free to pay a studio’s worth of developers to create a game that doesn’t sell well, and then immediately fire them because the game didn’t cover production costs. That always goes over well. But accessibilty goes both ways, alienating any aspect of your fanbase is an egregiously bad move.

The last factor that I feel pushes PASBR over Brawl fundamentally is that the studio behind it actually cares whether or not people like the game. It might be a matter of circumstance; a fledgling studio has to worry about their title’s reception so they’re going to go out of their way to be more open and accommodating.

Regardless of the motivation, it just plain works. They took player feedback into deep consideration and the intricacies of the game’s combat engine were significantly tweaked from the game I previewed a few months ago. The beta served to create some of the smoothest net code I have seen in a fighter yet. There are some base connection issues that still need to be worked out, but it’s not the lag fest filled with impractical tactics that you are prone to find out there with other titles.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still some issues at the moment. As smooth as the netcode is, merely staying connected can be a pain for some users. Nerfing certain characters out of their level 1 setups seems a bit unnecessary if you’re going to leave flowchart characters like Raiden and Evil Cole in the game. If Raiden lands his forward square or Evil Cole lands his charged Giga Punch, you can kiss your life goodbye. AP levels will need to be adjusted in the future as well, but at least SuperBot is paying attention. What I find funniest is that Seth Killian stated that the final version of Evil Cole is after game designer Ed Ma “took the hatchet” to him, so one can only imagine what kind of ridiculous crap he was capable of beforehand.

The biggest problem SuperBot faces is the same thing they have been saying since day one: preconception. There are a number of die-hard Smash players who fell in love with All-Stars once they got their hands on it, people willing to give the game a chance are finding a simple-but-deep fighter that cares in a way that Nintendo just stopped doing.

Join the Discussion

  • Vampiric


    the game is a 70 on metacritic

    brawl was a 93


    • Skardsen

      Well done, you can read.

    • Yep, because metacritic is all that matters in this industry 😀

    • yami

      It is a 70 only because many of the reviewers are saying its not enough like super smash bros, after they all called it a rip-off (which its obviously not). They reviewed the game as if it was suppose to be a sequel to super smash bros, instead of really looking into what a great and unique game this really is.

      • It’s obviously not a rip off, just a clone.

        • Chaos Mechanica

          from what i understand, it’s as much a clone as Mortal Kombat is of Street Fighter. Same idea, different execution.

    • Jerry B

      Why are you back? Someone told me you committed suicide. Seriously. I’m gonna give that bastard hell for lying to me.

    • ROFL you’ve stated time and again on other sites that Metacritic is a joke and a broken system but now, when it works in your favor as a hardcore Nintendo fanboy….

      You are so painfully transparent

    • MarioLand

      Seriously, metacritic is a joke. I’ve played both of these games and the only thing they have in common is the idea of branded characters fighting. They’re completely different games.

  • Forrest fox

    I love both of them, Right now im almost to black belt with my character. Honestly though Playstation all stars took the easy way out with its single player game…for god sakes the last fight is just the polygon team with a face for a boss instead of a hand. Not to mention its only like 8 fights then a cut scene. They could have given us so much more when it comes to that. As much as i like destroying online some mix up would have been nice. Also when you get to the higher ups its only sackboy and papa the rapper. The occasional drake will pop up and barrel spam as well. Dont get me wrong i love the game but its easy to see its flaws. Great article though.

  • name

    This game is better than Superman64, only

  • Of course it’s better. They literally took everything that made Brawl awesome and built on it. Smash Bro’s U will be better than All Stars no doubt about it.

  • Chaos Mechanica

    Great review! I think so many people have been hung up on the game being “a clone” that they’re not giving it a chance. I didn’t like the Beta for the limited time I had of it, but I’ve actually read a ton of good reviews (and i’m surprised it’s at 70 on metacritic according to Vampiric, since i’ve read a lot of 8s and 9s).

  • Dusk

    Someone posted a link to this article on facebook, I’m copy-pasting what I said there.

    Forgive me for saying so but, the article seems to amount to saying not a whole lot from where I’m sitting. I see:

    Unexplained insults towards Smash Bros (maybe I’m not in the target demographic for the article, but I’m unaware as to how Brawl’s design was compromised for the sake of sending a “f*** you” to anyone)

    A blanket statement that the combat system “makes sense” without any elaboration as to the how and why.

    An explanation that the 20 characters are well varied

    A statement that the devs behind the game care that people like it, without elaborating beyond vague comments about a preview version of the game.

    Perhaps it’s that the article is written for an audience that’s already intimately familiar with both PAS and Smash Bros, but it just doesn’t seem to be saying a whole lot, and doesn’t have any elaboration on any topic other than the fact that characters have different movesets.

    • That’s a fair perspective, I glossed over my viewpoint of Sakurai’s design decisions because I wrote another article that established my viewpoint on his addition of tripping and the removal of elements that spawned the competitive melee scene that was so popular. I linked it but in the end I chose not to reiterate it.

      That said, it has been said that I can just assume that people are familiar with what I’m talking about without taking into account that others may just be wildly unfamiliar with any of it.

  • Kazu

    Brawl is still a better game. Content wise, it absolutely DESTROYS All-Stars. Gameplay-wise, it’s still more fun for me. It’s all about the mind games and strategy in Brawl, sure it’s slow paced and has little real combos, but it’s still a lot of fun and requires mental endurance at a high level. That being said, All-Stars is still a lot of fun and I’m near the top of the leaderboards at the moment, so I can’t be considered a hater.

  • RedFlameFox

    I have to say the truth, this game is probably the best game I played in this crappy gen based only on graphics, FPS and motion controllers crap

  • Red Flame Fox

    This game is THAT Old Style I made it my favorite game of this gen !