Review: PlayStation icons join in 'Battle Royale'

Dec 13, 2012 by Lou Kesten
This video game image released by Sony shows a scene from "PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale." (AP Photo/Sony)

The holiday season is a good time to catch up with old friends. If you're an Xbox fan, you're probably getting reacquainted with galactic warrior Master Chief in his new adventure, "Halo 4." If you're a Nintendophile, you're probably frolicking with Mario on your new Wii U.

Sony, meanwhile, has expanded its holiday guest list to invite nearly two decades worth of characters to mix it up in "PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale" (for the , $59.99; Vita, $39.99). Fans of the original PlayStation can welcome back old pals like Sir Daniel Fortesque of "MediEvil" and the title character of "Parappa the Rapper." Younger gamers who have only known the PS3 will be happy to see Nathan Drake from "Uncharted" and Cole MacGrath from "Infamous." Turn them loose in an assortment of game-inspired arenas and you've got chaos.

It's not an original idea: Nintendo has been pitting its lovable characters against each other since 1999's "Super Smash Bros." As you'd expect, "All-Stars" lets up to four players choose their favorite personalities and pound on each other until one is left standing.

The technique is a change from most fighting games. Most of the time, kicking or punching your opponent doesn't do much damage. Instead, each blow adds to an attack meter; build up enough energy and you can unleash three levels of truly deadly moves. There's a little more strategy, but most players won't find it too complicated.

The solo campaign is awfully skimpy, but "All-Stars" makes for a lively party when you have a few friends over. Two-and-a-half stars out of four.

— Sony's burlap-clad goofball Sackboy is part of the "All-Stars" lineup, but he takes center stage in "LittleBigPlanet Karting" ($59.99).

Yes, it's a go-kart racer—a genre that has already made room for Mario, Donkey Kong and Sonic the Hedgehog—but Sony freshens it up by giving you the ability to build your own racetracks and share them online. By exploring the game's built-in courses, you can find hundreds of elements to add to your own, and they all share the homespun "arts-and-crafts" aesthetic of the original "."

Unfortunately, "LBP Karting" also revives the weird, floaty physics of its parent. That worked fine in the two-dimensional fantasy world of "LBP," but it's annoying when you're behind the wheel. The tracks are filled with the power-ups, obstacles and gravity-defying leaps you'd expect in a kart racer, but the vehicles themselves feel sluggish and unresponsive. Two stars.

—Insomniac Games' popular "lombax"-robot buddies are celebrating their 10th anniversary, both in "All-Stars" and their own "Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault" ($19.99). The latter game, however, is a big disappointment, stripping away most of what made the team so endearing.

It's a "base defense" game, meaning you're plopped down on a planet and then have to protect your turf from waves of invading enemies. That eliminates the exploration and discovery that made most of the "R&C" games so absorbing, replacing it with a tiresome cycle of building fortifications, having them destroyed, then rebuilding them. Instead of the comedy that was once this series' trademark, you get drudgery. One star.

Explore further: Beyond GoPro: Skiers and snowboarders can measure everything with apps, hardware

More information: www.playstationallstarsbattleroyale.com/
littlebigplanet.com/games/littlebigplanet-karting
www.insomniacgames.com/games/r… ull-frontal-assault/

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Review: `The Show' still swinging for the fences

Mar 15, 2012

(AP) -- No video game can duplicate the drama of the end of the 2011 Major League Baseball season. You remember: The historic collapse of the Red Sox. The Rays' late-inning recovery from a seven-run deficit ...

Gift Guide: Winners for every kind of gamer

Dec 06, 2010

Nearly three-quarters of American households own a device that's used specifically for video games, whether it's a console, a handheld device or a dedicated computer, according to Nielsen Co. Add to that all ...

Sony gears up for PlayStation Vita's Japan launch

Dec 15, 2011

Sony's long-awaited PlayStation Vita portable game machine hits stores in Japan on Saturday, with the company predicting brisk sales even though the launch has missed much of the holiday shopping season.

Remodeled PlayStation Home opening doors

Nov 02, 2011

Sony on Thursday will open the doors of a remodeled PlayStation Home that puts the focus on games in a virtual world that merges console-quality play with hot trends in online social gaming.

Recommended for you

Microsoft beefs up security protection in Windows 10

48 minutes ago

What Microsoft users in business care deeply about—-a system architecture that supports efforts to get their work done efficiently; a work-centric menu to quickly access projects rather than weather readings ...

Team infuses science into 'Minecraft' modification

20 hours ago

The 3-D world of the popular "Minecraft" video game just became more entertaining, perilous and educational, thanks to a comprehensive code modification kit, "Polycraft World," created by University of Texas at Dallas professors, ...

Microsoft's Garage becomes an incubator of consumer apps

22 hours ago

For five years now, The Garage has served as Microsoft's incubator for employees' passion projects, an internal community of engineers, designers, hardware tinkerers and others from all different parts of the company who ...

Students win challenge for real-time traffic app

22 hours ago

Three University of Texas at Arlington Computer Science and Engineering students have won a $10,000 prize in the NTx Apps Challenge for a smart traffic light network that adjusts traffic light schedules to ...

User comments : 0