Gamer's Piece: Nintendo and Sony’s ‘Battle Royale’
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 22:09
For more than a decade, Nintendo has owned gamers’ hearts and screens with its super-successful “Super Smash Bros.” series. Its madcap action, simple but addicting fighting mechanics and one dozen complimentary, competitive characters ended up becoming the gaming chocolate to a four-player gaming session’s peanut butter.
As storied and famous as the franchise is, there have only been three games, essentially one per Nintendo console life-cycle. This means we’re closing in on five years since the last one. A competitor could fill that gap pretty well.
Sony means to do just that this fall with “Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale,” a fighting game on the PS3 that should be a direct competitor to “Smash Bros.” While fanboys on the Internet have been crying foul over Sony’s alleged aping of the classic franchise, “Battle Royale” should be looked at as its own entity. At the moment, it has at least some of the pedigree it needs to improve on Nintendo’s flagship fighter, or at least stand out on its own.
First of all, “Battle Royale” will have a fully-fledged online mode. Between mediocre speed and Nintendo’s hands-off “friend code” experiment, it wasn’t really easy or fun to play “Brawl” online. With Playstation Network’s high-quality service, it’s not hard to figure Sony’s going to have an advantage there.
The gameplay of each seems similar, but “Battle Royale” has enough twists to become somewhat unique. “Smash” succeeds largely because players are in a 24/7 fight to the death; any pause means something could knock you off the stage to kingdom come. “Battle Royale” changes this up by removing level hazards; now, you can only die at a foe’s hand.
This isn’t great because it removes spontaneity from the game. With no Bob-ombs randomly dropping onto the map, a sense of urgency will be removed, though this means more emphasis may be put on player skill.
Smash Balls have also been chopped and screwed by “Battle Royale,” which turns them into power levels – each one is more powerful, and Level 3 attacks are the equivalent to a Smash attack. This power-up mode is better than Smash Balls, though, as it emphasizes player skill. It’s not like “Brawl,” where one Landmaster can be the difference between fourth and first place.
Finally, the cast lists of each game differ, though that’s largely based on personal preference. “Smash” has Nintendo’s 35+ character cast; “Battle Royale” has famous Playstation characters from their past. Some are kinda lame, like Fat Princess or Sony’s Japanese mascot Toro. However, it’ll soon be possible to make Parappa the Rapper, Ratchet and Clank, Sly Cooper and Kratos fight to the death. While that’s not Link vs. Samus, it sounds pretty appealing to me.