Playstation All-Stars: Battle Royale deserved better, that is really what it boils down to.
The problem really isn't that SuperBot quite clearly ripped off Smash Bros. as much as it is that by ripping-off Smash Bros. they've disrespected the Playstation brand on their first title. Sony makes it worse by being okay with this. Everything that makes Playstation what it is is jettisoned for a "me too" 2D brawler.
Let's be clear - Sony has every right to make their own cross-over brawler but crossovers aren't just about your favorite video game characters hitting each other. They're also about celebrating what you've created and what makes your
So ask yourself: What makes Playstation's brands different? How are they different from Nintendo, Microsoft or Valve?
If you have a comic book where Batman and Spiderman meet, it needs to be more than Batman taking down Kingpin and Spiderman being funnier than The Joker. Batman and Spiderman have their own ways about doing things. They also have common ground and relationships that can mirror each other. By setting aside their more negative differences and embracing their best qualities to have them work together, you get these little moments of growth for Bruce Wayne and Peter Parker. You're reminded of why you came to love these two guys in the first place.
Nintendo tends to go for this in a more historical sense and Square-Enix opts for copious amounts of fanservice, but whether its Smash Bros or Dissidia there are these special moments.
A poignant moment of Super Smash Bros. Brawl was when Samus rescued Pikachu from a device that exploited him for his electrical abilities. The characters quickly bonded after Pikachu's rescue and assisted each other in their escape of the facility.
Was there not a time where Samus rescued another child-like creature exploited for its abilities and it assisted her in an escape? The warrior became a mother and the child an equal as a protector. Isn't Pokemon's story about the bond of friendship between pet and master? These two characters with totally different origins and games come together to express some of the most notable and heartfelt aspects of their character.
Kratos has a lot of reasons to be an angry god but Rau from the Mark of Kri has totally different motives for his rage as a mortal. Kratos is plagued by loss, mistakes and driven by revenge. Rau is simply angry because his people and his only family in his sister were threatened. Rau had great responsibilities in his life and didn't want to lose those he loved. Obviously we have some differences and common ground here. Kratos had a family, but then he got mad. Oops.
I'd love to see these two characters team up for an action game. I've been kind of sad that not only was Rau left behind on backward compatibility, but also that Mark of Kri never got an HD collection or even a spot as a PS2 Classic. Mark of Kri might not have been a big seller for Sony, but it was still an incredibly special and ambitious game that warrants remembrance - a 3D action game with the hand-drawn animation sensibilities driving the 3D animation. It was a lovely game for its time.
I think Rau deserves another shot and meeting up with Kratos could get his name out there. People would buy a game just because Kratos was in it, so why not get Mark of Kri kickstarted again? And in doing this, Sony has copied no one else but themselves. A toon-style Kratos would also be awesome and he could be just as violent as always because MoK was also bloody. There's not much to lose here.
Nostalgic waxing aside, there's also the matter of the origin and identity of the Playstation characters. I wrinkle my nose at a 2D Smash presentation because 2D just is not where Playstation characters come from. Every character in SSB has a reason to be in 2D - its where most of them began, even guest characters like Sonic or Solid Snake. Playstation characters are not of the NES or SNES era, Most of those characters actually come from that second golden age we call the Playstation 2.
PS2 is where the majority of these characters were born, so I would have appreciated them in a 3D brawler as it that is part of their DNA, so to speak. Throwing them in the 2D setting Nintendo favors disrespects them as Sony characters. 2D is awesome, but its not Playstation. Had this been a 3D brawler, Sony could have borrowed or expanded upon whatever else they wanted and people would have been okay with that, I mean, its not like Capcom uses
Power Stone for anything.
What really gets me, though, is we have people telling those that call it a "rip-off" to not judge a book by its cover. Well, how many Sony gamers have willingly passed on some great Nintendo first party titles simply because Wii doesn't display HD or have high-capacity storage? That's judging a book by its cover, plenty of people dismiss Nintendo's efforts in that way. So are people wrong when they call Playstation a rip-off when it really does have the looks of Smash Bros.?
Nope, they reserve the right to have such criticisms. Its hard not to see it unless you just wish to be willfully ignorant or had never seen a Smash Bros. game.
But the real tragedy here is that this should have been a celebration for Playstation's successes. All-Stars deserved to be its own game, its own celebration. Instead we're clearly getting a party Nintendo has thrown a few times because it can make money for Sony. Ugh.
Finally, we have people who say that they only care about fun. I can't argue with that, but for me part of the fun of these games is both a reverence for your roots and the ability to poke fun at yourself. Sony does have its own special place in history for me, but when its presented to me this way it feels as fake as Lana Del Rey.
I don't find that fun.
We deserve better and Sony's creations certainly do. But I guess Smash Bros.sells and that's all the reason Sony needs to emulate it. Copying GTA totally made Jak II better, right?
And yet Killzone only tried to beat Halo, not be
Halo. Uncharted gave us another way to steal ancient treasure without getting a Lara Croft boob job. Resistance explores a concept I've never really seen with alien invasions. Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are stand-out works of art. Mark of Kri defied the need for realism in a time gamers demanded it and it looked great in its defiance. Ratchet and Clank could have been another vanilla platformer, but its weaponry is what sets it apart from the pack. Chicken guns, yo. Who wouldn't want to see Parappa with a chicken gun and rap about it?
Or at least step, turn and signal to the right?
Playstation characters have had stand-out moments. They simply deserve a game that stands out and celebrates what they are. Playstation All-Stars isn't an insult to me as a Nintendo fan, but it does remind me of why I sold my PS3 in the first place. Even if they do have some of the fanservice, its marred by imitation and a lack of respect for its roots.
I respect what Sony created, I just wish Sony would respect it, too.