In Super Smash Bros., you win by attacking and trying to knock each other off the stage. The more damage a player incurs, the further they fly when hit. You can either play under a time limit for the most kills or a survival match with a limited stock of lives (and there are also several other modes that are more unique but less played). In PlayStation All-Stars, dealing damage increases your AP meter which you use for special attacks. The specials have three levels, and you can choose to use your special whenever it's filled up to at least level one; a level three special attack is best, but takes longer to charge. These specials are the only way to kill your opponents, so the goal of the game is to charge your special, use it to kill the other players, and get the most kills.
Already, that's pretty darn different from Smash Bros.. Does it work? So far, yes, and it's quite fun. Requiring you to use super attacks also requires you to be aggressive and makes it impossible to steal someone else's kill. But what I'm more interested in and what I haven't seen others cover in detail, are the more technical aspects of the gameplay. For a comparison, here's a rundown of how fighting works in modern Smash Bros. games:
|The difference between a "tilt" and a smash attack. Source: Smash Bros. Dojo|
|The official website provides a move list for each character.|
While I like that there are three attack buttons and I think that the goal of killing with supers is fun, I couldn't help but feel like this game's controls just weren't as tight as those in Super Smash Bros.. It isn't anything major, but the little things add up to a feeling that it could have been more polished. Whether it's the inability to run at different speeds, quickly change direction while running, fast-fall, the hard-to-follow character models, unclear guarding animation, and clumsy grabs and item pickup, PlayStation All-Stars just doesn't give the player the control that would have been ideal for such a fast paced and chaotic game. Don't get me wrong, I'm loving the beta and think it's a blast to play, but there are some subtle improvements that would have bee nice. It's too soon to say whether character balance will hold up or how the rest of the game is, but I'm interested to see how it will fare with competitive gamers when the full game is released on November 20th.