Disclaimer: For Some reason I never posted this back when the game came out. But putting it out there for anyone that may still want to read.
I would to preface that I have not played many solo PS games since PS one. As a result, I am not familiar with many of the characters or their back stories. There are character bios, but that doesn’t connect me to the character like playing hours of all the Nintendo games that helped me get attached to those featured in Smash brothers. I am a huge fan of Smash brothers, and have played and owned each console version from N64 to the Wii. I am hoping for a WiiU version soon. Wait, isn’t this about? oh yea…
After this game was first announced many cried “Smash Brother’s rip off.” As a loyal and die hard SB fan, I did not feel the same way. At the time Smash brothers was created, it changed the fighting genre. How? Because it allowed people to play a fighting game without having to spend time learning all the combos and combo breakers and finishing moves. Yet, it remained challenging enough that the casual gamer was still set apart from the hardcore. Is and was SB unique – Yes. Did it create a nitch in the gaming world – Yes. But I also believe it created a sub-genre withing the Fighting genre. What would that be called? I have no clue and it may already exist; feel free to leave a comment if you have a good one. Before I dive into a Review specific on the game, I would like to write a brief summary of the SB type games I’ve played. This is so you’ll understand where I’m coming from in the review. If you want to skip it, just go to the next paragraph. Genre
When games like TMNT Smash Up, Cartoon Network’s Punchtime Explosion XL, and now PlayStation’s All Stars Battle Royale come into the gaming world, I am not surprised. Fellow game companies saw the success and mass appeal Smash Brothers gained in N64 and watched it grow on GameCube and the Wii. Once the Wii version came out, some of the employees who worked on the project helped create TMNT Smash up. Many fans were excited for a “EP” if you will. Something to hold us off until the next Smash Brothers game would come out. However, many, including my friends and the mass public, have been disappointed with all the other attempts to make a game like Smash Brothers. I will say personally, I really enjoyed the TMNT Smash Up. I never bought it because of my friends, but I would buy it used in a heartbeat once I get the WiiU, right along with Smash Brothers Brawl (no I never got rid of it, my Wii and all my games were stolen – it just wasn’t worth getting it back after losing all those hours I invested in unlocking everything. That and I got a PS3). TMNT Smash Up, could have had a more in depth story mode, especially when compared to Brawl, but for the first run at it, I thought it was decent. I loved the original art specific for the game. I enjoyed the similarities that made me feel at home with SB yet differences to make it a unique game of its own. The character selection was good but the bench was shallow; my biggest disappointment. Something DLC’s would now fix. Here’s hoping to a sequel on the WiiU. I rented Cartoon Network’s version but didn’t play it very long. At the time I had no one to play against and when it comes to this type of game, I prefer to play local over online. Local brings a dynamic aspect to this style of game so I can’t really say whether I liked it or not. But I may pick it up used someday just to have it. I also didn’t spend much time on the story mode.
Onto my knee jerk reaction to the game. I was pretty excited about this game. Similar to TMNT Smash Up, it felt like another game that should turn out really well and will hold me off until the next Smash Brothers. PlayStation seemed to push it pretty heavy so I was positive going into it. I didn’t get it launch week or month, but I decided to buy it on my birthday last Friday.
Roster: As they released the roster I honestly didn’t connect with a lot of the characters. I didn’t get the excitement like I did when Snake was announced for SB or when we discovered Sonic was in Brawl. I had quite the opposite reaction. Parappa the Rapper? Granted, one of the first music type games to get popular but still struck me as odd. I was and am disappointed that Crash Bandicoot is not in this game. He better be a DLC. I know Sony never made him to be their Mascot like Sonic for Sega or Mario for Nintendo. But for awhile his games were exclusive to Sony and imo, Sonic’s and Mario’s competition. I would have gotten more excited for this game if iconic characters like Crash or Spyro had been on the launch roster.
Visual and Audio: All the teaser videos I saw looked promising. The levels, characters, details, all looked well thought out and done right. It held true. The opening scene is pretty sweet and I’ve really enjoyed all the music thus far. I also do like the HD side of this game whereas SB Brawl was lacking. I will say, that this game is slightly misleading. What do I mean? When a SB like game is created, it’s automatically thought of as family friendly. TMNT and CNPTEXL were, but this is not. This is a game with many mature characters thrown into one ring. The Hades level I wouldn’t even play while my 3 year old nephew was checking out the game with me. Dante also swears while preforming some of his moves. There isn’t any gore like your finishing moves in Mortal Combat, at least none I’ve seen, but it’s a little more intense than your Smash Brothers cartoon friendliness for all ages. Just remember that in many of the levels it reflects the contents of the games the characters come from.
Level Select: Since I hit on this in the above I will just saw that I was impressed. I enjoyed the dynamic as well as still levels. I also like how multiple games are brought out into one level and how after a certain amount of time or things are destroyed the level may change. As with any dynamic/moving levels it has it’s advantages and disadvantages. Certain levels may give a class of fighter the edge over the others.
Items: One word – Pathetic. Yup, again this is from a not very familiar with these games point of few. Regardless after playing the game for a few hours I think there may have been 10 or so items. If there are more to be unlocked that is yet to be unseen but I was not impressed when comparing it to the vault of items SB brings to the table.
Controls: Exactly like SSB Brawl. You have your attacks, jump, double jump, block, doge, air dodge, air attacks, direction attacks, directional throws, etc.
Gameplay: It seems to be a mixture of SSB and your traditional fighting games. How so? Well, for one you don’t go flying off the level. You often hit an invisible wall allowing for your enemy to corner you if you’re not careful. There’s no percentage damage bar or life bar. So how do you knock off your opponents? You need to gain AP points to level up your special attacks from level 1-3. Each level as you go takes longer to achieve. You gain AP points by beating up the other players of course 🙂 You can also lose AP points as well or gain them through AP boxes. When you release your special attack, if you land it successfully you’ll instantly KO your opponent(s). However, most special attacks can be dodged or avoided, so you need to learn them and how/when to use/place them. If done well, you can take out more than one opponent at a time. There are various modes like SSB’s Time, or Stock. But it has at least one unique mode (didn’t try it all out yet) where you can set a number of KO’s and whoever gets to lets say 3 first wins.
Unlockables: So far I haven’t unlocked any new stages or characters. But there is an interesting ranking system for each character. As you increase each characters rank it will unlock specific content related to that characters game. Most of it so far is costumes, or content to add to your online gaming card. I have Donte at level 12 and I saw in the unlockables sections some items require Rank 300 to obtain them…. O.o Reminds me of needing to beat the crazy long hard mode in TMNT Smash Up just to get an outfit. No way am I using every character that much. If my friends and I play it a lot I’m sure it will happen, eventually.
Arcade Mode: Lacking. This Arcade mode reminds me of your 2D fighting games like the old school Mortal Combat. Where there was no story mode. But with this kind of fighting game I’ve come accustomed to getting one. SSB Brawl’s was amazing. Even TMNT Smash Up had something to offer. Here, you get a few dramatic pictures with vocals and some cut scenes if you’re lucky. The oddest part though is there’s no ladder to mark your progress. You have a bunch of battles, a mini boss fight, and then a boss fight. But no idea when it’ll be over until it is. The storyline was so bad I lost interest and don’t even know what it’s about. The final boss made no sense and there was no connection with why I was fighting. It seemed senseless and without purpose. Like I was back on NES with the original Mortal Combat. The final boss spits out one random character, then crashes so you can beat him up a bit, then two random characters, crashes, then three (which can get difficult cuz they’re all after you) then crashes, then it’s over. I just expected SO MUCH more than what I received. I will not enjoy playing this solo content if I need to to unlock certain things.
Overall Personal Opinion: Awful. Really? Yes.
I am disappointed and found myself frustrated most of the time. Okay, it could just be me, but I felt like what I was trying to do never connected quite right. It was like something was off. It was exactly like SB Brawl, but at the same time, not. I couldn’t and can’t place my finger on it yet. The blocking isn’t the same either, there’s no shield like Brawl. The other problem is that since you can get backed into corners like a traditional 2D fighting game, it’s hard to get out. Remember, no combos, no combo breakers, no escape. The game also felt very unbalanced. Mainly by one character – Kratos. In SB we see the stronger characters evened out by being slower or with shorter reach. Kratos is not only strong, he’s quick, and his reach is ridiculous. In this game it seems the characters with reach have the upper hand. Though some characters are balanced by their special attacks, it’s easy for someone to get Kratos to level 1 and 2 before the other characters can get to 3 to recover or catch up. Why am I convinced? Well one, my nephew who I can beat with any character in a fair fight of SB Brawl, kicked my butt. 2, in the arcade mode I went 1v1v2. I was one, and so was Kratos with 2 other AI’s on the same team. Kratos kicked my butt and the 2 AI team’s butt 3 times in a row. They were all on the same difficulty as well. I need to give this another chance when I play with my other friends who love SSB. But I have a feeling they’ll be disappointed like I am as they were with TMNT Smash Up.
Feel free to leave your opinion of the game below. If you paid full price like I did, I hope you are enjoying it more than I am.