There sure are a lot of crossovers going on. And I do love me some crossovers. A crossover between all of Sony’s characters was something I’ve been waiting for for the longest. After the success of Marvel vs. Capcom and Super Smash Bros., I’ve been waiting for something like this to happen. Back then though, there wasn’t a lot of characters to go around in the Sony department. But now, that roster has grown and a game like this is now possible. From the outset you can see that this game is heavily, heavily inspired by the Smash Bros. series, right down to the color and arrangement of the HUD (except for the timer, which is at the bottom). Even the physics seem to resemble that of Smash Bros. Brawl. But Sony seems to be doing a few things differently to make it stand out a bit.
So far the only good hands-on preview of the game comes from Dale North of Destructoid. I highly suggest you read his preview as he details the controls, physics, and how scores are handed out to players. Instead of percentage and ringouts, everything is determined by KOs. And KOs are done by doing Super Moves. And you can do Super Moves by building up a meter. For example, in the video above (and picture below), you can see that happen with Parappa’s Skateboard when he collides with another character. He gets a point for every KO he dishes out. If he himself gets KOed, he gets a point deducted. In Smash terms, think a non-stock regular timed match and the only way to score was a KOing someone with a Final Smash. This will definitely get more people motivated to actually get in the fray and land some hits, rather than stand back and letting the other guys fight it out (like I did… a lot). Remember, in Playstation All-stars, there is no percentage or life meter. All there is is a super meter that you build up, and you can only score KO by hitting someone with a Super Move.
Now if you look everywhere where there is talk of Playstation All-Stars, you’ll see comments saying that this is a rip-off of Super Smash Bros. Even I’m drawing comparisons to Smash in that previous paragraph. But hey, a little competition didn’t hurt. Look at Crash Team Racing, or Sonic and the Sega All-Stars Racing, which were inspired by Mario Kart. Those were some damn fine games. And Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, the game everyone called a God of War clone, was a damn good and one of the few 3D Castlevania games that was actually good. Hell, we would’ve probably never had God of War were it not for Devil May Cry. Or even Sonic without Mario. Or even Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest without Dungeons & Dragons. Or hell, Zork without Adventure. They way I see it, if you’re going to copy someone, do it good.
An article over at 3DS Buzz hits the nail on the head in saying that this might actually be good for fans of Smash Bros. For years Nintendo has remained largely uncontested in the mascot fighter genre. The much loved Jump Superstars had limited success (if only because it was Japan-Only), and that TMNT Smash-Up game was terrible and a good example of a game copying someone poorly (and being remembered mostly for that). In a way, you can see Nintendo simply resting on laurels and getting fat off the success. There were many good things in Brawl, and yes I do like it better than Melee. But you can see Nintendo half-ass certain aspects of the game, like a rushed ending of the Adventure mode, crappy online play, and some admittedly lackluster Trophies compared to the really informative ones from Melee. Maybe Playstation All-Stars might be that jolt that Sakurai needs to finally wake up and make the next Smash Bros. the best that it could be. And really think seriously into the connectivity the next Smash will have between the Wii U and the 3DS, ’cause I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony does the same with their Vita.
One other aspect Nintendo could improve upon that Sony is doing is fan feedback. As the 3DS Buzz article states, Nintendo has largely remained mum on the subject of fans (or simply left all the decision making to Japanese gamers). While fans probably had some control over what was implemented, it was all largely us just wishing for stuff and hoping Nintendo saw it put it in the next Smash game. SuperBot, the developers of Playstation All-Stars, are actively looking at feedback from gamers on what to put in the game, and dear lord do we want a lot of things. So far Nintendo has been slowly opening their communications with their fans. But for the next Smash, they should just open the floodgates and really listen to the feedback from fans insteading of taking a “Daddy Knows Best” approach for most of the things they do. I can tell you lots of people miss Roy, and lots of people… okay me, want Shulk in the game, along with King-of-Fighters style Team Battles… okay I’m shutting up now. That’ll be its own article soon.