Playstation All-Stars Trailer Exposes Its Core Weakness

Do you see it?

The problem with Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale isn’t the awful title, the obvious similarity to Nintendo’s Smash Brothers franchise, or the questionable depth of Sony’s roster of first-party mascots. That depth is there; the larger concern is whether or not anyone still cares about the characters Sony is digging up. It’s more of an illusion, some vaguely legendary history that only exists because it’s being forced to exist.

No, the real weakness with All-Stars isn’t the cast, but rather just how loose or nonexistent the connections are between that cast. That’s not so say that Mario was ever hanging out with Captain Falcon or that Princess Peach was fooling around with Link while the plumber was out on one of his “jobs”, but Nintendo’s ensemble at least shares a strong aesthetic similarity. Like the Disney princesses or Pixar’s bottomless menegerie of talking animals, you can buy those characters existing within the same world even if you know that they don’t.

Sony doesn’t have that advantage. At best, they have one foot out of the bed here: about half of the characters in that trailer could co-exist in the same manner as Nintendo’s cast, if it weren’t for that other half also being there. Parappa, the skeleton thing from MediEval, and Sack Boy? Sure! Those three plus Nathan Drake and the guy from the Killzone box? Now we have a problem.

Solid Snake worked in Smash Brothers Brawl because he was reworked just enough to fit in with Nintendo’s other human characters. In the case of All-Stars, it’s cute lil’ mascots versus “dudes with guns”. There’s a weird disconnect at work here, a style clash, and it makes Sony’s line-up of first-party franchises look even less cohesive than it already is. That’s the weakness.

When your anthology collection of historical characters falls behind Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing in terms of optics, you’re doing something wrong.

Source: Topless Robot.

2 thoughts on “Playstation All-Stars Trailer Exposes Its Core Weakness”

  1. To be honest, everyone raves about the Smash Brothers roster as proof of Nintendo’s awesome depth of legacy characters but even a lot of them are fairly unimportant. Samus was a non-entity for eight years, Ness is from a Super Nintendo RPG that left no lasting impressing on the public conciousness, Kirby has a game every year and is still very much a B-level character.

    Nintendo really has two classic characters: Mario and Link. Everyone else is padding. That’s not to criticise Nintendo. Any company is much the same. The only difference is that Sony is missing a big name that people equate to the brand. They only need one, then they can stuff as many other ancillary characters they want into this thing.

  2. I guess I just have more fond memories of Sony than most people? You can draw comparisons with these two companies in a lot of ways, but if you asked me “Hey, why the fuck is Fat Princess in there? She only had one (sort of two) games to her name!” I would say “Why the fuck is Ice Climbers anywhere? Their game wasn’t even that good!”

    I love Smash Bros and all that, but after playing the Beta for all-stars I am truly excited. It plays great, and the odd mashup just WORKS for me. Why? It’s funny. Just as it is funny to see Captain Falcon punch Yoshi in the gob, it is funny to see Radec (…the Killzone guy) try to murder Sackboy with bullets.

    Snake was no more tweaked than Drake, or Radec are to fit into the game. Sure, Metal Gear has many tounge in cheek elements, which helps, but I don’t see a big disparate void as you do between the franchises.

    Does Nintendo have more characters? Yes, but they also have an extra decade on Sony in the gaming business. However, when the first Smash Brothers was released, they had…what, 12 characters, if I remember correctly? Even then, they were doubling up and having to stretch to some obscure franchises. That is cool, that is the charm of the game, but criticizing Sony for doing the same thing is a bit unfair.

    Granted, the nostalgia for ’95-2000 era games is a lot less than the 8-bit stuff, but who cares? It’s a fun game. Sony has fun characters. Let fun games be fun.

    Also, as I have said in the past, having Polygon Man as the last boss shows that the developers “get it”.

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