Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale is, in a word, solid. It boasts perfectly adequate gameplay, an average learning curve, a selection of suitably balanced combatants, and a variety of content sizable enough to keep most gamers satisfied for the duration of their playtime. Yet, despite being a perfectly fine, playable fighting game, it feels a little...sparse. As though there's something inherently lacking - some barrier holding the title back from joining the pantheon of great gaming experiences.
One factor working against the title is that of comparison. By no means is Battle Royale an original concept in the slightest. The fact is, Nintendo beat Sony to the punch years ago when they released Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 64. Two sequels later, and Nintendo has carved out a sizable legacy in the fighting genre, boasting a chaotic, yet functional series chock-full of memorable first-party characters and stages. Naturally, it's not hard to see where Sony drew the influence from, and while Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale is by no means a bad game, it lacks the 'spirit' of Nintendo's comparable franchise.
Of course, despite the inevitable comparison, it's unfair to judge one game based on the merits of another. Still, Battle Royale, despite all its functionality, comes across as a bit disjointed at times. In sheer aesthetic terms, the game runs very well and is certainly pretty to look at, but never reaches truly notable technical heights. While playability trumps visual appeal in the fighting genre, there are still moments when the game seems to lack atmosphere or any original style, and those moments can hamper the player's overall enjoyment of the title and detract from replayability.
The available character roster is of a decent scope, featuring a respectable selection of around 20 characters, with a diverse range of play-styles that keeps the battlefield ripe with tactical possibilities. Speaking of the battlefield, the game opts for a unique approach to combat heavily reliant on building up enough power to unleash deadly 'super' attacks. These attacks are built up through normal hits, and the subsequent super attacks the player unlocks can often heavily tip the tide of battle. While imbued with a general sense of chaos akin to that of the Smash Bros. franchise, there's an underlying tactical theme to combat that takes a good bit of time to acclimate to accordingly. You might found yourself initially turned off by the way combat is handled, as I was, but stick with it and the system opens up.
Despite commenting on the game's lack of truly distinguishing features, by no means am I dismissing the title outright. It's not forgettable, but it's not exceedingly memorable. It's a well-made game, but it doesn't possess the typical flair expected of an exclusive, first-party title. It accomplishes what it sets out to do just fine, and does it respectably enough without being terribly innovative. It's a fun title, if not a truly great one, that should easily appease both Playstation fans and fans of fighting games.