I sure have reviewed a mess of fighting games this year, and I am ending it with a brand new entry into the genre. PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale is an ambitious game in that it combines some of my favorite PlayStation icons, throws them into an arena where only one may survive, and then lets me fight it out ala Smash Bros style. Boy was I glad to have Prima‘s PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale strategy guide by my side for this jaunt into unfamiliar territory.
Like all good fighting game strategy guides, Prima started with a look at the game mechanics. Now what threw me for a loop is the fact that this is the first guide to include an actual Vita button scheme breakdown. I would also normally recommend that veterans skim this portion of the guide while novices invest some time reading every detail. However, with this being a totally new game, I found it to be extremely useful. It made walking into the arena that much more bearable as I was not futzing around trying to learn how this fighter worked, how the UI presented info, or how combo strings worked. So spend some time here, as there is a good amount of info that will aid any brawler.
After readers wrap their head around how a ring-out works or how the nudge mechanics alter your movement, it is time to pick that favorite character or three and read up on their techniques, strengths, and weaknesses. The authors do a nice job of going into great detail for each playable character in this game. What I enjoyed is that it is not all charts and move listings, but rather some text allowing readers to figure out how to incorporate a particular move or combo into their fighting toolbox. Seriously, spending some time studying this portion while utilizing the training room made life so much easier.
Now we get to what is probably my favorite section of this guide: the levels chapter. This caught me by surprise, as I have not had a chance to see something like this in other fighting game guides. Things like how a stage changes over the course of battle, trouble spots, Easter eggs, and strategies all get their moment in the sun here. It not only helps players learn the battlegrounds, but it also shows how much effort went into making fun and unique arenas.
From there it is onto the extra pieces that bring this game together, starting with the various items for use. This includes a small detailed section on what an item does, its game of origin, and some stats on why one may want to use an LR-3 Railgun over a Leech Beam.
Following items is a small portion dedicated to getting people through the arcade mode. I found this rather thorough in how to handle each fight, while not being overly preachy. I did rely on the characters portion a bit as well to help me finish this mode with ease.
Completionists will undoubtedly spend a bit of time in the combat trials area. The writers break down what needs to be accomplished in order to succeed in obtaining every rank and bonus. The description is also a key to handling the various trials, but these are no joke so be prepared to get frustrated as no amount of reading can prepare one for the skills necessary.
The last pages contain all the rewards, goals, and trophies. Anyone looking at how to obtain a Fat Princess icon or Sly Cooper wallpaper will find these areas invaluable. I do admit, looking through this again, I want to go back and try to score a few trophies and eye candy items. Completion junkies, this is your bread and butter.
I guess the downside to this strategy guide lies in the character breakdown section, and honestly this is just a minor nitpick. Each character ends with a nice chunk on advanced strategies. I found these more as a starting point on how this fighter differs from others and some basic techniques I need to nail down before jumping online. As any fighting veteran knows, duking it out online requires a completely new skill-set versus playing AI opponents. In addition, as Sony introduces game balances, these strategies may shift and change throughout the life of this game. Again, this is not the fault of Prima but rather the nature of the beast.
While I have my issues with how PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale plays and behaves, this is one of the best fighting strategy guides I have reviewed. The stage section and goodies portions make it worthwhile alone. I must also say, I played the Vita version of the game and this guide required almost no translation to provide its full benefits. This is the missing manual for the game.
SGR Rating 4/5
Author: Josh Richardson, David Brothers, Sam Bishop
Publisher: Prima Games
Editions Available: Paperback
Acquired via Publisher