Hands-On With Dante And Raiden In Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale

By Kris . September 6, 2012 . 1:20pm

At PAX, I got a chance to play a few rounds of Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale. Having just played Metal Gear Rising and DmC: Devil May Cry, I decided to give new Dante and Black Raiden a whirl.


I started with Dante, whose control layout was a bit odd. In general, his sword and scythe attacks were on the Square button and his gun attacks were on Triangle. While that was reversed from DmC, it didn’t take too long to get used to it. While the Square attacks kind of comboed together into a mashy blur, I was particularly fond of using “Rain Storm,” in which Dante spins downwards firing his guns in the air (mapped to down and triangle) before entering a crowd of people with a “Helm Breaker” (down and square in the air).


Forward and Triangle on the ground had Dante walk by an opponent while peppering them with shots, a really cool-looking attack, but one that resulted in me getting hit a lot, since it provided me little defense from any character I was not shooting. However, it seemed pretty easy to combo a few square attacks into that attack, so I kept using it. In fact, as a general rule, Dante’s moves seemed pretty comboable, so I had quite a bit of fun trying to recreate combos that I’d done in my time with DmC.


Now, Circle was a different beast entirely. While neutral Circle would act as a parry of sorts, forward-Circle was essentially an air dash forward. At first I thought the button was exclusively for defensive or evasive moves until I noticed that down and circle would have Dante throw the blade of his demonic axe. What’s Circle’s official designation? I have no idea, but the air dash was pretty handy for covering a lot of ground.


Like all PlayStation All-Stars characters, Dante could jump with X, block with L1 (and dodge-roll by pressing left or right while doing so), pick up items with R1, and had three different throws mapped to right stick forward, down, and up (although I primarily used the forward throw, since it felt strange to press the right stick down when the opponent was directly in front of me). As far as the R2-mapped supers (which, bear in mind, are the only way to get kills in the game since normal attacks and falling off of ledges doesn’t do anything), I could only ever seem to hit with the level one, which was a slash that out the people directly in front of me. Whenever I tried my level 2, I was hit out of it.


Moving on, although I played Raiden in two rounds, I felt like I understood him even less than I did Dante… but it was balanced out by the fact that what I lacked in knowledge, Raiden made up for in lethality.


Square attacks for him seemed to be “normal” strikes, whereas his Triangle attacks were heavy… kind of like Rising, actually. Like Dante, Circle for Raiden acted as a parry, which helped me get out of the middle of crowd situations since his slashes covered so much ground.


To be frank, Raiden was a bit of a blur of the wide-reaching, enemy launching Triangle attacks. While it was never really clear how to gain energy more efficiently, hitting multiple enemies with these attacks would let me use Raiden’s brutal supers more frequently. The level one had Raiden hold his High Frequency blade on his foot and breakdance, which allowed me to kill anyone who was close enough on either side of me.


Raiden’s level 2 was interesting. It slowed down everyone who was in range and if I pressed Square, Raiden would slash at whatever was in front of him. Even non-slowed enemies could be killed by these slashes, but there was quite a bit of recovery time after each slash. Nobody ever hit me during the duration of the level 2 supers I used, so I wonder if that cancels out of the insta-kill mode.


While I had fun with what I played of Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale, I left the game still confused (but with a couple of wins under my belt). I played as two characters whose buttons seemed to work completely differently, with little rhyme or reason as to why certain combinations of buttons and directions did what.


Right now, it seems like the game has too many options and rules per-character to be a simple party game, but the wacky nature of the supers and items kind of undermine it as a fighter. However, I’ve only had a chance to play a few rounds of one game type, so perhaps it will make more sense with time.

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  • The originality on display in these screenshots is staggering.

    • Anime10121

       Dont know if that is sarcasm or not, but honestly, after having played the beta, this game plays so different from Smash Bros, that it aint even funny.  It may look similar, but thats only because its in the same genre, both games are party based brawlers.  As a matter of fact thats the reason I cancelled my preorder for the game until I can try the full game, because its NOT like Smash Bros.  I would have liked this FAR more if it WAS a carbon copy, but unfortunately from what I played, its VERY different, and as such, wasn’t all that great to me.  Hopefully the full game changes my stance on that, as I know to not judge a game from a beta/alpha/demo that only has 4 characters, but as it stands now, I really dont like the game at all.

      It sucks, because I’ve always wanted a Smash Bros like game for PS, but from what I’ve played so far, its hard for me to think this game will be anything like it, well besides from being a mascot filled party brawler:(

      • KHSoraKeyBlade

         What I don’t like about this is the gameplay. The whole get a super attack to knock someone off doesn’t seem fun in the slightest. I like that feeling when playing against my friends and they accidentally fail to jump back on to the stage in Smash and we laugh about it and what not, or even building up that percentage bar and just blatantly smacking them off the screen (or raging that they have over 250% damage and are still trolling around the stage xD). It just seems that the only errors you can do in this is not build up that bar long enough.
        From what you played in the beta was there anything that the game did better than Smash, in your opinion?

        Also, at least Smash doesn’t have to rely on 3rd party characters to fill a roster.

        Still I won’t bash the crap out of the game until I have at least played it and as much of a Sony fan I am, I really will not be going further than renting this.

        • kupomogli

          “What I don’t like about this is the gameplay. The whole get a super
          attack to knock someone off doesn’t seem fun in the slightest.”

          It adds a degree of skill to the game that Super Smash Bros doesn’t have.  I’m sure you’ve played either online or with friends, and sometimes you have a friend or someone online who might sit back while you and other friends are fighting. 

          That’s not possible in this game.  You can’t just sit back and wait for everyone to get to 200-300% and then come in to finish them all off.  If you’re not participating in battle, then won’t gain special and you’ll end up losing.

          While this game is still a party game, it’s also more of a competitive fighter. 

           “Atleast Smash doesn’t have to rely on third party characters to fill the roster.”

          With 16 first party characters, so far, in the line up, and many more fan favorites that aren’t even in the game, it’s quite clear that they don’t have to include third party characters.  There are currently only four third party characters, while Brawl had two. 

          As a Sony fan, I wish that they kept the first game in the series exclusive to first party games than what they’ve did.  Even though three of the four third party characters look great, Heihachi, Emo Dante, and Raiden, there’s no doubt about it that all four characters are nothing more than advertising for the future sequels.  I think Ryu from Ninja Gaiden/DoA is also going to be announced.

          “Still.  I won’t bash the crap out of the game until I have atleast played it, and as much of a Sony fan I am, I really will not be going further than renting this.” 

          The rest of your post sounded like fanboy bashing to me.  If your post wasn’t here just to bash the game, then why even feel the need you won’t go further than renting it when you haven’t even played the beta?  You’re clearly making mention that you’re not going to give the game a chance with a comment like that. 

          I like Smash Bros Brawl and I enjoyed the beta on this game. I’m just disappointed of the third party announcements since there are nothing more than advertising announcements.

          • Grenalie

            If someone is doing that in Smash Bros I just break away from the pack and fight him, something is wrong with your strategy if you’re just going to let him stand there.  Some of the supers in this game are pretty broken, guaranteed kills for the most part; it’s like if you needed final smashes to kill and you had LAND MASTER.

          • kupomogli

            It’s not as simple as just breaking away and fighting someone else with events unforseen as it is in all fighting games.  It might be two of the people you’re facing screwing around, the player might hold a grudge against you the rest of the match if you go after them, etc. 

            Playstation All Stars takes away all those possibilities by making it either, you’re in battle gaining special, or you’re out of battle. They even have a character like Radec for those people who want to stay back while still gaining special, but once the opponent gets close range, his gameplay tactic changes to push them back long range.

            There are some specials in Playstation All Stars that do seem a bit overpowered compared to others, but it’s nothing compared to the overpowered and underpowered specials in Brawl. 

            With all the characters specials, they do seem to be evened out.  Some characters have level two specials that are much better than others.  Parappa for instance has one of the better level two specials while Sly has one of the better level one specials.  Kratos level one and two aren’t as good compared to others, but his level three is where it’s at.  Sweet Tooth has an fairly good level one and a fairly good level three.

            There’s also the ease of which characters gain special. It doesn’t matter if one character has better specials than others, when that same character might not be as good at gaining special. Like Sweet Tooth and a of his attacks getting adding a lot to your special meter.

            Obviously, I haven’t played as them, but Dante looks to have the best level three and Evil Cole looks to have the best level two.

          • KHSoraKeyBlade

            I am not simply fanboy bashing. I have every Sony console released so far and my console of choice this generation is the ps3. That said, I am a massive fan of the Smash Bros series.

            There is a certain charm that Nintendo can get away with when they have Snake kicking Jigglypuff around an arena where as Sony aren’t convincing me with Sackboy simply attacking Big Daddy.

            The character list for All-Stars isn’t fantastic in the slightest when you have been teased with 35 characters on Brawl. Heck, even Melee had more characters than this. (Also, no Crash Bandicoot or Spyro, who are imo true Playstation All-Stars in their own right)

            I know I cannot make any rash comments towards the game until it gets released but the fact is the game just simply does not appeal to me all that much and Sony should stop jumping on the Nintendo bandwagon like they always do.

        • Anime10121

          Agree with everything you wrote.  Honestly, from what I played in the beta, Smash just does EVERYTHING better.  The controls in PSABR feel floaty, the controls are at times unresponsive, as you said using specials only to kill makes things really boring to me.  The weapons that you can use are nearly useless, because considering there’s no damage count, its practically the same as just beating on a person normally.  The spheres that actually give you increases to your super bar dont give you much, and are so miniscule that while you’re running around trying to collect those, others who just fight will have gotten more of a build up fighting, than you did with the spheres.

          Honestly, the 3rd party character thing doesnt bother me at all, and actually, I was rather excited about it, at least at first.  Playstation was built more on third Party support anyway, as the only mascot it had during the PsOne era was basically Crash and maybe you could count Spyro, but Snake, Cloud, and other third party games did more to represent the Playstation brand than Sony’s own brands.  But they instead go for 3rd part characters who aren’t actually All stars of Playstation, but their newer updated versions that arent even released yet. 

          While the new DmC game MAY be pretty good (jury’s still out until I actually play it), the new Dante is NOT a Playstation All star, as a matter of fact, his game wont even be out for Playstation when this game releases.  Same thing with Raiden, now if they were using the mech-Raiden from MGS4 or even the regular one from MGS2, it would be all good, but they are using the one from a game that yet again, cannot be an All Star, because the game’s not even released.  Its like Squares reasoning why Noctis or Lightning couldnt be in the original Dissidia, if the games aren’t released yet, how can they be in a game celebrating the series’ characters and histories, when they themselves had none yet.  And then 3rd party characters who actually would make sense, like Spyro and Crash (their original forms), seem to completely be overlooked as far as the roster goes.

          I may be largely a Playstation fan (if I were to claim a console over the others), but that’s more because the kind of games I like, are generally released on Sony hardware (FF, KH, MGS, Tales of, Disgaea, Ar Tonelico, etc., etc.). I’m much more a fan of the third party games released on Playstation than Sony’s own first party games.  While I love Uncharted, and Ratchet, there’s not much else in Sony’s owned properties, that I can say I really really love. 

          The only reason I still buy Nintendo products these days is because, while not being a big fan of most of their series anymore, besides Kirby and Smash Bros, I still appreciate the heritage and the innovation Nintendo brings with their systems (plus they still get some great exclusives like Xenoblade, KH, TWEWY, and Tales of games).  But even I will admit, they did party brawlers much better than Sony is doing there’s (at least from what I’ve played).  I hope that things turn around and it’s much better than what the beta’s leading on, but currently, I am SEVERELY disappointed that the potential for this game (PSABR) to be good hasn’t been reached.

  • Alex Cattaneo

    you mean the total badas of the char roster is awesome beyond words..Bye bye kiddy shit chars of super smash  mario vs pika PFF KRATOS VS NARIKO!

  • French

    I hope it ends up doing okay, people shouldn’t knock it before trying. If I am honest, I cant shake off SSB out of my head when I see/think of this game….not being critical its just how I see it…

    • midgard229

      yeaaaaah, I can’t shake off the feeling of blazblue copying SF2 for being a 2d fighter, or for Dead or alive copying tekken for being a 3d fighter either….oh. not bashing you, just saying i hate when people compare it to something else.

      its not smash bros, its an all star fighting game just like smash bros, just like call of duty and battlefield are shooters

    • Grenalie

      I’ve tried it and I find it mediocre in all aspects.

      • you have tried, and find it mediocre, before the lauch….

        Even if you manage to play in beta, it’s too early too say something about this game…
        I have high hopes for this one, i played it in beta and get hyped.

        • Muffum

          Wait, so it’s not okay to judge it negatively in beta, but it is okay to judge it positively? The beta should be the game in a late stage of development; it should give you at least a feel of the game. It might not be complete, but most of the essentials should be in place. It’s a good place to judge it, for better or for worse.

        • Grenalie

          Unless the game gets a gigantic overhaul on launch then I doubt my opinion will change at all.

    • Sean Castillo

      As a hardcore Smash player… I can tell you this game is very different. Whatever you do, don’t think it’s a ripoff, please.

      • French

        I will take your word for it and give it a try. I genuinely want to see Sony succeed.

  • Safros9

    Huh, Dante is doing an Inferno Divider in that first pick… guess I’m maining him now.

  • Sean Castillo

    There’s an option to turn off the items…

    • Kris

      But you can still only kill your enemies with supers. :P

  • Vyrus

    So, Kris, how does the game pair to Smash Bros.? Is it good? Is it bad? Please, I want to hear your opinion on this since you’ve clearly played it, already.

    • Kris

      It’s very different than Smash Bros. As I tried to convey in the article, PSASBR seems to have a bit of an identity crisis. Smash has an easily identifiable gameplay hook and movesets that are pretty easy to get a handle, whereas PSASBR seems to have different intentions and was kind of weird to try and get a hold of in only a few rounds. 

      I don’t think they’re directly comparable, really. At the moment I prefer Smash Bros. simply because I’ve been playing and enjoying it for years. PSASBR still remains mysterious to me. I like the lineup (I’m one of the few people that doesn’t hate new Dante, enjoys Raiden as a character [even in MGS2], and thinks Cole McGrath is one of their favorite new characters of the generation), and I had fun with what I played, but I do wish the systems presented themselves a bit more clearly.  

      That said, I’m hoping that PSASBR turns out to be very good, I just don’t think it’s quite as immediately understandable or enjoyable as Smash. I’m looking forward to getting a bit more time with it though.

      • Vyrus

        Thanks for the reply. I guess your reply just sold me on the game. :D

  • lorelai4cuties

    i like it no matter ppl say about ..its on my list :]

  • Spirit Macardi

    Meh, so far the roster doesn’t have me particularly interested. I’m sure it’s a decent game, but without any characters that I’m truly interested in playing as (aside from possibly Ratchet) the whole thing falls flat to me. It’s sort of the double-edged nature involved with crossovers.

  • Nitraion

    That first screen shot is like saying: DmC Vs MGR which one is the best game?….

  • Nemesis_Dawn

    I still wish Sony had gone all the way with this and made it a full-on fighting game, instead of going with the Smash Brothers style. I will play the demo or BETA whichever I can get my hands on first, and give the game a try, but I didn’t like the Smash Brothers games and I doubt I will like this.

    That said, Nariko versus Kratos alone takes me from a “no buy” to a “maybe.”

  • Based Prince Vegeta #BADMAN

    Ugh… why is it the new Dante design?

    • Kris

      Helping to legitimize the face of a new chapter in the series, perhaps? …Or maybe just advertising.

    • Deidara

      Because Capcom probably wanted it to be the new design, also like it or not that is what he’s going to look like. Also did anyone really like how Dante used to look anyways? I’m not saying the new design is better but come on his design was never good

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