At first I found myself in the camp that felt the game was just a smidge (or several hundred smidges) too similar to a certain other melee game in the Nintendo lineup. But after some deep soul searching, I realized that that's exactly what I wanted out of this particular game: A proven brawler formula populated with more characters I've grown to know and love over the years.
Sony has so far announced six of their Royale combatants, including Kratos (God of War), Fat Princess (Fat, um, Princess), PaRappa (PaRappa the Rapper), Radec (Killzone), Sly (Sly Cooper) and Needles Kane, a.k.a Sweet Tooth (Twisted Metal).
What this roster says to me is that players can expect a well-rounded group of characters from a wide range of genres and series, including some that we might not expect. There's perhaps nothing more absurd than the idea of PaRappa riding down the God of War of his skateboard or Fat Princess calling on her minions to pummel a Helghast officer, and it's those types of interactions that has me so pumped to get my hands on this game.
With E3 just around the corner, chances are pretty good that we'll be hearing news on another batch of playable characters in the coming weeks, which got me to thinking: Who would I like to see make the cut?
Sony staples like Crash, Cloud, Solid Snake, Nathan Drake, Lara Croft, Jak and Ratchet seem like no-brainers. But what other characters might make an appearance? Here's my wish list. Feel free to add yours in the comments section below.
Starring in one of the best games to ever grace the PSX (Or any console, for that matter), Alucard seems like a natural fit for Sony's upcoming melee title. His sword and shield approach will set him apart from the guns and fisticuffs of many characters while his vampire powers lend themselves well to special moves. And as for a finisher, I've got three words for you: Belmont clown car.
Lynx (Chrono Cross)
Lynx is a slightly more obscure choice for a villain character, but that's half the reason he makes so much sense to be included in the roster: He's not Sephiroth! The other half is that he's a tall, sinister, brooding character who comes equipped with a scythe and plenty of special moves that would translate well into a fighting game. It's these types of pleasantly surprising characters that made previous Smash Bros. games a delight, and I think Lynx would fill that slot nicely for Sony's game.
Dart (The Legend of Dragoon)
A deeper cut than some of these other selections, The Legend of Dragoon holds a special place in many-a PSX gamer's heart. As an RPG character, Dart has plenty of swords slashes and special abilities that could fill out his normal attacks with the Dragoon form being an obvious go-to for finishing moves, complete with timed button-press mini-games to execute them.
If Fat Princess can throw down, then so can fellow PSN alumna, Rochard. Rochard is skilled in both firearms and hand-to-hand combat (so long as smacking a bad guy with a gun is considered "hand-to-hand combat"), and his gravity gun could make for some interesting strategic gameplay as he grabs players and launches objects across the map.
Nariko (Heavenly Sword)
An early poster child for the PlayStation 3, Nariko didn't receive enough love when her game, Heavenly Sword, floundered at retail. This could be her much-deserved second chance to shine, flipping around the worlds of Royale with her ever-changing blade of awesomeness, laying waste to anyone who stands in her path. Kai could even be called in to help out with the finishers. Boom! Boom!
Wander (Shadow of the Colossus)
Starring in a game that featured a strong focus on minimalism, the team at SuperBot Entertainment would need to get pretty creative when building a set of moves for Shadow of the Colossus' stoic hero, Wander. The kid's moves were pretty much limited to getting all stabby-stabby with his sword and shooting behemoths with his trusty bow and arrow. Basically, we're left with an emo version of link, but without the pointy ears, boomerang or bombs. Still, it could work.
Rayne should be the easiest inclusion on this list. You could cut and paste the version of the vampiric vixen seen in WayForward's PSN title BloodRayne: Betrayal and be halfway to a top-notch Royale character. She's got her wrist-blades, guns, a poison bite that turns enemies into walking bombs and loads of acrobatic prowess. Did I mention she's got wrist-blades? As in, huge freaking blades strapped to her wrist? Because she does.
Pyramid Head (Silent Hill 2)
One of the most recognizable villains from the PS2 era, Pyramid Head would make a perfect addition as a heavy brawler. His iconic oversized butcher's knife would be slower than most weapons but pack a mean punch. As for specials, the Silent Hill series has more than a few nasties that would work well as summons. Not that Mr. Head really needs their help. Have you seen that damn knife?
Max (Dark Cloud 2)
Dark Cloud 2 featured a pair of great protagonists with solid moves and a style all their own. My reason for picking Max over Monica, though, is simple: Dude can use a giant wrench as his primary weapon. It would be interesting to see how the world-building aspects of Dark Cloud fit into a brawler, too. Maybe you could have houses drop out of the sky to crush your foes for a finisher? Or maybe a tree could sprout from the ground for an easy pop-up attack?
Lenneth (Valkyrie Profile)
Valkyrie Profile was all about recruiting the souls of recently fallen warriors and then using them to put the beatdown on lots and lots of baddies before sending them on to the afterlife. Lenneth herself has a wide array of moves that would work well in Royale, but I think she would also lend herself well to some pretty creative tweaks. What if everything beyond your basic attacks called on a collection of those lost souls for help, with the ghostly image of your former comrades taking the big swings for you? It's hard to describe but, trust me, it looks awesome in my mind. If you've seen Folklore in action, you've got the basic idea.
Infinite Ammo is a weekly column by Ryan Winslett about video games, the industry that make them and the people who play them. He can be stalked via his blog at staticechoes.com and followed on Twitter @RyanWinslett.