Digimon: All-Star Rumble – Review
Follow Genre: 3D Fighter
Developer: Prope
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360
Tested on: PS3

Digimon: All-Star Rumble – Review

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Good: Brawling with some friends can be fun for ten minutes.
Bad: Everything after those first ten minutes.
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The Digital World has housed some pretty interesting monsters and adventures over the years. While it should be noted that the Digimon series was a clear attempt at piggybacking the success of Pokémon, its creators did manage to set the show apart from the juggernaut that preceded it. For instance, the Digital Monsters truly bonded with their Digidestined friends. They did not belong to their humans, but instead enjoyed a relationship of equals. Moreover, they could talk and didn’t need to be worried about permanent evolution. Sadly, all of this rarely made it into the many Digimon videogames, and All-Star Rumble is no exception to this rule.



Although Digimon traditionally sets itself apart from its light-hearted counterpart, no trace of this can be found in All-Star Rumble. Instead of providing us with a clear threat to the Digital World, the game starts off by assuring us that this plain, and our earthly realm with it, is completely safe. Exciting, is it not?

Of course not! Even the monsters are bored and therefore decide to organise a tournament so they can feel a sense of danger and finally Digivolve again. It’s kind of like inviting suicide bombers to your home because there’s nothing on the telly. At the end of the tournament, which an average gamer will win in about an hour, it turns out the winner is the chosen one to defeat an evil Digimon deity, but by then it’s already too late to save the story. You start the final stage, defeat this creature and watch the credits roll, wondering why the hell you have paid the full retail price for this Digisaster.



Nothing will ever beat the feeling of inserting and playing your very first PlayStation game. However, that happened around 1995. Almost twenty years later, players expect a lot more visual bang for their buck. Unfortunately, developer Prope has decided to insult Digimon fans by designing nothing but the sheer basics. The Digimon themselves are modeled pretty decently, but that alone cannot justify its retail price. Many indie games, with next to no budget at all, succeed in surpassing this level of visual fidelity by a long shot.

The stages are empty and uninspired, showing the developer team’s complete lack of interest by carrying names such as “Factory” and “Temple.” Nothing but the most basic pillars of three dimensional platforming gameplay has been included, and the game even goes so far as to throw the same enemies at you, over and over again. All-Star Rumble actively insults its players with its visuals, almost shaking with laughter at all that money they invested in what they thought would be a worthwhile experience.



As if looking like the Ugly Betty of modern videogames wasn’t bad enough, the sound it dumps on the players actually makes it seem as though Vincent Van Gogh was not that crazy after all. “Dump” should be read in an almost literal sense in this regard, because instead of using actual voice actors to spruce things up a bit, they decided to cut and paste excerpts from what I can only assume is the original voice acting. After having been thrown in a blender. And having been ripped to shreds by an enraged Metalgreymon… You get the idea.

The sound quality is abysmal, exacerbated by the endless repetition of the exact same soundbit that accompanies a certain attack. To make matters even worse, these are the only instances of voice acting to be heard throughout the entire game. As each Digimon only possesses a handful of – very similar – abilities, this means that you’ll hear them shouting the same low-quality words over and over again. Great, now even I am starting to repeat myself!



Let us take a moment to recover from all of this bad news. The story is nigh non-existent and the audio-visuals are just awful, but this might all be off-set by great gameplay. Now, let us take this hope… And crush it like an unrooted Black Gear.

From the first moment of gameplay, Digimon: All-Star Rumble presents itself as a shameful clone of the recently released Super Smash Bros. The game is meant to be played by up to four players who can duke it out using only the most well-known Digimon. Those who were hoping for a decently sized roster… Well, remember that Black Gear? That’s right, only a dozen Digimon await in what should be a true monster fight extravaganza.

The gameplay exists of beating up your friends using one and two button combos. Each hit fills your Digivolve meter, which of course allows you to Digivolve. Strangely, this stronger form only lasts for a few seconds, which in theory means that it should be timed pretty well and therefore provide some kind of tactical layer. In practice, however, players just Digivolve whenever they can, as there is no reason whatsoever to save the energy for a special occasion. While Digivolved, the meter turns into an Ultimate meter that needs to be filled up before you devolve into your original form. If you do, you can unleash your ultimate attack, which unfortunately suffers severely from the extremely bad audiovisuals.

What should be a fun competitive experience with some friends on the couch, mounts up to nothing more than a bunch of moderately detailed characters running around in boring arenas, constantly repeating the same sleep-inducing attack animations until one player has made enough kills or the time is up.



Digimon: All-Star Rumble is without a doubt one of the worst multiplayer arena fighters ever to disgrace the PlayStation 3. I would absolutely love to say that at least fans of the series should give this one a shot if there was the slightest shred of fan service here, but even that was too much to ask of this project. Frankly, it is almost amazing that the names of the featured Digimon have been spelled correctly. So, well… It does have that going for it.

As hard as it is for a fan of the series to say, this game should Digivolve itself straight into the bottom of a bargain bin.

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Tom Cornelis

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