I was almost gonna ignore this all the way since it’s another “live service” thingie…. by a Platinum Games that pretty much announced they were done making good games you can play and finish, and ready to invest into the “games as service” garbage, so in a way i’m ready to see Bayonetta 3 come out and then basically ignore what the company does with itself, unless they come to their senses and stuff.
Also, the full game came and was reviewed in the time i took to play the demo and write about it, and i barely even managed to knew there was a demo out for the game at all. But I’m still posting it because i feel it’s “deserved”, come on Platinum Games, you can’t put out shit like this and expect people to NOT point out the telltale smell of a sneaky release bereft of fanfare, for what turned out to be fairly obvious reasons.
Of course it’s a joint effort with Square Enix, because the shitshow of their Marvel Avengers game didn’t teach anyone anything, not that the industry ever wants to learn.
But then again, Square Enix is the company of the “below expectations” that will never consider the expectations might have been not realistic, but will cry about its western division output failing to meet sale expectations and being criticized, you know, the same company who released stuff like Left Alive, The Quiet Man, and Balan Wonderworld. Just to say the more recent ones.
So, in a way, Babylon’s Fall fits perfectly. But sure as hell wasn’t marketed at all, i wanna stress didnt’ see a single ad anywhere and was remember by an email telling me a demo was out… that the game actually wasn’t quietly canned, but releasing soon at full price.
Sounds like the classic case of a company knowing they have a turd on their hands and just stealth-releasing it in hope enough will buy it but NOT talk about it online.
But i did give this demo a shot, regardless. Even if i was immediatly annoyed by this being a live service game that also right away forces you to login-connect to the publisher’s account system and then link it to the PSN (or network equivalent), meaning that you need a Square Enix account too.
The game makes you choose one between 3 classes (that you can’t change later), i picked the first one because i’d figure it would the one to work out better in terms of combat, as it’s described as “the aggressive and fast one ” and this is a Platinum Games affair.
I’m not gonna complain it being completely different than what that E3 trailer promised, i mean, it’s true, but it wouldn’t matter as much or at all if the game released was any good. And it’s not like we knew much of what is was actually gonna be in practice when it was announced, so let’s toss that argument into the compost, because “this” game has enough problems anyway.
First, it looks like shit, apparently it was cobbled together on the quick (there are rumors of Square Enix scrapping entirely the first version Platinum Games gave them as to why) by using old assets from first iteration of FF XIV. sure as hell looks like it (especially when you’re in the hub world, with plenty of cloned NPCs), since it looks like complete ass for a game that released just not in March 2022.
I’m not even one to care too much for graphics, but i had a genuine face of disgust just by seeing the character editor, and the cutscenes aren’t better, especially when these are animated via slideshows-esque charades, in a bad attempt to make it look like “paintings alive”. A bad, cheapass attempt.
And i guess the aesthetic went for an oil painting vibe, but it just doesn’t work, everything looks as engulfed by a “veil” of grease more than golden filings, resulting in an indistinct art style where everything looks the same, looks generic and brown, as if we needed more games looking like that.
It looks like shit both on a technical and artistical standpoint, in short.
The story is: Babylon has fallen, fallen, there’s no Ayn Rand inspired villain, but a new empire set on big loot bonanza, forcing implants on people, and those who survive these shield-parasites-backpacks thingie (called Gideon Coffins) can become very powerful and are sent into the “Ziggurat” to fight their way through, loot all they can and scale it all to the very top, fighting monsters apparently left there to defend the Ziggurat?
Yeah, the premise seems like a non-sensical mash of mythical elements from vastly different mythologies and beliefs, it’s generic and uninteresting as hell, but it’s a Platinum Games production, so combat’s gotta be good, right? I mean, you can four-wield, how can it be bad?
At basic, the combat in Babylon’s Fall does feel like a Platinum Games’ effort, down to timed dodging resulting in a perfect evade (here restoring part of the stamina for special attacks instead of the good old “Witch Time”), there’s an evalution screen for each battle keeping a detailed account, but its still bad because there’s no satisfaction to it, and it just barely avoids being EXTRA basic due to the Gideon Coffing thingie meaning you can equip two weapons for special attacks you can use on top of the normal combos, and regardless of your state, so you can use a spectral special attack with a hammer while downed or to keep the aggression up during a combo.
You can also grab and launch icicles and such as projectiles against enemies (when the levels do feature these crystal icycles), also using the tendrils that come out of your Gideon Coffin, but it’s rarely used or present in the levels offered by the demo.
In theory it’s nice, in practice is better to have it than NOT have it, but ultimately gives you options to be less bored as you struggle through dozens of boring, sludgy battle encounter with enemies that have some variety but ALL are also absolute damage sponges, because otherwise you won’t be forced to maximize the general overall “Power” level of the character, as every other live-service MMO-esque things like these does.
Aside from combat there is some need to jump over obstacles, destroying barriers by attacking them, or using the Gideon Coffin as a hookshot to jump over obstacles or chasms, but it’s peanuts, just something that occasionally you gotta do (jump is also laggy, to boot), and aside from some “secret” stashes of loot indicated by a sound the Gideon Coffin makes, there’s no incentive or need for exploration, so the game it’s all about hack n slash combat, with some levels throwing it some enviromental hazards or some gimmicks like wind moving you about, costant meteor storms, et.
I’ll say this: the combat in itself it’s competent and there’s some satisfaction to it, the array of weapons isn’t bad and you can have some fun mixing the usage of magic rods, shields, bows and such, it’s functional and working as intended, but it loses much luster and get quite repetitive fairly fast, due to aforementioned spongy enemies, the bosses are notably better and stand out often, but still end up highlighting the “GAS” design, as playing solo is made a slog and not as efficient.
Yep, i didn’t bother searching for other people to join me, bite me.
Actually, i did eventually relent and had two other random players join me to take on the final boss of the second chapter of the game (which is as i rightfully assumed where the demo stops)… not because he was actually that hard, but because it’s the kind of boss that’s there to spite players that prefer trying to solo the missions, a “fuck you of sorts”, as i went it fairly overpowered for my first attempt, but it didn’t matter much, as the boss also has 3 mini-bosses alongside himself in the battle, which he can summon again after you defeat them, making it a cheap battle of attrition nearly impossible to win as a solo player.
MAYBE i could had eventually managed to kill the boss on the first try by chipping away his health eventually to zero…….but then my connection apparently went down for a bit, so of course that meant having the game kick me back to title screen. And i wanted to get done with this demo. Always great when a game forces co-op on the player by frustrating its ass to boiling point, good design, good design.
God how i hate these “live services” garbage piles.
The basics are there, but there’s not much else, just the bare bones instead of a crafted combat system, the more you dig into the game you realize that the battles are chaotic but hard to read on the fly what’s happening exactly, making the combat mediocre at the very best but mostly worse, and making this the other type of Platinum Game’s output, the crap kind, like TMNT and Legend Of Korra games resides alongside stuff like Anarchy Reigns.
you always seem to be fighting in the same room regardless when you’re tackling mission belonging to the same chapter/stratum of the Ziggurat (even when the short levels use some gimmicks to keep things mildly varied), the variety of enemy doesn’t properly expands as you go, nor i fear does the depth of the combat systems, which is due “live service” design bullshit, and to be honest i had to kinda force myself in order to even see the end of the opening levels the demo offered. It doesn’t help that the game often disconnected mid-mission, but despite this being set up a “game as service thingie” with huge emphasis on accruing better looking and useful loot, there’s no good gameplay loop to it, or even a satisfactory feeling to acquiring the loot, despite the necessity for it. To say nothing of the “cosmetic” lootboxed business.
Then you stack on top of this the fact this is a full-priced release with microtransactions up the wazoo, a battle pass, multiple deluxe editions of the game itself available for ludicrous prices, forced log-in via the publisher’s own account system… and of course calling this just mediocre is being way too kind.
I seriously doubt the full game is any better, as every publication has basically bashed (apparently it’s even worse than Marvel Avengers in terms of “GaS”, the worse one put out by Square Enix overall), people hate it, and unsurprisingly is basically already a failure, , so can’t wait for the same song and dance routine of updating it with content, then giving up on the roadmap, the announcing a complete revamp that most likely won’t happen because even the “videogamers”, sheepish as they can be, seem tired to see garbage like this being released and having to wait years for the thing they bough to be less garbage, if they don’t kill the thing entirely sooner than expected.
I’m willing to say this even thought i only played the demo, but yes, this thing should have been free-to-play, no question about it. If not for my sake, for its own.
I’m not as mad as others seem to be because i played worse games with worse combat systems, and i see something in Babylon’s Fall, i do…. but still, it’s quite bad, worse than subpar and clearly slapped together in the crudest way possible in terms in designs, let’s be honest, just the bare mininum because fun isn’t the purpose of these, the microtransaction and addiction based milking is.
Regardless, i do hope it fuckin dies and fails 100 %, i don’t usually indulge in too much schaudenfraude, but i can’t resist when Platinum Games itself publicly declared they wanted to do live service games and move away from making good games, which is correct because sure as hell even the demo of Babylon’s Fall make it clear it’s not made for people to have fun, but to scam your ass.