Initial release date: March 3, 2022
Publisher: Square Enix
Engine: Proprietary Engine
Mode(s): Single-player, multiplayer
Genres: Role-playing video game, Action game, Shooter game, MORE
Developers: PlatinumGames, Square Enix
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Microsoft Windows
"Review Copy Provided By Square-Enix"
Babylon’s Fall is one of the most controversial titles of 2022 that’s getting the most universal panning I’ve seen in a game since EA’s Anthem. This game has honestly been one of the most understood titles as a lot of people have come to expect a certain style of game and pedigree from Platinum Games as titles such as Vanquish, Bayonetta, NieR Automata, and Astral Chain being some of the best action games to release in the last 15 years; so when they decided to release a new style of game that was in the category of “Games as a Service” (an incredibly divisive area of gaming in and of itself), fans were scratching their heads as to why the developer were choosing to make such a game. The initial 2 closed betas were not favorably reviewed nor was the initial trailer announcement from 2021 and then when the game’s demo dropped in early March of 2022 it was heavily lambasted and following that the full release came out and was bashed by everyone from journalists to youtubers alike. The one demographic that have not been bashing the game have been those that have been actively playing the game and diving into the different mechanics and systems that the game offers and that group of players have come to love the title, and I am also one of them. Why you ask? We’ll we will find out in this review so let’s dive in!
As a prisoner of the Empire, you are then given the role of a Sentinel and are granted unrivaled power by the enigma device known as the Gideon Coffin and are tasked with traversing through the Tower of Babel as you journey to reclaim the tower.
Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way first and let’s talk about the graphics. Yes, the aren’t the greatest out there and they do look very very VERY rough with in game character models that look like they are made for late PS2 into early PS3 games and are of a much lower quality than even 2008’s Bayonetta which is shockingly bad. There is an odd blurriness to the character models that make them look even worse and the lack of details in the character models on top of the insanely poor lip-syncing make this honestly the worst looking game of 2022. Now with that out of the way, the game does utilize a unique art style that is based on being a pastel painting (as seen in several of the games cutscenes) which can be interesting to look at. After a certain dungeon run, the graphics do improve although that’s not saying much overall. All in all, I wouldn’t come into Babylon’s Fall for the graphics at all.
Gameplay wise, Babylon’s Fall is one of the most confused titles for reviewers because they are expecting it to be a simple dungeon crawling hack n slash action game of which this game is and isn’t. The game is, at its core, a Monster Hunter style game with you being able to select various missions from a mission board while being in a central hub where you can change out your weapons, gear, and more. You can run missions with a party (it’s kind of complicated at first figuring out how to get it going) or solo missions. Control wise, you have a light attack, heavy attack, dodge, jump, interact, emote, and coffin (L2 R2) attacks. You can chain together light and heavy attacks to put the hurting on enemies while also using your coffin attacks to utilize your spirit gauge as well. If you dodge right before being hit then you will activate a slowdown which is similar to the Witch Time in Bayonetta and the slowdown effect as in NieR Automata where you can punish the enemy and allow you to do a bit more damage to them.
While also being influenced by Monster Hunter, Babylon’s Fall is also influenced by Godfall, previous Platinum Games titles (control wise), Destiny, and is HEAVILY influenced by MMO’s such as Final Fantasy XIV with each mission level having different mechanics to them such as needing to utilize stage items such as an energy sphere which keeps you from dying due to the atmosphere in a volcano area with the trade off of losing the ability temporarily to use your L2 R2 weapons until you drop the energy sphere. Other areas will have you needing to fight off enemies and needing to activate an AOE (Area of Effect) energy sphere to keep you from being damaged by oncoming flames, there’s even an area outside of the tower where you need to run across the bridge to get to a door but will need to hide off in areas off to the side as a dragon will fly by and breath fire on the bridge while also avoiding pitfalls and enemy’s as well.
When it comes to bosses, you’ll find that each one has at a minimum of two to three phases where they will change up their attack patterns after you get their damage down to a certain extent with many getting noticeable buffs that can become a problem for you. The bosses will also have adds or what is known as a additional enemies that they will summon at different phases of the battle, while it is often tempting to focus on them as they can sometimes be plentiful and many will inflict status ailments, however, I would encourage you to focus on the boss if you are playing solo and if you are with a team then its best to have one of your teammates focus on the adds if they become too much of a problem.
When it comes to your equipment, it plays heavily into feeling like Godfall and Destiny with weapons and equipment having numbers that indicate what power level they are and also what bonus traits that they have as well which depending on what you equip will determine your power level which can determine how difficult each of the missions can be as each mission will have a certain recommended mission level that you’ll want to either be at, be above, or be in the vicinity of unless you want to have an incredibly difficult time especially if you’re soloing missions.
You may have heard that the game has “Pay 2 Win” mechanics and microtransactions thrown in your face within it and well, that’s all a lie and is perpetuated by those looking to make a lot of quick hits. Like any other live service game, you can purchase a season pass that will give you access to more content that will be coming down the line although in the case of this title; season one content is all free to players. Any items you purchase will be purely cosmetics and aren’t anything that impact the experience of the game as nothing you purchase is essential.
So, what is the bottom line when it comes to Babylon’s Fall? Personally, I find a lot to love about this game with a road map for a ton of new content along with a great and welcoming community that is incredibly active both in game and on Reddit who love the game despite the general public’s hate for the title. Are there issues with the game that keep it from greatness? There are plenty of things to dislike about the game from the graphics to the way the game complicates playing with other players and the overall lack of explaining how different mechanics work and really forcing you to figure out things on your own by trial and error. Is this a title for everyone? No it’s not and honestly the marketing for this title has also hurt it as this is a action adventure title that has a lot going for it and caters more to the MMO crowd and those who like to play titles like Monster Hunter and Destiny and Godfall. If you’re willing to invest time into learning this game’s mechanics and are interested in playing the game with other people in the game’s community then you will find a lot to love especially if you love MMOs. If you’re someone who just wants to pick up a new action title and mash buttons then this isn’t for you.