Babylon’s Fall Review
I probably share the same sentiment with many that when Babylon’s Fall was revealed, it really didn’t blow me away, considering this was from Platinum Games. Yes, the same company known for their work on titles such as Nier: Automata and Bayonetta.
Didn’t exactly help either that the trailers looked really rough, and with “live-service” being plastered across it, you’ve got a recipe for disaste… well, not quite, but you get what I mean.
Fast forward to its release, I accepted taking this on with an open mind. Babylons Fall is a game where you take the role of a Sentinel, enslaved warriors by an oppressive empire, to defend and scout the Tower of Babylon. Furthermore, they are cannon fodder meant to be thrown against the fearsome Gallu, supernatural beings that roam the different gates of the Tower of Babylon.
As an initiate to the Sentinels, each warrior is equipped with the “Gideon Coffin”, a device that allows them to communicate telepathically among themselves and their Empire masters. It also allows them to access their ethereal arsenal that lets them attack, defend, and launch their spectral barrage to defeat their foes. As each successful survey of the area grants access to a new gate, when will our heroes defy all odds, learn the secrets of the tower, and earn their freedom?
It’s a live service game
All of what I just said sounded pretty interesting on paper, but a lot of times it does feel like Babylon’s Fall didn’t actually spend enough time on paper being thought out more. With so many live service games out in the market these days, Babylon’s Fall shoots its shot but really fails to score thanks to its combination of outdated graphics and conflicting mechanics.
From the moment you launch the game and create a new character, Babylon’s Fall doesn’t even try to hide the fact that it is a live service game. While it is possible to solo many of its missions, enemy types are huge damage sponges that quickly drain the fun out of the game right from the start, not just encouraging coop gameplay but almost pushing it to the point of the player not having a choice at all unless they want to spend an inordinate amount of time killing an enemy because of the lack of balance scaling.
This becomes extremely head-scratching because while the game promotes cooperative play, there’s very little incentive to do so. Characters don’t have specified roles, which could be good or bad depending on how you look at it but for a game that emphasizes partying up, Babylon’s Fall doesn’t quite offer a certain level of mechanical synergy, often resulting in just 4 players racing to deal the most damage.
In fact, Babylon’s Fall is the most “single-player” co-op game I’ve played because everybody just turns out to be the same DPS-type character at the end of the day. Despite its multiplayer push, there’s isn’t even some sort of way to communicate to other players except emotes and besides providing damage and reviving, there’s no other way you can provide support to the team.
It’s a Platinum Games game
Somehow, there is a Platinum Games game hidden in Babylon’s Fall, which is immediately evident in its combat and boss battles.
There are five weapon types in Babylon’s Fall: Swords, hammers, shields, rods, and bows. An interesting aspect here is that depending on where you equip a weapon, attacks take on a different form, allowing players to come up with interesting combinations that can be your defining “class” in the game, despite it having none.
Once you figure out your play style, you’ll learn how to open yourself up to devastating combo attacks that bring out the fast-paced action seen in many Platinum Games titles. This is a glimmer of hope for Babylon’s Fall, as its combat is easily the star of the show. However, going back to the point of conflicting mechanics, the pace is drastically weighed down by exceedingly beefy opponents and the tendency for button mashing.
It’s even more apparent because the AI of the foes in Babylon’s Fall doesn’t exactly make for the most challenging of encounters. Grunts are hobbled by repetitive actions and easy patterns and oftentimes tend to enjoy watching their friends get beat up.
Boss fights make for quite the spectacle though, and once you start taking on some of the bigger baddies in the game in the form of Warlords and Ixionized Sentinels, then the whole Platinum Games charm finally comes out of hiding.
It’s a what-you-make-of-it game
As with live service games, grinding is a big aspect of Babylon’s Fall that is made unbearable because of its parts not working cohesively to make the whole interesting. Some may enjoy the grind and the repetitiveness of farming for loot and gear, but it requires massive amounts of patience from players.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, as Babylon’s Fall does get better in the post-game, as with many live service games often do. The big challenge though is actually getting to that point because while many say that it is the journey that counts, the journey in this case is extremely trying and will test your limits.
It doesn’t help that the story of Babylon’s Fall takes a while to get going before it ultimately falls into a cookie-cutter and sub-par plot. Add some questionable voice acting into the mix, with some grating delivery that makes you wonder how something like this could have made it past recording.
These choices are exacerbated by the fact that Babylon’s Fall looks like a game from the PS3 generation. One could chalk it up to art direction because the game employs some sort of “painted” look, but seeing it in action makes it look smudgy and blurry that will not be appreciated by a lot of players and will prove to be a very sore spot for those wanting to try out the game.
Sadly, the main thing holding Babylon’s Fall back is how the game is priced fully but still offers a battle pass for players that may want to splurge. For the most part, the rewards are largely cosmetic but given the fact that it has a slight aspect of it that can give whales an advantage, then it is always disappointing to see it make its way into a full-priced game.
What We Liked:
- Trademark Platinum Games action action especially in its boss fights.
- Some enemy designs are interesting and intricate.
- Class-less, weapon-based system is an interesting proposition.
What We Didn’t Like:
- There’s a lot of grind before the game hits a stride.
- Story is sub-par with horrible voice acting
- Graphics that look like it was plucked from the PS3 era.
Verdict: Wait For It.
It’s pretty ironic that for a game that tests so much of your patience, our rating asks you to wait some more. That’s because, given the chance, there is some semblance of fun to be had with Babylon’s Fall, but getting to that point is an extreme test of willpower that not many will be able to overcome, especially given its $60 price point.
There are some interesting ideas here, especially with its class-less and weapon-based systems, but a lot of conflicting mechanics muddle the whole product. Each of these systems taken on its own sounds solid, but they come together to form an incoherent game that requires a lot more effort from its players.
Being a live service title though, there are some things here that can be patched to improve the game, but it also begs the question of how much Square Enix is willing to support this given its lackluster outing. Maybe a redemption story is in the cards, but then again the theme of this game seems to really revolve around waiting.
*Babylons Fall was reviewed on a PS5 with a code provided by the publisher.