Make a The fall of Babylon the review turned out to be a complicated undertaking, mainly due to its alienating execution. PlatinumGames has entered a dark age after a string of clunky licensed games and with only Astral chain and NieR: Automata being their most acclaimed releases.
Following misguided attempts to create a mobile game that no one played and The Wonderful 101 Remastered to be ignored (again); it seemed inevitable that PlatinumGames would succumb to the lowest common denominator: Battlepass online action games. When The fall of Babylon was unveiled for the first time, no one expected it to go down this dark path.
PlatinumGames is no stranger to clunky online co-op. They’ve done it once with (currently delisted) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan. How much worse could it be? This could well be a mistake of biblical proportions by Square Enix and PlatinumGames. Find out why in our The fall of Babylon review!
The fall of Babylon
Developer: Platinum Games
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: Windows PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 (revised)
Release date: March 3, 2022
Players: 1-4 (online only)
The visuals will immediately disappoint when Babylon’s Fall begins. This game looks like it was made for the Wii U or PlayStation 3 specs. It’s rotten with the overuse of post-processing effects that were common to those consoles and the spotty textures sometimes make the LODs look like they couldn’t. load up.
Occasionally, The fall of Babylon attempts an expressive impressionistic painterly effect with filters and shaders that attempt to make the graphics look more handmade. From some angles, the effect is unlike anything seen in a game. Unfortunately, the effect is lost when in motion and The fall of Babylon usually ends up looking cheap.
There are a lot of distracting cuts with costume pieces and geometry. Some parts of the costume do not have rigging or physics applied to them; like a completely stiff gladiator-style skirt that passes through the figures when they bend or crouch.
Moments like this happen in cutscenes; parts over which the game hosts have full control. It makes no sense that cases like this were left out unless there was a lack of time, budget or effort.
The overall presentation is very poor for a full-priced game. Only some cutscenes are fully animated. Most of the scenes have the very low budget approach that some scenes in Bayonet had; where the characters are not animated at all and the action is implied by editing and camera movement.
Bayonet was a risky release from SEGA in 2009 when the Japanese gaming industry was in dire straits. We can cut him some slack. The fall of Babylon is a Square Enix production when the hurdles to game development have never been lower. There is no valid excuse as to why the presentation is so hopelessly uneven.
Anyone who can forgive lower production values will always find that The fall of BabylonThe art direction of is terribly unattractive. Armor designs are a chaotic mess of sharp bits and hard angles. It’s like an AI algorithm randomly generates the equipment and it becomes a headache when it comes to playing the actual game.
After using the most ghetto character customization ever, the player avatar is immediately put into indenture as a Sentinel and armed with a “Gideon Coffin”. The narrative throws in a lot of fantasy jargon without too much context and after a worthless tutorial, players are let loose to scale the tower.
The main gimmick of combat in Babylon’s Fall is that sentries can carry four weapons; one in each hand and two spectral weapons. Both hand weapons are mapped as a square or a triangle; light or heavy attacks and both spectral weapons are mapped to left and right triggers.
Combined with the different types of weapons, combat in The fall of Babylon manages an impressive range of expression and diversity. There are tons of attacks and combos that can be pulled off and PlatinumGames veterans will find that some mechanics from their old titles have sneaked into the mechanics.
Some entries like escalating attacks from their past action games are drawn in exactly the same way and there’s even a variation on Metal Gear Rising‘s parry which is incorporated when using shields. The way 2B could do counterattacks with his various gear managed to work his way into The fall of Babylon as well as.
The fight has a lot of potential, so where does it all go wrong? Besides the fact that the levels feel like randomly generated corridors, Babylon’s Fall is completely unbalanced for less than three players.
The fall of Babylon is an online-only game. There is no offline mode and trying to play it alone is one of the most tedious and frustrating experiences PlatinumGames has ever had. Enemy HP balancing was only considered for groups of players working together.
Playing alone means tediously whittling down their massive health bars and constantly dodging attacks. This prolongs battles enormously and can make boss fights last up to 30 minutes or more.
The fall of Babylon uses a per-encounter battle rating and if you’re playing alone, players are virtually guaranteed to only earn the lowest rank…sometimes. There is nothing clear about the ranking. Fighting a boss alone for nearly an hour can still net a Pure Platinum rating. When playing with a full party, it seems like Pure Platinum scores are awarded no matter what.
With a full party, combat becomes absolute mayhem with four players all performing huge fast attacks with four weapons at the same time. The screen becomes a flurry of visual vomit and it’s completely unclear what’s going on. It was something that could happen in Bayonetbut it was a one player game and it was easier to know what was going on.
In The fall of Babylon, having so many players causing so much mayhem at once while fighting multiple large enemies who also have huge attacks and can throw waves of curtains of bullets, makes the gameplay too confusing. It’s hard to tell if enemies are attacking due to the assault on the senses and busy visuals.
Enemy attacks and liquidations have no audible cue (something previous PlatinumGames releases had), and relying on visual feedback when there’s an overwhelming amount of information makes perfect dodge unreliable . Not that it matters; with a full party and terrible performance, it still gets a Pure Platinum rating. You can use all of your healing items during a boss and still come out on top.
The fall of Babylon uses a formidable “battlepass” system. This route is designed to keep players hooked in order to unlock or earn various items or currencies. Like all heinous “games as a service” models, the experience becomes like a job instead of a game where players progress.
Expect to be inundated with miscellaneous currencies, advertisements, and useless “daily” and “weekly” goals. It’s as if PlatinumGames had become a slimy middleman and gamers were lowly cubicle workers who had to push the numbers up to please the big boss, Square Enix.
Goals lack substance. They are always designed for players to spend as much time as possible. It’s one of the most earth-shattering experiences PlatinumGames has ever produced and the saddest part is that there was potential if only The fall of Babylon was not a cooperative online action game.
Garaz is the primary currency used to acquire cool or fun gear and, of course, is the currency that must be purchased with real money. To add insult to injury, it’s a bad deal for buyers since 1,000 Garaz is $10 and it’s only part of an armor set. For the same price, players could buy Hotline Miami and get a complete game with an amazing story and soundtrack.
Unpurchasable currency is borderline worthless and has very little use outside of crafting. Saving a massive horde of income is very easy when there is very little to spend. Almost all gear is acquired by looting or completing dungeons in the tower.
The fall of Babylon should have been an 11-13 hour action game with lots of replay value and cutscenes above the best. It should have been an outrageous and addictive action game. It’s a free game but with the greedy audacity to charge people $59.99. If it was a free game, most of its flaws would sting a little less, but they would still sting.
Babylon’s Fall was reviewed on PlayStation 5 using a copy provided by Square Enix. You can find additional information on Niche Gamer’s Review/Ethics Policy here. The fall of Babylon is available now for Windows PC (via Steam), PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.