What is that? A forgettable live-service offering from an otherwise brilliant developer.
Release date March 3, 2022
Expect to pay $60/£60
Developer Platinum Games
Reviewed on Intel Core i7-11700K, GeForce RTX 3070, 16GB RAM
Link Official site
Platinum Games’ inspiration for its first foray into the live services market is certainly ironic. The once great and revered Babylonian Empire, now reduced to ruins, serves as an apt metaphor for the game itself. A far cry from the exhilarating high-octane combat, unique characters, and compelling worlds the studio is synonymous with creating, Babylon’s Fall crumbles under the weight of bland design, repetitive gameplay, and prioritization of… paywalls versus players.
You play as a sentry, a prisoner forced to climb the Ziggurat – based on the mythical Tower of Babel – at the behest of your neo-Babylonian masters. Equipped with a mysterious artifact called Gideon Coffin, you ascend the structure’s many floors, battling blue-hued enemies known as Gallu. Manage to reach the top and you’re freed from the bizarrely named device that’s been forcibly inserted between your shoulder blades. It’s by no means the most inspired story, but it does provide a mildly entertaining way to take you from realm to realm, even if your mute hero feels utterly insignificant to the events unfolding. .
Most of these events are told through still oil paint images, and while they are undoubtedly pretty, this approach comes across as more of a time-saving maneuver than an inventive way of weaving the story together. plot of the game. But given that the rest of the game isn’t going to win any beauty contests, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Not only is the aesthetic bland, but there’s a severe lack of detail, especially in the character models, that makes Babylon’s Fall look like something that would have been considered stale had it been released there. ten years ago.
The game’s starting location, Sentinel Force HQ, serves as a hub area for the usual live service shenanigans of tallying up daily logins, finding party members to go on quests with, and getting slightly better gear. . And let’s not forget the obligatory run in a mismatched mess of an outfit unless you’re willing to cough up some real cash in exchange for a few trendy yarns that don’t make you look like a comedic sidekick.
A far cry from the diverse range of activities you’d expect to try to get away from your main objective, Babylon’s Fall offers nothing in terms of side quests until you’ve climbed several floors of the Ziggurat, each housing a about half a dozen. missions each. This forces you to replay the same main quests if you’re looking for better loot. But with a dire lack of variety in terms of gear, unlocks ultimately feel limited and unrewarding, meaning there’s very little incentive to take on quests once, let alone come back again. back for another round.
While it feels far removed from the highly polished Bayonetta and Nier: Automata in every other aspect, the combat still retains the Platinum flair. Your Gideon Coffin is not just a servo device; it also allows you to wield four weapons at once. Two weapons are provided for physical attacks, one for light attacks, the other heavy and two others for magic. You can use magic weapons alongside physical blows, allowing you to engage in battles that require a healthy dose of multitasking. Dealing magic damage depletes your Spirit Gauge. This is also depleted when dodging, adding an extra tactical element to encounters as you balance your offensive and defensive abilities. Battles are fast-paced and offer a satisfying mix of hacking and physical slashing, magic attacks and well-timed dodging. Boss encounters are a particular highlight, with spectacularly designed enemies that hit hard.
There’s considerable challenge offered throughout, and even if you can, tackling Babylon’s Fall solo isn’t recommended. Levels consist of large waves of fearsome enemies, and their sheer number makes being a sentry band problematic. Teaming up allows you to complete levels with relative ease. However, if you don’t have a party ready, silent servers can make it difficult to find potential mates, especially in the later stages of the game. If the game doesn’t find suitable party members almost immediately , it launches you into the mission on your own, forcing you to give up and start the matchmaking process over from scratch. However, when you manage to team up with other players, the experience is seamless, at least from a technical standpoint.
Each floor of the tower is markedly different from the last in style but not in substance, and the game gets repetitive remarkably quickly. Part of the problem with Babylon’s Fall is that there’s not even enough to dislike. There just aren’t enough points. The game’s three class options are simply for determining your starting weapon, and there are just as few options for character customization. As fun as combat is, it’s let down by a lack of variety when it comes to customizing your playstyle. While you can wield many weapons at once, your choices are limited to swords, shields, hammers , bars and arcs. If you’ve seen one sword you’ve seen them all, when it comes to individual weapons, most are just different color variations of the same basic blueprint, sometimes with a different elemental type or upgrade such as a increased critical hit chance. Indeed, any effort to inject variety through weapon crafting, Gideon Coffin customization, and side missions delivers far too little and comes far too late.
There’s an overall sense of a game that feels unfinished with live service elements like battle passes and high-end accessories that take precedence over variety, meaningful progression, and ultimately player enjoyment. Remove those aspects and you’re left with a solid combat system that lacks the depth to go the distance and a game that’s notable only for its blandness.