So, right out of the gate – I was not off to a good start. I immediately had to reboot my computer several times to get Babylon’s Fall to log in, just like I did with Outriders last year. But eventually, we did get there in the end!… And then came the opening cutscenes.
What Happened Here?
Oh man, you can just tell that Platinum Games weren’t given enough of a budget here. Babylon’s Fall goes for this oil painting kind of art style, where a good portion of the cutscenes have this very awkward – what the heck am I looking at? – still frame aesthetic. Then, as it cross-fades into another picture, you can’t help but grind your teeth in agony. It just doesn’t look good. Especially when you realise how low-res the graphics are on the highest of settings. What is this? An early PS3 game?… Babylon’s Fall? More like Babylon’s Fail, am I right?
It doesn’t get much better when it comes to the story either. Our silent protagonist basically just has to climb a giant tower and rid themselves of this furnace-looking thing off their back called a Gideon Coffin. Everything else that’s going on is either really uninteresting or lacks any emotional punch. Combined with the sub-par graphical presentation, it simply will not hold your attention in the long run. The Japanese voice-acting does sound quite nice, albeit the English dub is average at best. Definitely seen worse though.
The Flat Battles of Babylon’s Fall
The combat system of Babylon’s Fall does look and feel like a Platinum Games title at first glance, however, it also has its fair share of issues as well. The biggest problem is that it’s just not that in-depth. With 5 weapon types available, there’s the typical light & heavy attacks that have a charged and combo variant, alongside two powerful shoulder button mapped abilities that drain the stamina gauge. However, with the way the game plays, it ultimately ends up feeling very… monotonous? I guess is the best word to use?
Because if you play missions solo, it takes ages to down an enemy, especially the bosses. I’d often find myself starting up missions and then immediately nope right out of there if no one had joined. Yeah, I’m definitely not a masochist. The kicker is, the difficulty and health of your opponents don’t scale. Therefore, it’s always better to play with a full party of four if you can – but then it suddenly becomes too easy! Since you’ll often find yourself casually button-mashing your way to victory, and be packed to the proverbial with healing options. Doesn’t help that every mission has the player stuck on a linear path with very little room for exploration either. There is some decent visual variety in the enemy and level design, but I’m sure you can pinpoint why the general gameplay becomes tedious, fast.
I do like how you can equip four different weapon types at once though, each being mapped to their own separate buttons. As it compels you to experiment with a variety of unique builds. Plus, the bosses are the most engaging part of the game, for sure. That being said, the repetitive mission structure of fight, run through hallway. Fight, run through hallway. Fight… is that another hallway? Just gets so tiresome when the battle system isn’t refined enough. You will find some fun platforming and level hazard sections to mess around with during the in-between sections, although they cannot make up for the game’s all too forgettable combat.
Heard You Like Micro-Transactions?
Since Babylon’s Fall is a live-service game, it’s not physically possible to play offline. Not that you’d want to. But that means if there’s any planned maintenance – which has actually happened a few times before the game’s even launched – you’re gonna get kicked. Fortunately, the game does feature cross-play between PC and PlayStation. Albeit no cross-save or cross-buy features, however. Even though I had to spam the restart button when I initially installed the game on PC, I never had any connection or framerate issues going forward. This is oddly surprising, coming from Square Enix.
What isn’t so surprising is the incessant promotion of micro-transactions. Good grief. Whenever you visit the merchant for new items, you have to cycle through two tabs worth of buyable DLC and Battle Pass content to access the normal store. And outside of missions, the game will not stop saying you have ‘Unclaimed items in your inbox’ which is just a load of bull. Because even the stuff that says ‘Free’ often requires you to spend real-world money to collect. Don’t support this. Just stick to the regular equipment and you’ll be A-OK.
Considering the relatively low level of difficulty when playing with friends, the normal equipment drops will more than suffice. In fact, you’ll frequently acquire stronger gear with legitimately useful enhancements after completing each mission anyway, which almost renders the micro-transaction element obsolete. I only visited the merchant once to purchase new equipment, but it honestly wasn’t even worth it. I never repeated a mission to grind either and I was more than able to hold my own.
This is one action RPG that feels a little too shallow and repetitive in the gameplay department. It may be fun to hack n’ slash enemies to death, with some decent platforming here and there. Although after several missions of button-mashing monsters into oblivion and running through hall after hall, over and over again, Babylon’s Fall cannot help but become boring. The graphics and story are extremely poor as well, and the lack of enemy scaling is outright ridiculous. Ultimately, Babylon’s Fall just has too many things that hold it back, and the rampant micro-transactions do not help its cause. Give this one a miss.
Babylon’s Fall bears the shell of a Platinum Games release, however, it doesn’t go anywhere beyond that. The combat is dull and colourless, the story and graphical presentation are weak, and the micro-transactions it tries to shove down your throat feel like blatant predatory practices. There are some enjoyable moments of co-op gameplay, although they are few and far between.
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by Square Enix. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.