PlatinumGames has delivered a wide range of impressive experiences over the years, establishing itself as one of the more intriguing studios in AAA development. With its latest title, Babylon’s Fall, the developer looks to tackle an action RPG in a high fantasy setting. Unfortunately, the result is an unremarkable experience that falls flat on its face.
Starting off on the wrong foot
Babylon’s Fall left a poor first impression on me when I jumped in to create my character. When customizing my character, I was almost stunned by how poor some of the options were. When trying to change my skin tone, I realized that the darkest skin tone was incredibly light, no where near as dark as a lot of the people that will play this game. I’m used to character creators that don’t really let me create avatars that look like me, but Babylon’s Fall felt like a new low.
Beyond the issues with the cosmetic side of character creation, Babylon’s Fall asks you to choose between 3 classes. There’s Huysian, Agavian, and Geleilion Sentinels, which function as DPS, Tank, and healer classes respectively. This determines what skills your character will be able to learn and progress. Luckily, the game doesn’t lock you out of using specific weapons due to your class.
The story finds us in a world where the powerful Babylonians have died off, and the only thing left from their reign is their tower, The Ziggurat. With stories of valuable treasure, members of the Domitinian Empire frequently send parties in search of it. This is why they created the group of super soldiers known as the Sentinels.
Though I wasn’t very captivated by the story and it’s dull characters, it wouldn’t have bothered me nearly as much if the game wasn’t so story heavy. They really try to pull you into the narrative with extensive dialogue sequences and cutscenes that just go on and on. What’s more, these cutscenes are hardly enjoyable with the robotic character animations. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t bring myself to care much for any of it.
Falling off the tower
Where Babylon’s Fall really misses the mark is in its core gameplay and systems. The combat itself feels dated and slow. Animations rarely blend smoothly into each other, and there isn't much depth to strategy outside of using different abilities and weapon types. Most of my battles came down to me spamming attacks and periodically dodging out of the way when necessary.
Movement in general just feels clunky. There’s a cool cartwheel trick you can do while running, but just about everything else feels sloppy, whether it's running, jumping, or rolling.
I will say, online co-op was decent enough fun. Playing with other characters that had different classes and builds and working in tandem to take down bosses was a pretty good time.
I also wasn’t a fan of Babylon Fall’s focus on being an always-online, live-service game. The seasonal format and implementation of a Battle Pass feels more like the developer/publisher wanting to adhere to the formulaic elements of every mildly successful online game out these days. It’s also worth mentioning that the Premium Battle Pass features resources like ingots (used for crafting) and Conches (currency) which can be used to acquire better weapons and gear, which will likely cause some pay-to-win concerns among players.
The actual gameplay loop of completing quests, defeating powerful enemies, and finding new gear and weapons to upgrade my player was satisfying enough and delivered a sense of progression throughout the game. Later on, there are mechanics introduced that allow the player to tune and upgrade individual pieces of gear.
As an action RPG, Babylon’s Fall simply feels outdated, like something that would have been released in the early PS3 era. It’s weaknesses are amplified by the fact it's releasing in close proximity to some excellent action-RPGs, which Babylon’s Fall quite simply can’t hold a candle to.
A not so pretty picture
Babylon Fall's art style is inspired by medieval oil paintings, and while that’s evident in the paintbrush art style of some characters and environments, it does not play well with the graphics themselves. This contributes to the game’s overall sense of feeling outdated. There’s some solid original character designs, though the generic fantasy environments leave a lot to be desired.
Babylon’s Fall’s stiff animations further hinder its attempts to establish a lively world filled with interesting characters. The character models themselves are also a bit rough around the edges.
I found Babylon’s score to be solid, though it didn’t stand out very often. However, there are some moments in there where the music kicks in at the perfect time and sets the tone. Like the festive tunes that play in the background as you walk around a tavern, or the intense theme that kicks in during some of the bigger boss fights.
Paint by numbers
Babylon’s Fall feels like a game that came out a decade ago, both visually and in its gameplay. Combat is clunky and boring most of the time, outside of a few highlights here and there. There’s nothing that encourages players to engage with the live-service elements, despite it being a core tenet of the experience. It’s like someone fed a computer a bunch of information and had it generate an action RPG. Babylon's Fall’s biggest credit is that it’s technically competent; the game isn’t broken or held back by major bugs or issues. It’s a shame, because PlatinumGames has proven itself to be an impressive talented studio. Unfortunately, Babylon's Fall manages to disappoint on just about every front.
This review is based on a digital PS5 copy of the game, provided by the publisher. Babylon's Fall is available now on PS4, PS5, and PC for $59.99 USD.
- It's not broken
- Flashes of something unique here and there
- Generic combat
- Clunky movement and animations
- Abysmal character creation options
- Live-service elements are weak
- Visually unappealing
Donovan Erskine posted a new article, Babylon's Fall review: An unworthy endeavor
This is fine as long as Bayonetta 3 is good.
Co-developed by PlatinumGames and Square Enix, Babylon’s Fall is a third-person action RPG that has players grouping up with up to three others as they hack-and-slash their way through hordes of enemies in pursuit of powerful loot. So far, so cliche as far as live service games go. https://airy-tv.com/