It had to happen at some point – Babylon’s Fall might be PlatinumGames’ first bad game.
Okay, perhaps bad is a bit of a strong word. Going hands-on with a very small portion of Babylon’s Fall via PS5, ultimately I just found it exceedingly dull. Though with some tweaks, it could be made at least somewhat enjoyable.
A co-op focused action RPG, Babylon’s Fall has you creating a character and choosing a class before you’re let loose in Neo Babylon, a city at the foot of a giant tower called “The Ziggurat”. Playing alone or with others, it’s your job to climb the tower and raid its treasures, but with numerous enemies and hazards along the way, it’s not going to be easy.
From a quest board you’re able to select missions, each with a recommended power level. The missions I played threw me into fairly linear environments, with hallways and walkways leading to more open areas where combat took place. There was the odd chance to go off the beaten path, however, and doing so generally led to rewards such as chests full of loot or crystals to be destroyed for currency.
Surprisingly for a PlatinumGames game, it’s the combat of Babylon’s Fall that is currently its downfall. Upon entering a clearing, enemies warp in – generally four or five of them at a time. The problem is, they’re extremely tanky, requiring you to wail upon each one of them for a considerable amount of time before they go down. They’re unflinching, too, hitting through your attacks even when you’re pounding them with a giant stone hammer that probably weighs more than them.
It’s a shame, because there are some good ideas at play here. For example, you can equip and make use of four weapons in combat. Two weapons are equipped to your hands, allowing you to strike with them as normal and mix up your attacks; you might like performing two slashes with a sword before finishing your combo with a heavy hit from a hammer. The other two weapons are seemingly controlled by a device on your back, and are powered by a gauge that recharges at a decent rate.
Choosing your loadout, then, is something to be considered. You might want to equip a shield in one of your four weapon slots to allow you to block. Or a ranged weapon such as a bow to do some damage from a distance. Each weapon also has special ability that you can perform by charging an attack, and some have other effects, too.
Aside from its overly tanky enemies, Babylon’s Fall has another issue; its drab visuals. At no point did I feel like I was playing a PS5 game – the muted colour palette combined with rough edges culminate in what can only be described as an eyesore. Character and enemy designs aren’t particularly inspiring, either. With a fantasy setting, you have your usual orcs and knights, lacking any additional flair to make to make them stand out.
One positive thing I can say about Babylon’s Fall is that its loot system shows promise. As you battle your way through a mission, you’ll acquire various coloured relics by defeating enemies and looting containers. And when it ends, whether by victory or defeat, those relics will be converted into pieces of gear. Each piece of gear will affect your stats and abilities in some way, and also your appearance. If, like me, you enjoy spending hours playing games like Diablo in pursuit of growing ever stronger, it’s bound to prove a decent draw.
With Babylon’s Fall not even having a release date yet, there’s every chance that things could be turned around before it launches. Going by what I’ve played so far, I’m not expecting it to be a must-have, but it could at least be an entertaining time-sink for those enamoured with loot – as long as the combat is made more interesting. As it stands, the stoic nature of the game’s enemies and their considerable HP pools just make it a slog.