Reviews

‘Godzilla’ Review

Godzilla Screen 1

Platforms PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 Genre Action-Adventure

  Platform Played PlayStation 4 Developer/Publisher Bandai Namco Games

Translating the gigantic size and power of Godzilla to a video game has never been easy, with many failed attempts scattered throughout history. Unfortunately Godzilla on PlayStation 4 does not alter this reoccurring trend.

From the first tutorial it’s easy to mistake Godzilla for an early PlayStation 3 release, with some of the worst visuals I have seen on current generation hardware. Towering cities look identical from the last, with city blocks consisting of mostly the same few building archetypes. Making matters worse, each location is overwhelmingly filled with the colour grey; from the bland buildings, the large collection of smoke, to the plain landscapes that surround each small city stage. The impressive selection of 20 plus Kaiju on offer do not fare much better. The character design does look almost identical to their movie counterparts, but the textures that embody each beast look unpleasant. There is almost no detail in these creatures, which is a shame because the roster of Kaiju is so iconic and unique.

Controlling the selection of Kaiju does not fare much better. Though I expected Godzilla to be a slow hulking beast, the speed at which these characters move is almost a snail’s pace. Which made traversing even the smallest of stages a draining experience. This is made worse due to the archaic control scheme. Despite a perfectly good analog stick which could be used to turn each Kaiju, each creature can only be turned using the shoulder buttons on the controller. I am baffled as to why this is the control scheme implemented, and the fact there does not seem to be a way to alter it prolonged my confusion. Controlling Godzilla feels more like driving a semi driver, instead of feeling like the empowered and destructive force it should.

Most of your time in Godzilla will be spent replaying God of Destruction Mode, which pits Godzilla against 25 different stages with a loose story of events attempting to tie it all together. The government has discovered G-Energy and created the G-Force Response Unit to protect it, and aside from small audio introductions (which include both English and Japanese voice-over tracks) to each stage there is almost no narrative. You will spend a majority of your time destroying buildings in each stage, fighting random Kaiju which attack, and ending the stage by destroying a few generators. Now rinse, repeat, and do it again. Destroying buildings will see Godzilla increase his size from the G-Energy he earns, which is required to be able to defeat opposing Kaiju. Though for no reason at all, Godzilla will randomly encounter overpowered Kaiju, which will destroy him within a short time frame; for the fun of it I guess?

Godzilla Screen 5

Unfortunately there is almost no variation in each stage, aside from differing sets of difficulty depending on which stage you choose to visit next. Godzilla will contend with the G-Force Response Unit which include tanks, choppers and jets, but these opponents don’t provide much challenge at all, they are merely mosquitoes as you destroy the city around you. Battling opposing Kaiju does offer some excitement, but these battles mostly require you to deliver the same three attacks over and over until the beast falls. These encounters are more similar to a match of Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots, rather than the epic encounters one would expect of them. God of Destruction Mode does offer two alternate modes which allow you to use different Kaiju, or defend the populous from opposing Kaiju; though these are both ultimately the same.

Each of the 20 plus Kaiju available may be upgraded in Evolution Mode, which will see recharge rates for Atomic Breath and altered attacks unlocked. Though to unlock these evolutions, players must replay God of Destruction Mode, which provides a monotonous cycle of smashing buildings and replaying the same stages in hopes of improving each Kaiju. Evolution Mode also unlocks new figures which can be used in Diorama Mode.

This mode allows players to create dioramas with different locations and Kaiju, altering their positions and angle of the camera. This is an interesting idea, but unfortunately falls flat. Despite being able to create these unique dioramas there is absolutely no way to share these with the community, or download other created dioramas. Though you can share them using the PlayStation 4 social media capabilities, having its own infrastructure would have been a delightful way to share your creations with the community.

Godzilla Screen 3

Aside from God of Destruction Mode, players can battle through King of Kaiju, which is a series of six Kaiju battles in a timed format. Simply defeat all six as fast as possible to upload your time to the online leaderboards, or venture online to face real players instead of AI controlled Kaiju. Online battles take place between two or three players, though there doesn’t seem to be any dedicated servers or any way to choose which region of players you are facing. This means you should prepare for a rough online experience, with my dozen plus matches all suffering from almost unplayable lag. Whether I was playing on Wifi or LAN connection, at different times of day, from different internet locations, my experience was awful. This online version of Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots suffers from the worst lag I have experienced on this generation’s hardware. Unfortunately if you don’t want to venture online there is no other choice, with no local Kaiju battles offered in any form. The lacking local competitive or cooperative features is another disappointing misfire.

One of my favourite features of Godzilla is the Kaiju Guide, which acts as a glossary to all the Kaiju featured in the game and more. Each entry features in-depth summaries of each Kaiju, which include how they came into existence, movie appearances, and even how many people it took to operate these creations in each film. Learning about the history and unique details of each Kaiju was great, and it’s a real shame this level of detail didn’t find its way into many other aspects of Godzilla.

the-verdict

Unfortunately Godzilla is not a good game, and really only appeals to the most hardcore of Kaiju fans. God of Destruction Mode is monotonous and draining, which is unfortunate because if you want to unlock each Kaiju and upgrade their abilities, be prepared to replay this mode over and over again.

Aside from God of Destruction Mode the overall product is lacking, missing features like local coop options, or easy online sharing capabilities for your created dioramas. With archaic controls, poor visuals and an unstable online component, it’s hard to recommend Godzilla. Though the history lesson found in the Kaiju Guide and the impressive 20 plus roster of Kaiju is great.

Those wanting a top quality Kaiju experience, will unfortunately have to wait until the next Godzilla game arises from its deep slumber.

The Good

  • Detailed history of each Kaiju.
  • Roster of Kaiju.

The Bad

  • Poor visuals.
  • Archaic controls.
  • Monotonous gameplay.
  • Poor performing online.

The Score: 3.5


 

Jamie Briggs manages Analog Addiction and you can like them on Facebook, follow his daily life on Twitter @JamieAA, and his videos on YouTube.

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