With the ongoing popularity of “Games as a Service” titles, more and more companies are trying to create their version of the model that will gain traction and grow over time. In collaboration with renowned developer Platinum Games, Square Enix has attempted to do this with Babylon’s Fall, which takes place in a more fantastical setting. While the combat feels fresh and new – right according to Platinum’s reputation – Babylon’s Fall is otherwise shaping up to be a fundamental mess with base features being absent or convoluted. It thus far adds up to create a sluggish, boorish rut that needs much more time to hone in and focus on what it wants to be, or else it will be dead on arrival.
In Babylon’s Fall you play as a Sentinel, a customizable warrior chosen by a relic known as the Gideon Coffin. You’re given the power to fight against the looming threats in a grand standing tower titled The Ziggurat. Each quest will advance you higher until you inevitably hit the summit. With my play time being from a closed beta test, I was only given access to the first six levels, which naturally became more difficult the higher I rose in the tower.
When it comes to the level design, quests are uninspired, to the point of unengaging hallways, obvious encounter areas, and few loot chests along the way.
After finishing each quest I was rewarded with loot to make my character stronger, but what made the situation frustrating was I couldn’t see the loot I earned until the level was already over. Instead of showing me exactly what the items were, I picked up “relics” instead – stopping me from being able to upgrade in between fights during a quest.
Between quests, sentinels are housed at the Sentinel Force HQ where I was able to accept quests, sell items, and manage inventory. Quests are picked up through a job board, and other players in the hub world can join your missions to create a team of up to four. Playing with your friends, on the other hand, is a complicated hurdle to jump over.
There is a very limited number of players who can be in the Sentinel Force HQ at the same time, and despite being primarily a cooperative experience, Babylon’s Fall doesn’t give you the option to invite a friend into your party in a traditional sense. To have a friend join, you must give them your “HQ code,” an eight-digit number that will let them join the same hub world as you to squad up into the same quest. Making matters worse, once your friend joins you are not automatically in a party together; you’re just in the same hub. Thus, it’s possible to accidentally start a mission without your friend being a part of it.
This HQ code approach is likely a result of cross-play support between PlayStation consoles and PC, but with so many other online games nowadays utilizing much simpler options, implementing a bloated multistep system like this in 2021 is, frankly, unacceptable.
Sentinels are equipped with four different weapons that are dedicated to one specific button. Two weapons work as the light and heavy attack while the other two are your spectral weapons. Outside of health you have a spectral energy bar that depletes as you use your spectral weapons, but returns both over time and when you hit enemies with your light and heavy attacks. There are five different weapon types including a sword, hammer, bow, rod, and shield allowing you to mix and match with different loadouts creating some varied combat scenarios once you obtain better gear, but that does not make up for much when most encounters are so uneventful. Bosses put up more of a fight down the line, but when they’re as rare as they are the gameplay isn’t worth investing in.
Babylon’s Fall is in a rough state right now. It has little going for it, especially when other games as a service titles like Destiny are thriving more than ever before and others in the same vein with name recognition behind it like Marvel’s Avengers is itself struggling to gain a solid footing. Platinum has certainly proven over the years that they have the talent. Here’s hoping they get the time to bring Babylon’s Fall up to its full potential.
- online games
- Square Enix