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Babylon's Fall Review

Babylon's Fall Review

Babylon's Fall is the latest title from PlatinumGames, the studio known for Bayonetta, NieR: Automata, The Wonderful 101, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and countless other action titles. Having mastered the art of creating over-the-top action, for years the studio showed interest in trying its hand at other kinds of gameplay, and I mean even though it did manage to keep their releases fresh, making the same thing over and over is boring. While Babylon's Fall isn’t a complete departure from what PlatinumGames did in the past, it is the first release to put focus on cooperative online multiplayer, and on mechanics emblematic of Diablo-likes/hack and slash RPGs/looters.


Before you start the game you have to create an avatar to represent you. For each character that you create you can choose from one of several factions, which serve as your in-world origin and dictate what kind of abilities will be available to you later in the game. Cosmetic options here are kept simple, letting you pick one of two body types and giving you several distinct options for each category, letting you make the character your own. This was refreshing to see as I find it a bit frustrating every time I see nested menus with lots of sliders that make the character creation WAY too complicated for the actual importance it has for the rest of the game. In addition to character creation being appropriately streamlined, following the tutorial you can freely keep changing your name and appearance except for body type. So if you ever wanted to do a John Woo Face/Off then you can.


After completing all the customisation you will find yourself becoming a Sentinel, basically superhuman slave cannon fodder for the Dominitinian Empire which is fighting to reclaim its ancient capital Babylon from monsters called Gallu. The setting and the lore is inspired by the Tower of Babel myth from the Book of Genesis about people building a tower to physically reach where God is. There are some clear thematic parallels to the myth in Babylon's Fall too as well as some interesting twists. The plot of the game focuses on the Sentinels trying to reach the top of the Great Ziggurat of Babylonia and defeat the Gallu, initially forced to by their commander and eventually finding their own reasons motivated by sympathetic characters. They will also find out that some things are not what they seem.


The main campaign consists of 29 different quests (stages) separated into seven zones. Quests generally contain four chapters or arenas which you have to clear of enemies to proceed. Between chapters are sections with stray enemies, traps, platforming, and hidden treasure which vary in complexity. While the theme of a stage is largely dictated by which zone it is located in, each stage manages to be its own thing by having unique obstacles or environments, with some not reappearing even in the side content. One of the stages will have you avoid dragon fire while advancing, another has floating platforms that appear only when you get near them, another will have enemies on gun turrets that you can steal from them, and yet another will have platforms moving on lava. As you progress through the game you will get access to side content that isn’t as unique as the campaign stages, reusing elements from them but with new enemy configurations or objectives that create unique combat challenges, and you can clear them to unlock powerful item blueprints or just grind for rare items.

The difficulty curve throughout the campaign is quite smooth, initially introducing enemy types and obstacles in more controlled environments and letting the players figure out how to deal with them. They don’t hammer it in however and soon enough enemies appear in various configurations and more challenging environments. Some of the stages will also end with elite versions of some regular enemies that have new moves or with minibosses, while each zone ends with a unique boss battle that might take a moment to figure out and which will test your skill and loadout.


All quests can be played on your own or with up to three other players. There are no restrictions to play any of the stages; however, if your items’ power levels are lower than the power level of a quest their effectiveness will be reduced based on the difference. Because there is no difficulty scaling based on party size, the higher challenge can be countered by playing with a group; however, playing solo might be impossible depending on level difference. Another important thing to mention about character power level is that it seems to have limited effect if it exceeds the power level of the stage. This means that if you were to replay the game with new players, your raw stats won’t be dramatically different and you can still cooperate.

Grouping up can be a little clunky at first as there are no direct invites as far as I could tell. However it took me only a couple of minutes to figure out how to do it without any help from Google. It requires you to pick a quest that will then appear in the party quests section of the quest board, allowing anyone else in the HQ (lobby) to join it. Players can join specific HQs if they wish by entering a code from another player (if they have one) and private HQs can be formed. To play with others there is also an option to quickmatch. While, unfortunately, the most specific you can get with it is to pick between the type of content you want to do and the game will match you for one of your unlocked quests, you can view what the quest is before it starts and quit if it is not what you want to play. The chapter structure of the quests will also naturally help in preventing random teammates from rushing ahead of you.


Babylon's Fallplays very similar to 3D beat 'em ups like Bayonetta and Devil May Cry. The fights are very reactive and have a good flow to them, while the controls are exactly what you would expect from a game like that with attack chains, launchers, aerial attacks, perfect dodges that open enemies up, and so on. I had some trouble with commands that require directional input which I couldn't make work consistently, as well as the very clunky lock-on system which could use improvement, but neither ruined the combat. Your character is very responsive and animations feel appropriately impactful and weighty, with strong key poses and distinct VFX and SFX making it easier to know what the character is doing when the screen gets busy. Fighting enemies largely revolves around the characters' ability to quad wield weapons, allowing you to assign a separate weapon to fast attack, strong attack, and two spectral attacks. The first two are effectively your hand weapons which will dictate what kind of moves and combos will be available to you. The last two however can be used independently of what the character is doing. For example, a spectral shield can be raised in front of you while you are sprinting at full speed towards a shooting archer, or while you string together a sword combo, a spectral sword can be swung to continuously stagger the enemy leaving them vulnerable to a slow powerful spectral rod attack you were charging all this time. Spectral attacks can be very powerful; however, they will drain your Spirit Points which in turn can be charged by using hand weapons, so you will need to be smart and take advantage of all your weapons to keep up the offensive.

As you progress through the game you unlock more combat mechanics, like Dynamis Abilities which will give you more ways to deal with enemies or support allies, as well as Attack Modes which change the way your weapons work. With Attack Modes, you can customise your moveset and make combos more rewarding, or just increase a weapon’s damage and ability to juggle at the higher SP cost. The only downside to those mechanics is that they take a while to get introduced — with Attack modes unlocking only after you beat the campaign. I would have preferred if these additional mechanics were unlocked earlier, or just left for the players to discover, with an extra tutorial popping up when it's relevant. At the end of the day though everything that makes 3D beat 'em ups is here and it is solid, complete with its own twists. It's not as fast or complex as the genre’s gold standard but it makes up for it in other areas.


Maybe I shouldn’t have come as a castle

While mastering the combat mechanics is important, Babylon's Fall also emphasises customisation through player equipment and loadouts. The weapons and armour pieces that the player finds allow for further tweaks to the way the character plays beyond weapon types, by simply boosting passive stats or with weapon variants that may work differently from other ones. For example, one bow will shoot single powerful shots, while another will shoot in a fan pattern, and yet another one will give you the ability to snipe enemy weak spots when used as a spectral weapon. Perhaps most importantly however, all types of items have enchantments that provide powerful bonuses when certain requirements are met. Some enchantments may provide a damage boost when a perfect dodge is performed, encouraging a reactive playstyle, while other enchantments might boost knockback damage when long hit chains are achieved, encouraging the use of quicker weapons and longer combos. Picking gear based on enchantments allows you to greatly complement the way you play, letting you decide which actions will be rewarding and in what ways.

More ways to customise your loadout will also become available over time. You will be able to equip accessories that have enchantments like other gear but also can unlock new moves while worn, like a Devil May Cry-style Stinger that makes you rush forward and knock enemies away. The services available at the Blacksmith will also expand, for example allowing you to boost the power level of an item by sacrificing another. Because instances of the same item with even wildly different power levels don’t actually have different base stats, you can keep the low-level items you liked and just boost their level later.


Bloom is turned on here

Babylon's Fallis rendered using an innovative style for a videogame, mimicking the look of classic oil paintings by using rich colours, sharp contrasts, and giving everything a certain roughness and texture while keeping the image clear by keeping all the contours sharp. This isn’t limited only to solid objects either, extending to visual effects which tend to have a physical quality to them and, in general, contrast well against the rest of the screen, making them pop out more. The screen can naturally get a bit fuzzy (like all action games) when there is a lot of fast movement, or if it is caused by the environment, like heat waves in the volcanic area. A couple of actual problems I had with the visuals was occasional aliasing, for example during character creation, and the bloom setting being on by default, making light effects a bit overpowering for me, so I would usually play without it which made the image much sharper for me. That said I never had trouble telling what is going on, what my character is doing or what I just got hit by.

The world design appropriately also seems inspired by classic art. Babylonian structures are reminiscent of Baroque and Rococo styles, meaning everything is big, bombastic, and/or has an excessive amount of heavy ornamentation. This goes for the architecture inside the Ziggurat as well as the Gallu and the equipment you can find. The armour ranges from heavily embroidered cloth/leather, through oversized shoulder pads made out of feathers or quills, to plate armour that borders on being an impractical exhibit, and reptile hide styled into an outfit that might be more comfortable on a fashion runway. This aesthetic fits very well since people of Babylonia might have believed themselves to be superior, worthy of being alongside God, so they would make things that matched that belief in appearance. In contrast to Babylonian aesthetics, the Dominitinian Empire seems more focused on utility. The Sentinel HQ in particular looks more practical and in some places even ignores the appearance for the sake of utility. Dominitinian people also wear clothes that are quite practical and similar to the fashion of the Age of Enlightenment and Neoclassicism, which came after Rococo and was largely the opposite of it.


Starting with the title screen, the game contains a lot of driving, epic orchestral music.
The epic part is usually very toned down between quest chapters and comes back with full force once you enter a combat arena. This escalation culminates in grand, opera-style songs during each main boss fight. Similarly to the visual style, there is a contrast here too between quests in the Ziggurat and the Sentinel HQ where music is completely diegetic, with the musician inside the tavern and another one on the pier being the only sources of it.


Babylon's Fallis a very good co-op action-RPG game in which I found plenty I liked as well as some things I haven’t seen before. It was also a risk for the companies involved, being a new IP, having an innovative visual style, and being a departure from PlatinumGames’ usual work. In my book that should be rewarded.

9.00/10 9

Babylon's Fall (Reviewed on Windows)

Excellent. Look out for this one.

BABYLON’S FALL has plenty of quality game design in it, with a good length main campaign and even side content on launch, with more already added, and even more coming for free. Whether the price is worth it is up to you; play the demo and decide for yourself.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review


Staff Writer

Doing it all, but also not much

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Bobcakin008 - 04:00pm, 15th April 2022

Did you guys play the same game everyome else did? Generally wondering how anyone could give this a 9/10 given all the crappy live service design elements that were added bevause corporations are greedy.

Gorzagorz - 02:11am, 16th April 2022 Author

The game has a battle pass, some login rewards and a shop with cosmetics none of which had any impact on my experience. Those elements were never shoved in my face, or advertised during gameplay. They were on my screen maybe 0.05% of my total playtime, and I didn't feel compelled by the gameplay to seek them out either. That is how it was for me. I am sorry that you had a bad time because of those elements.

anonymous - 07:27pm, 27th April 2022

Oh, so you were payed by square enix.

djd4ws0n - 07:28pm, 27th April 2022

And you were brave enough to post anonymously. XD

Acelister - 07:31pm, 27th April 2022

Square Enix didn't even bother to market the game and this one thinks they had the budget to pay for positive reviews.

Drelkag - 05:21am, 3rd August 2022

I agree with this review, and it's a shame I had to scour the internet to find a review that had the slightest positive spin on the game. The setting, music, art style for gear and environments, build variety, and fun combat makes this a great playthrough and worth the $30 you find it for nowadays.

Heill - 05:35am, 7th January 2023

Game is trash, Graphics are awfull so the story and gameplay should be good but they are boring so its 1/10 for me.

Amber - 08:02am, 27th February 2023

Game is dead.