I will be transparent here and admit that my excitement for Babylon’s Fall sunk when its live service implementation was announced. Still, with developer Platinum Games at the helm of the project, chances are that combat would hold up in some way or another. Well, after playing the most recent Closed Beta Test, my experience was middling. The title’s current state has some addictive qualities, but numerous combative decisions hold it back from being a meaningful time.
Throughout this brief Closed Beta Test period, players could progress through several dungeons, increasing in challenge. The dungeons themselves are relatively linear, with a few side paths containing treasure and items alongside some timed movement to avoid hazards.
These inclusions are brief yet welcome light diversions in the midst of the primary gameplay element; combat. Each dungeon has “Chapters’ which are essentially fighting sequences between players and monsters. To be blunt, as initially engaging as it is, combat quickly grows dull and tiresome, not emitting enough individual flare or combo uniqueness to stand out.
That isn’t to say it’s all an inherent negative because some features like the perfect dodge maneuver and Spectral Attacks add noteworthy spice, yet it all feels spectacle and no substance. Furthermore, utilizing any close-ranged weapon feels borderline identical. For instance, using the sword and hammer was nowhere as distinct as I was hoping for it to be. Both weapons have immense animation lag, which didn’t make quite as much sense to me for the sword as it did for the hammer. Further, the enemies had steep health gauges, amplifying the sense of powerlessness that came with any chosen weapon.
While the intention is to replay dungeons and gradually obtain better gear, the first experience in a dungeon is somewhat miserable. Even when in your intended level range and with other players, battles feel more akin to taking down a series of sturdy walls rather than inventive, thought-provoking foes.
It may seem like I’m being overly harsh on this early playtest, but I’m not trying to come off that way. Believe it or not, I did have a bit of fun going through the process of gearing my characters up, but it was the sort of mindless, background type of enjoyment that I doubt was the aim here.
Regarding other aspects, performance was smooth during multiplayer with no noticeable latency. So, if you enjoy the gameplay loop presented, you’ll likely be satisfied with the multiplayer implementation. However, visually speaking, none of the character models looked particularly appealing, and none of the areas were memorable despite being conceptually hooking.
Unfortunately, my time with Babylon’s Fall’s Closed Beta Test was a rather soulless experience, at least as someone who did not play the previous tests. Combat felt like a chore, and gradual character strength progression does little to remedy that misgiving. I don’t think the design is objectively at fault, but it was simply not what I was hoping for or expecting. At best, I can foresee Babylon’s Fall being a lukewarm, moderately fulfilling cooperative action title. As it currently stands, though, I have no interest in it.
Babylon’s Fall is in development for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC.
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