Review: Godzilla (PS4)

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Title: Godzilla
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (7 GB)
Release Date: July 14, 2015
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Developer: Bandai Namco Games
Original MSRP: $59.99
ESRB Rating: T
Godzilla is also available on PlayStation 3.
The PlayStation 4 disc version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
‘Ponderous’ is the only way to describe Godzilla. Whilst admittedly you wouldn’t expect a 50 metre monster to zip around like Usain Bolt, an action game such as this requires at least a modicum of tempo. The drawn out, lumbering walks between objectives are painful to endure. It’s simply boring.

It is possible to thrust forward by pressing X, but the issue is only exacerbated as there’s a lengthy recovery time. If the combat was exciting, the movement problems could almost be forgiven. Unfortunately, this frustration continues when battling. Recovering from each hit (either given or taken) continues to zap any momentum in Godzilla’s play.

It’s practically impossible to block or counter any enemy attack too, so if you’re up against a slightly quicker Kaiju, you’ll be caught in a flurry of damage that soon sees Godzilla dead. When facing an enemy with ranged moves, this becomes an even bigger concern. The actual attacks are fairly limited – most players will probably mash three buttons – and ultimately makes for unsatisfying gameplay.

There were odd moments in the game where I was mildly entertained, when I managed to build up some sort of rhythm to attacking well-balanced enemies, whilst exploiting the ‘Fury’ built up. ‘Fury’ is essentially a combo meter, which due to the sluggish movement, functions fairly infrequently. Destroying buildings or landing attacks keeps the ‘Fury’ going, but when you can’t destroy anything in time because Godzilla is so slow, the real life fury will be ignited instead.

It's a shame such amazing architecture is going up in flames.

It’s a shame such amazing architecture is going up in flames.

The controls are a mess, mainly due to the odd method of movement. Any flick of the analogue bears no relation to the camera, so pushing Up will always make Godzilla move forward – even if you have the camera facing him head on. It’s impossible to turn using the Left Stick or D-pad. Instead, you’re forced to hold either L1 or R1 whilst rotating the stick in the same direction. The unchangeable scheme is unnecessarily convoluted.

Throughout the game I encountered some glitches which interrupted the play. For instance, at one point, the towering frame of Godzilla was stuck behind a tree. I had destroyed a 20-storey building with a casual swipe of the monster’s arm, yet couldn’t walk over or through a tiny tree.

… environments though are difficult to look at …
In a bid to secure some longevity to the game, there are a good number of Kaiju to play as and against. Furthermore, there are numerous modes to tackle. There’s a type of ‘horde’ mode – ‘King of Kaiju’ – where Godzilla only takes on massive enemies. Another sees players take on the mantle of friendly Kaiju to defend Japan. The main mode is ‘God of Destruction’ though, which involves taking down generators whilst the military attack you from all angles.

Doing so (and defeating enemy Kaiju) will give Godzilla energy to make him grow. At the end of each level, the titular protagonist’s new height will be revealed depending on your performance. Selecting the next level is not completely linear though, as you’re presented with an Outrun-esque easy or hard choice.

Of course, the modes – albeit with different end goals, plus some unique ideas and incidents – all boil down to the same gameplay. The same boring, repetitive gameplay. Due to that inescapable fact, Godzilla is a largely miserable gaming experience.

Visuals:
During my time playing Godzilla on PS4, there was one prevailing thought: I’d hate to see what this game looks like on PS3. Perhaps that’s a little harsh, but in many respects, the aesthetics are incredibly bad. Let’s start with the good: the Kaiju (namely Godzilla) look pretty damn good for the most part, with an evident level of effort from the devs. There is also a variety of locales and some nice effects (such as a grainy, monochrome filter on the prologue).

… an absolute mess of noise …
The environments though are difficult to look at. For a full-priced PS4 title, copying and pasting one building a thousand times is pretty unacceptable. Usually reviewers state how screenshots “don’t do the game justice” – in Godzilla’s case though, the images on this page actually make the game look better than it is in full flow (which is, of course, a snail’s pace). Whenever I pressed the screenshot button, the game pulled its best Barney Stinson impression in miraculously avoiding a bad photo.

Some will say as the majority of buildings are destructible, it doesn’t matter how good they look. To a certain extent, yes, but overall a game is not nice to look at when it has a PS4-quality character in front of a PS2-quality backdrop. The damage modelling is also poor – simply walking over a smashed up building twice will make the entire thing disappear.

In around 30 minutes, Godzilla will finally be within range to attack.

In around 30 minutes, Godzilla will finally be within range to attack.

Audio:
Just as Godzilla is painful to look at, it’s also somewhat painful to hear. During gameplay, this is an absolute mess of noise. Explosions, cries, the music and dialogue combine awfully. The latter two elements are actually not bad in isolation, but the barrage of weaponry ends up grating fairly quickly.

The voice actors (which you could count on one hand) are passable, but the lines of dialogue they’ve been given are appalling. One little feature I did like – which more games should make use of – was that radio chatter comes through the DualShock 4’s speaker.

… even more horrible to play online than it is offline …
Online/Multiplayer:
In my experience with Godzilla online, only a solitary match was unaffected by some sort of choppiness. This lag-affected affair – which entails straight up battles against another monster – is even more horrible to play online than it is offline. The ecosystem it uses is ill-conceived too; there is no semblance of matchmaking, so in my first match I was pitted against the most powerful version of Godzilla available to unlock.

Also, upon completing a match you’re thrown back to the main menu, with no rhyme or reason as to why online matches matter. The only saving grace is the three-player battles, which is a fairly unique feature. It adds a new tactical element – almost like a triple threat wrestling match, you’ll want to break up fights between the other two brawlers in case one of them lays the vital hit.

'Taking a nap' in Godzilla's somewhat unique three-player online.

‘Taking a nap’ in Godzilla’s somewhat unique three-player online.

Conclusion:
Godzilla is one of those games you’d struggle to recommend even when it’s languishing in the bargain bins. There are very few redeeming qualities to this game, which throughout the various modes almost strives to eliminate any fun you’re in danger of having. One of the few bright spots is the attention to detail in capturing Toho’s older iterations of Godzilla.

This – and some neat ideas which were left with unfulfilled potential – is not enough though to save an abysmal attempt at a PS4 title. There’s also a variety of Kaiju to play as and a heap of levels in various modes – but the potential longevity is ruined by insanely repetitive gameplay, preventing it from building a lighthouse in Godzilla’s sea of mediocrity. The awful visuals, lack of nuance, unbelievably sluggish tempo and poorly thought-out control scheme reinforces the feeling that Godzilla is a game to avoid.

Score:
3.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Raj Mahil

Raj Mahil

Game collector. Journalism graduate. Batman addict. Movie goer. WWE nut. Sports obsessive. Arsenal fan. Squawka.com Sub-Editor.

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  • Keith Dunn-Fernández

    My review of your review: “An utter triumph of spirit over crap!” 10/10