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Preview: Babylon’s Fall Closed Beta Suffered From Frustrating Combat

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Preview: Babylon's Fall Closed Beta Suffered From Frustrating Combat

Babylon’s Fall is a title that was announced in 2018 with nothing more than a few motion graphics and a short CGI segment to reveal a potential concept. It wasn’t until late 2019 when actual gameplay footage appeared. It looked smooth. There is always that sort of standard that comes when you’re aware of a developer’s body of work, and I was mostly pleased with what I saw in the trailers. My expectations fairly high, as PlatinumGames created truly interesting character action games like Bayonetta, Vanquish, and the more obscure Anarchy Reigns. But what was Babylon’s Fall in 2019 is different from what the game is now is now. What appeared to be a promising action title transformed into a live service game and, during the latest closed beta test, Babylon’s Fall felt bogged down by clunky controls and the multiplayer system that will be vital to its success.

As you can imagine, I really wanted to like Babylon’s Fall going into the closed beta. PlatinumGames titles can be a hit or a miss, but generally the gameplay tends to make up for any major grievances. Be it a lackluster story or an unappealing visual style, if there is one thing PlatinumGames is good at, it’s combat. However based on the preview, this game be the exception. I’ve never played an action game more frustrating. Enemies have no attack reaction, and even performing dexterous actions like dodging or jumping felt like my character was wading through mud. Usually a lack of attack reaction is compensated by invincibility frames, but Babylon’s Fall didn’t give me much of a chance to recover if I’d made even the slightest mistake.

It feels like an intentional oversight, as the beta demonstrated that Babylon’s Fall will be a live service game with gameplay mechanics centered specifically around grinding for loot as people fight their way up a tower. Players queue up in teams of up to four, though you can choose to go alone, which I do not advise. The premise is simple enough that the lack of exposition in the beta test wasn’t an issue. I just simply had to fight my way up through the tower and try to obtain better loot to continue. Enemies will drop items of various rarities that you can appraise after you’ve cleared the level, which is broken into segments. The game in this build was arguably a lot easier with four players. With anything less, it became increasingly more difficult. Especially if players didn’t have gear that could protect them sufficiently.

Babylon's Fall beta

There were a handful of weapons available in the closed beta test. This included a sword, rod, bow, and hammer. Each of these weapons comes with their own abilities and sub abilities that can be used to damage enemies. I used the bow for the most part, though sometimes regretted it. In this build, I would sometimes get locked into combat animations that would get me staggered into enemy attacks. The rod wasn’t much better, but had a charge skill that allowed me to use the special skills allotted to my secondary weapons.

That’s the unique aspect of Babylon’s Fall. There are primary and secondary weapons. Primary weapons can be used to gain charge to release attacks from secondary weapons, which appear as spectral weapons. I would spam these abilities, as they gave me sufficient distance from my foes and could retreat to charge using the rod. Thankfully, the people I had been paired with in multiplayer had decent enough gear to tank hits while I’d throw spectral swords from afar.

Enemies designs were nondescript and easily forgettable in this build of Babylon’s Fall. The art direction feels like it’s torn between a painterly aesthetic and something more realistic. There are sparse bits of color in the game, but not enough to make anything feel visually distinct. It is almost everything is washed over in muted colors of brown, red, or green. There wasn’t anything particularly striking about Babylon’s Fall, at least not visually. And it’s a shame, because while the player hub looked pretty in the closed beta and felt alive with NPCs sometimes making the rounds, it just didn’t feel that involved. Character creation is also available, but the textures and models felt extremely dated in this build. Additionally, the implementation of darker skin colors is lacking and leaves your character model looking washed out.

Babylon's Fall

The beta test has me feeling cold about Babylon’s Fall. It isn’t a particularly pretty game, and the gameplay isn’t all that interesting or good. It feels like a title that should have been released in the mid-2000s. With the success of the game potentially banking on an active player base, I’m worried Babylon’s Fall will be dead on arrival. Since PlatinumGames already implemented several changes based player feedback, I hope that the developers will at the very least be able to fine-tune the gameplay before its eventual release.

Babylon’s Fall is in development for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC.

Kazuma Hashimoto
Translator and streamer, Kazuma spends his time playing a variety of games ranging from farming simulators to classic CRPGs.