Babylon's Fall Review

Richard Walker

It seems that there are two PlatinumGames. One is the studio behind cast-iron greats like Bayonetta, Vanquish, and NieR: Automata. The other is responsible for relatively middling efforts like The Legend of Korra and Anarchy Reigns. Unfortunately, Babylon's Fall comes under that latter category, with an ugly art style, a repetitive gameplay loop, and some rather pedestrian combat. Even the story fails to grab your attention, boasting dull exposition, peppered with incomprehensible jargon (Energeia? Dynamis? Gideon Coffins?). It's a mess.

Yep, this is about as good as it looks.

If you manage to untangle the narrative, the basic premise is simple enough. You are a Sentinel, a vassal lucky (or unlucky) enough to have survived the procedure of having a Gideon Coffin grafted to their back. Using the aforementioned doohickey, you're able to conjure four weapons (using any combination of swords, hammers, rods, bows, or shields) out of thin air, physically wielding one in each hand and magicking the other two as spectral weapons. On paper, this four-weapon system ought to imbue the game's combat with variety and flexibility, but, instead, you end up mashing four buttons instead of two.

The trouble is, despite having a dodge button for graceful evasion manoeuvres and a subtle slow-motion window for managing to sidestep enemy attacks at just the right time, there's very little overall finesse to combat encounters in Babylon's Fall. Clearly, Platinum has attempted to minimise button mashing by having your 'Gideon Arms' (the two spectral weapons mapped to L2 and R2) limited by a spirit gauge, which dwindles with each use of either weapon, but it doesn't really work. Enemies are fairly uninspired, too, falling into conventional archetypes like shield carriers, projectile chuckers, or grunts armed with clubs or swords. And they’re a bit rubbish.

As you begin each mission, scaling the Tower of Babylon, working through each of its samey levels alone or with up to three other players, the action very quickly grows tiresome. Without a coherent story, much in the way of variation by way of level design, or even some lovely visuals to admire, there's a paucity of reasons to keep playing. Granted, there's loot and currency (conches) to collect, and new weapons and armour to earn or craft at the forge, but it all looks awful. Helmets, gauntlets, and greaves are ill-fitting and oversized, so your custom Sentinel looks unwieldy and stupid, and there’s nothing that will have other players looking at your character with envy, like they might in, say, Destiny 2.

Cosmetic ‘vanity’ items enable you to override armour styles with far better-looking results, but the majority of these are attached to painfully slow Battle Pass progression, or parting with real cash by purchasing 'Garaz' for expensive microtransactions – a desirable armour set (purely cosmetic, of course), for instance, could cost you 1,500 Garaz (about $20/£15). Customisation, for both your character’s look and their gear, is limited, and what's on offer is quite poor, but that's really the least of Babylon's Fall's problems.

As far as games-as-a-service titles are concerned, Babylon's Fall just about misses the mark in almost every respect. It's hard to care about any of the immediately forgettable characters you encounter – apart from maybe gear vendor Pygmalion and his floating puppeteer Galatea – especially key characters such as Lycus, who's infected with a disease known as the ‘Blue Death’, and the only cure is to extinguish the Blue Sun. It seems like a lot of trouble to go through for a solitary dullard we couldn't give two shits about. Companions Gallagher and Sylvi don't fare much better, rendering cutscenes an eye-rolling ordeal you'll be desperate to skip.

Babylon's Fall isn't entirely irredeemable. Played in co-op with friends, there's a modicum of strategy to be had as you coordinate attacks and chip away at colossal bosses, and you may find a slight spark of satisfaction in earning a 'Pure Platinum' medal at the end of a chapter. But then, a bizarre design choice - like underwater sections, which deliberately slow the combat down by creating a weird sense of inertia – will rear its head, and you'll wonder why you're wasting your time with this, when there are far superior games like Elden Ring or Horizon Forbidden West out in the world.

Kick its ass. If you can be bothered, that is.

Therein lies another damaging issue. Babylon's Fall couldn't really have come out at a worse time – during a busy February and March period where we've had a succession of remarkable action games demonstrating what's possible on PlayStation 5. In contrast, Babylon's Fall looks and plays like something on PS3, its murky art style supposedly inspired by medieval oil paintings, with its strange canvas effect and repellent character models, proving an instant turn-off before you've even stepped foot in the boring Tower of Babylon.

Visual fidelity (or lack thereof) aside, there's just not a whole lot to like about Babylon's Fall. A shoddy story, repetitious combat, a lack of meaningful incentives to play, and little scope for exploration add up to make this a PlatinumGames misfire of catastrophic magnitude. You have to wonder what the steps were leading up to the release of Babylon's Fall, and how it ever managed to see the light of day in the first place. Stick this one right in a coffin, Gideon or otherwise, and nail it shut.

Babylon's Fall

A game unworthy of PlatinumGames' action pedigree, Babylon's Fall is a fairly wretched co-op experience; a messy game whose story, combat, and overall gameplay completely fails to deliver. There are occasional bursts of enjoyment to be had, but they're quickly stomped into the ground by shoddy design and relentlessly lacklustre game mechanics.

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Bland voice acting and entirely forgettable (though decent enough) orchestral music make for a very unremarkable aural experience. Meh.


Truly horrible. Described by Square Enix as “unique” and “striking”, a more apt description for the hideous painterly art style is 'just plain ugly'.


There's nothing fundamentally wrong here, per se, but that doesn't stop Babylon's Fall being a repetitive, tedious, and desperately unrewarding grind.


Plenty of content, including endgame sieges and skirmishes (if you dig in for long enough), but it's all rather mundane.


Small mercies. Babylon's Fall's trophy list is simple and straightforward, with only 30 to complete, all of which will come fairly easily.

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