Released late last year in Japan, Godzilla has finally come ashore to UK and much like the humans in his films, we would rather he’d slip back under the sea again and never seen of again.
The back of the box promised me movie-like action and gameplay. I really enjoyed the recent Hollywood movie and was hoping for a combination of that film and the traditional monster scraps in and around Tokyo. I was sorely dissapointed. The plot, if you can call it that, is that Godzilla has appeared for the first time in 60 years and has come ashore to destroy and endless stream of generators with the aim to eat and get bigger. There’s a couple of generic characters that say the same old thing over and over in some vain attempt to make it sound like I’m reaching further and further inland and then after God knows how many generators I knocked down the game ends. I did come across a few enemy Kaiju and killed them but movie-like action this is not.
The main portion of the game is the promising sounding God of Destruction mode which has the aim outlined in the plot synopsis above. By clumsily controlling Godzilla you painfully stomp, charge, swipe and breath your atomic breath over the puny humans who pose no threat at all. Whilst the overall objective is to destroy the energy generators you can grow Godzilla but knocking down as many of the buildings as possible and fighting off the army. Yet tanks and choppers can be defeated simply by walking over them as the tanks don’t move and apartment blocks aren’t known for their ferociousness. If the combat was thrilling and the destruction more like a Michael Bay movie than we could have had a good title here. When he does come across a challenge in the form of a Kaiju like Ghidorah or MechaGodzilla then it’s just two minutes of boring and clumsy head to head scrapping. I know Godzilla isn’t some lean, nimble predator but in this game he feels like he’s weighted down with lead and there’s nothing that makes you feel like King of the Monsters.
This mode is actually presented in a rather arcade styles with lots of self contained 5-10 minute missions (if I can call it that as it’s the exact same objective each time, just a different location) with scoreboards and a few other things to pad out the gameplay a bit like optional objectives such as destroying 10 tanks or standing in a certain spot and pressing R3 (yes, you get to do that four times on every level you lucky people!)
Another promising sounding mode is King of Kaiju mode but this is essentially a wave based Kaiju mode where you try and defeat various enemies of Godzilla one after the other. Could have been great but as the mechanics of the game are some poor then it’s just an annoying, boring and frustrating experience.
Finally you’ve got diorama mode which is exactly as you can image. Unlocking different bases and bits and pieces through the main game you get to create a diorama based on any of the game’s assets as you see fit. There’s actually a fair bit of flexibility in terms of placement and you can create some decent dioramas pretty quickly and it’s probably the most sound mode in the whole game . It’s just a shame I don’t want to spend any more time unlocking more options to make the scenes I’d like to see come to life.
Backing these modes is Evolution mode which allows you to use various points you’ve accumulated to power up various skills and abilities plus unlock some new ones. All sounds well and good but with you being so overpowered compared to everything else and the game not being a struggle you don’t really see the benefits of these enhancements.
To be honest I can’t decide if the gameplay or the graphics are worse. They’re as basic as each other and would look poor on an early PS3 title. Godzilla looks okay himself but everything else is just flat and featureless and these cities are so sparse it really doesn’t help build up the sense that Godzilla is some huge monster that can level Tokyo or San Francisco. Audio is basic to and you’ll soon hear the entire lines of dialogue within a few missions.
The one area that has some redeeming qualities is the good roster of Kaiju available to play (not that the combat is made any better) but reading the encolpedia. Containing stills of the creatures appearances in films there’s some cracking black and white photos from the early days of the film series. Information contains some background about the creature’s personility on film but also some information on the production of the monster suits. Did you know for example that the Mecha-King Ghidorah costume weight 200kg!
If the main game was clumsy you’ve seen nothing yet! One on One, hand to hand/claw to claw combat or a three-way fight are the options you have when it comes to online multiplayer. Playing out like the Kaiju battles in the main game but somehow ever worse it’s simply a rubbish scrap between two pretty equal competitors. There’s no real way to beat your opponent other than just mashing the buttons in the same way they’re doing too. It’s so far removed from the quality of other fighters like Street Fighter even ClayFighters 63 1/3 has more finesse.
To sum up
Looks bad and plays even worse, Godzilla truely is a monster.
Version reviewed: PS4
Godzilla is out now on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3.