The silence surrounding Platinum for some years now is worrying for some. The well-known Japanese house has almost always been a guarantee of quality, but in the last five years it has undergone heavy internal reorganizations which, combined with a plethora of titles announced and then disappeared for a long time, have raised various rumors about its future. The good mobile game World of Demons, however, has partially rekindled the hopes of seeing this bombastic development team back in action on a super production and therefore, as soon as Square confirmed that – after two years of nothing from the first trailer – we would finally see a presentation of the expected Babylon’s Fall, many Kamiya fans and gang have gone into jujube soup, convinced they were dealing with something potentially sublime.
There is only one small problem: the Babylon’s Fall we saw today is not the one presented in 2019 with the first gameplay video: now it is a title designed to be a live service and its gameplay has changed to the point of making it almost unrecognizable compared to what was initially seen. In this Babylon’s Fall preview we tried to compare the two trailers shown, to understand in detail what has changed.
Welcome comrades, goodbye speed
A live service. A game with content that will be added over time, which can be played in single player, but mainly built around the cooperative. During the Square Enix Summer Showcase, director Saito himself confirmed that Babylon’s Fall would now be, in effect, a game as a service action structured around dungeons to be faced in groups and objectives of increasing difficulty. This is quite a difficult field for Platinum, who has tried to seriously try their hand at multiplayer only with Anarchy Reigns and Scalebound, and in the second case has failed badly. That the game had various playable characters and could include a multiplayer mode, however, was already noticed from the first archive images, therefore – even with all the reservations deriving from the many problems of today’s GAAS – a change in the race to chase a structure potentially more lucrative is not entirely surprising. It’s the gameplay changes that have blown us away.
The first trailer of Babylon’s Fall, in fact, will not have been particularly remarkable from a graphic and artistic point of view, but it was promising to say the least as regards the combat system, and boasted a fluidity and speed of action in line with the best PlatinumGames video games. Only one of the available classes had been shown – a skilled swordsman with various energy fluctuating swords at his service – but his attacks were spectacular and lightning-fast, and it seemed possible to perform complex offensive actions in series with the blades by activating certain conditions in battle.
The game shown today, on the other hand, is a cooperative action RPG with a steady pace, and that same swordsman moves at half the original speed, not to mention that his attacks do not seem to have the same impact as those seen previously. If that wasn’t enough, the multiple combinations seem to have become series of normal strokes, woody and slow as the movements described above.
The reason? Since the game has moved to a structure designed to support group gameplay, it seems that the Platinum have chosen to greatly modify the speed of action, perhaps to encourage clear cooperation between players and not to exceed the number of maneuvers. for individual characters. In practice, they have adopted more simplistic and clearer mechanics to avoid the chaos of group battles. As mentioned, however, the final effect is not the best: the enemies seem immobile when compared to the boss shown previously and his area maneuvers, the animations do not shine for quality and the classes seem to be built around rather basic roles, such as the tank, who appears to have only slow attacks and a permanent front shield, or the archer, who during the video does little other than hopping and shooting magic arrows with the force of a pincushion.
All for one, one by one.
The absurd thing is that the fulcrum of the system seems to have remained: according to the words of the developers, the heart of it all is the ability to activate the powers of one’s alter ego by performing combat actions adequately, which should indicate the possibility of obtaining energy. for more powerful attacks by carrying out the less devastating ones, or with perfectly timed defensive actions. The energy gained converts into the ability to use extra weapons separately from the player’s basic attacks.
A similar gameplay, perfectly suited to the first incarnation of the game, however, seems to have been translated into this new Babylon in a simple doubling of the shots, without variegated maneuvers to modify the combinations. This could, curiously, be linked to the willingness of the developers to add complex moves and extra combos through the updates published over time (it was confirmed in an interview), but there is the risk of a game that is too basic in its initial form, if you exaggerate.
For heaven’s sake, it is clear that each class has unique abilities and we do not doubt there is a certain mechanical balance, considering the history of Platinum, yet what we have seen remains a serious change of course compared to the rhythm of the initial concept, and also from the point of view graphic the changes made are sensitive: the look inspired by oil painting and the stylization of the settings are still present, but the characters have a much more classic design.
If nothing else, we can sense a certain care for the narrative element (which will undoubtedly be analyzed in detail) and for the soundtrack, and the presence of a loot system related to the development and fighting style of the protagonists. This is the element that gives the most hope, because the gameplay initially seemed tied to specific classes, but it should be possible to mix weapons in the character slots to use skills of various classes at the same time. Although in the presentation of Square Enix this chance has practically never been exploited, it would be an important change of perspective and capable of raising the combat system, especially if linked to the apparently elaborate crafting system of the game and to the additional maneuvers included in the time we were talking about earlier.
The changes Babylon’s Fall has undergone in the space of two years are many. The game is not only now meant to be a live service, but it seems to have been slowed down and simplified, with the risk of losing that spark that brought it closer to the most renowned Platinum productions. We hope it is only a first impression and that the closed beta coming soon will be able to make us change our mind, allowing us to test the various elements described by the developers.