|My Dragon Ball Xenoverse character, Artick! He's a Galactic Patrolman, and one of the few heroic members of Freeza's race (As far as I'm aware of).|
Before diving into the meat of the game, though, let's cover the story. The narrative of the game, much like a good majority of the Millenium series, starts off in 1954 with the original Godzilla's rampage in Tokyo. This serves as the tutorial portion of the game, as you are taught how to move Godzilla, as well as use his light, heavy, and grapple attacks, not to mention his trademark atomic breath, to destroy a small portion of the city. This portion of the game is in black and white, but sadly you don't control the 1954 Godzilla here, it's the Heisei Godzilla you play the main story mode with. After completing your objective in this level, we are told this Godzilla was only driven away by the sacrifice of "Professor" Serizawa (Why they didn't call him Dr. is beyond me). They don't specifically mention the Oxygen Destroyer or say that Godzilla died. The game then explains that over the past 60 years, Japan learned to harness the energy Godzilla left behind, "G-Energy", to use as power for their nation. Japan also created the "G-Force" organization in case Godzilla or any other giant monsters ever returned, under the guise of a normal disaster response unit.
In the present day, Godzilla DOES return (obviously), though it is not specified if this is the original Godzilla or another one. Godzilla is attracted to the G-Energy Generators, as they just happen to be his favorite food source, according to one of the three Prime Ministers who oversee Japan during the game. The path you take through the game's levels determine which authority figure is in charge. The only real difference here is one of them is a complete moron who thinks Godzilla "deserves to be treated with respect and dignity" and "could be a friend to humanity if we left him alone" (Like...lmfao wat?), another one wants to do everything "by the book", the other wants to destroy Godzilla. How does this translate to gameplay? Via the Disaster Level, a mechanic somewhat similar to the "Wanted" meter in GTA, as the higher it is raised (By destroying buildings, military units and generators as Godzilla) the stronger military weaponry you will face. Various other monsters appear during the course of the story to challenge Godzilla, as the human characters speculate they are drawn to him somehow. G-Force responds to these Kaiju with maser tanks, Super-X 1-3, the Gotengo, and once all the data on Godzilla is collected, Super MechaGodzilla or Kiryu (Depending on the path you take). Should Godzilla conquer all these challenges, he becomes Burning Godzilla and faces his final opponent, Godzilla 2014. That's really the only story we get. I'm glad they gave us a story, at least, but I can't say much about it beyond that. A pretty watered down Heisei/Millenium Godzilla story, all in all.
Now as for the Gameplay...here is where things get tricky. If you're not a Godzilla fan, you won't appreciate the pace in which Godzilla vents his frustration on major urban areas. To me, however? It just feels RIGHT. I never felt 100% comfortable running through arenas, jumping across the screen, etc, in Atari's Godzilla games. There is none of that here. You won't see Gigan teleporting or Anguirus shooting a laser barrage from his spikes. This is the truest, most authentic Godzilla experience put into the medium of game thus far. I truly think this game was designed to be nothing but a single player, solo Godzilla movie simulation along the lines of Godzilla Generations on the Dreamcast at first, as the gameplay feels much more at home trashing buildings than enemy monsters (Thus I'm kinda sorta reluctant to play the Vs. mode once I get the PS4 version). I am certainly glad the monster combat was added in, it just doesn't feel quite as natural as it should. Another reason this feels like a movie simulator is the emphasis on special camera angles, or "Data Collection Points" triggered by standing in a certain spot on each stage and allowing video footage to be taken of Godzilla. There are 4 spots you must find in each level. All these collection sites must be activated, as well as destroying each level 100%, to unlock the later stages in the game. If you don't do so, it simply tells you "To Be Continued…" then kicks you back to the title screen, once you get to a certain point in the game.
The fighting itself can be slightly tricky with no block function to speak of (save for Godzilla's Nuclear Pulse, though it will deplete your beam gauge), but the enemy AI doesn't do many frustrating combos, so if you play aggressively and Nuclear Pulse when you need to, you'll be fine. Now, if you want to talk frustrating...at random points throughout the game, a 100 meter tall monster might appear while Godzilla is still in the 50-70 meter tall range at random. Unless you are incredibly skilled and lucky, this matchup will be nearly unwinnable. Fortunately, should you lose and continue, another, normal sized monster will appear when you try again. It's just an annoying challenge without a real reward should you pull off the upset.
Another "mode" is the Kaiju Guide, a wikipedia-like guide with various Kaiju (some that aren't even in the game) with information about them both in-universe and trivia about them IRL (Like how Gabara's head was reused from a Godzilla suit). I'm fairly certain that using the Data Collection points unlocks Kaiju Guide entries, as that's what happened in my experience. There is also a Diorama Mode where you can place unlockable figurines of the monsters on a stage (stages are unlocked by achieving a 100% destruction level on them during the game, and figures are unlocked by destroying more memorable and unique structures) in a variety of poses and take pictures. It's a nice little distraction, in my opinion.
Evolution Mode is where you unlock new moves and upgrade your atomic energy meter. The system isn't the best as you need "parts/cells" from all monsters to upgrade, which are obtained by beating a certain monster, and some monsters show up far less frequently than others. However if you persevere, it shouldn't be TOO much of an issue (not looking forward to doing this with all the other unlockable monsters in the PS4 version, as only the Godzilla's are playable in this version and the evolution carries over to Burning Godzilla).
King of the Kaiju mode is essentialy an arcade style mode where you play as your desired Godzilla incarnation and face 6 Kaiju in succession. Nothing much to it, really. Frustratingly, if you happen to die in this mode, instead of starting on the stage you left off from, you instead have to start all over, right from the very beginning (in fact, when you lose you're booted right to the main menu). Also, much to my dismay, this is where Godzilla 2014 is confined to. You literally only have this mode to play him with. Another reason to get the PS4 version, I suppose.
Even with a few shortcomings, judging the game as I believe it was intended to be judged, as a simulation of a tokusatsu film, it succeeds. That certainly won't appeal to the average gamer, but I believe Bandai Namco accomplished what they set out to do. It may just not have been what we all wanted or expected.
Now, graphics....let me go ahead and say that everyone comparing this game's graphics to a Gamecube, PS2 or even PS1 game (and yes I've read all of these) are in serious need of a freakin' eye exam. The monsters are looking their absolute best here. That's not to say they are perfect; I am very much put off by King Ghidorah's hunched over posture, he doesn't stand tall and proud like he does in the movies (And I swear to god I can see the seams/gaps where articulation points would be on the S.H. Monsterarts figure with Ghidorah in particular...), Mechagodzilla's tail is strangely flexible, Mothra's not nearly fluffy enough to be her 1992 appearence, etc...but those are nitpicks. Buildings actually explode when you hit them and crumble into pieces unlike the buildings of previous Godzilla games that seemed to sink into the earth. Levels look nice enough, as the outdoor environments span both day and night, and the water is pretty as well. You may spot some buildings you recognize (The giant ferris wheel from Godzilla vs Mothra 1992, Tokyo Tower, etc), and there are also stationary gun/laser firing turrets as well as the G-Energy Generators. My main complaint about the graphics is that it can be very hard to get your disaster level all the way to 100% in every level, I often find myself stuck at 99% unsure of what tiny piece of rubble the game is waiting for me to find and step on. With that said, let's be clear; this is not a "AAA" title, and was never meant to be. There are no real time weather effects, the clipping is problematic, but I'd rather have body parts going through buildings than not have enough buildings to smash.
Now, on to the sound...and by far the greatest feature of the PS3 version, in my opinion, is the custom soundtrack support that allows you to import your own MP3's and assign them to every level, monster, and special military unit in the game to use as their theme music (I hear this ability is completely, bafflingly removed from the PS4, and instead you have to load up music the old fashoned way by going to the PS4 dashboard and loading up the music manually while the game is playing). It just fills me with joy every time I load up a stage and one of the many versions of the Godzilla themes boot up, or if I face someone like Destroroyah or MechaGodzilla, their respective themes trumpet loudly from my surround sound sound bar (I don't even remember the original themes because I IMMEDIATELY changed the soundtrack to Toho music).
On top of that, every roar and attack is pretty much spot on. The monsters footsteps even sound different; Mechagodzilla has his "stomp" sound for every step he takes on land, which is totally different from Godzilla's! The beam attacks seem to have the correct sound, everything here is on point…except the voice acting. The English actors predictably phoned it in, especially annoying are the "Data Collection Squad" voices that seem to only have 3-4 lines you'll hear on loop. But, much like Godzilla movies, you're here for the monsters, not the humans, so don't let this bug you too much. With the custom soundtrack feature, sound is EASILY a 5, and the accurate sound effects just sweeten the deal.
Now for the controls. Almost everyone (myself included at one point) were concerned when it was revealed Godzilla would utilize "tank controls", where the left stick would move him forward, backwards, and side to side, the right stick would manipulate the camera, but to turn Godzilla you'd need to use the R1 and L1 buttons. Honestly, it doesn't take much getting used to at all, for me anyway. It seems natural. This game was meant to be a "Godzilla Simulator", with the emphasis they put on different camera angles (more on this later). And you know what? Those suits look like they are TOUGH to turn in, so Goji SHOULD feel cumbersome to a point.
Square is your main attack button, and can be pushed multiple times for short combo attacks, with pushing multiple directions doing different things. Up and Square is Godzilla's is a tail swipe. Down and Square slams Godzilla's tail behind him. Left/Right and Square causes Godzilla to make a sharp 90 degree turn in the direction you're holding. X causes Godzilla to lower his head and charge, covering a short distance quickly. Circle is your grapple movie and can be followed up with either Square (Throw your opponent), Triangle (a point blank Atomic Breath) or Circle again (Biting your opponent and dropping them in front of you). Triangle is your Atomic Breath Attack, where tapping it does a quick breath attack that auto targets, and holding the button does a more sweeping breath that can be VERY lightly controlled to a point. Finally, pressing L2 allows you to detonate the "Nuclear Pulse" attack, though the game calls it an emergency dodge. I suppose it is more of a defensive maneuver, as Godzilla is invincible while performing it, and it is capable of knocking away enemy kaiju and dealing damage to any buildings or weaponry in range. The controls are responsive enough for my money, remember, Godzilla's giant beast, not a ballerina. Once you get the hang of it you'll have no problem turning Godzilla, rotating the camera, and fighting all at once. The major annoyance to me is that you'll find yourself at times hammering on a button with no response as your character is too busy staggering about being hit; I'm hesitant to call this a flaw because it's not entirely unlike the actual fights we've seen on screen.
Replay value is in the eyes of the beholder. I for one will be playing this game (and the PS4 version once I get it) for many years to come. It's good to finally be able to play a Godzilla game without shelling out the cash to re-aquire a PS2, Xbox or Gamecube (and quite personally I feel the Atari/Pipeworks fighters can get just as "repetitive" and "boring" as "gamers" make THIS game out to be). I've put quite a few hours into the game, and I still have yet to fully evolve Godzilla (I still need one more evolution), and I don't have even half the Diorama mode figures yet, so that will be keeping me busy for quite some time, as I can deal with repetition quite nicely. Your mileage may vary.
Now for the "Godzilla-ness" of the game, as well as my final judgment. All through this game's development process it was described as a game "by fans, for fans". I couldn't agree more. Previous Godzilla games from past generations seemed like quick cash-ins made by those without a certain degree of reverence and familiarity of the franchise and its characters (Lookin' at YOU Godzilla Unleashed...). Abilities were added to, and in some cases removed from, characters (much to the annoyance of fans like me). Not so here. Hardcore fans will pick up each and every detail Bandai Namco put in that are accurate to the films in this game. This is a level of accuracy other developers could only dream of achieving with their past efforts. That's not to say I don't have complaints; the playing field is curiously fenced in, in this instance with a flashing "hazard line" that the monsters are simply unable to cross, and buildings past that line cannot be damaged even if they are touched. I don't know what the right answer to this is, short of every level being bordered by the ocean, but having giant monsters unable to step over a line that doesn't come up to their ankle just doesn't feel right. The levels could have stood to be bigger and more diverse.
Obviously, the game isn't perfect. Though I still do believe the developmental team's vision was realized, at times you have to wonder exactly what that vision was. The game received virtually no marketing or promotion, and while I'm certainly not excusing that, perhaps Bandai Namco wasn't sure how to promote a city destruction movie simulator that switched to a fighting game halfway through development...at least for the PS4 version, as the PS3 version has no Vs. mode to speak of (on top of that only Godzilla, Burning Godzilla and Godzilla 2014 are playable).
Now let's talk about the Kaiju themselves. The Heisei Godzilla is obviously the star of the show, as the game is designed around him, he looks the best and has the biggest arsenal of moves, including three alternate breath attacks (A weak vapor breath, a stronger, curiously purple spiral breath, and strangest of all, Minilla's "ring" breath). Godzilla 2014 is sufficient, if still a bit bland compared to Heisei G (It's also maddening how G2014 is only playable in King of the Kaiju mode). Burning Godzilla is pretty much a clone the main Godzilla, but possesses the most powerful energy beam in the game (His character model is also noticeably less...detailed than the other Kaiju). As for your foes, the 1992 Adult Mothra animates nicely and has most of the abilities you'd expect, save for her "energy seal" used at the end of Godzilla vs Mothra (also seen as her "Fury" move in the SNES Godzilla game Godzilla: Kaijuu Daikesen). King Ghidorah is handled a bit strangely...while it's clearly his Heisei incarnation, he's treated like a space Kaiju rather than his origin from Godzilla vs King Ghidorah. It has been said many times that the S.H. MonsterArts figures were the inspiration for this game and were scanned for many of the characters, but it would've been very nice to get the Showa King Ghidorah in the game...or maybe even the originally planned Grand King Ghidorah.
Biollante is one of the toughest enemies in the game with her ability to continually punish you with her wide reaching vines, all she does is flail those about, her massive, crocodile-like maw only used in a dash move, and her acidic sap is curiously short ranged, but highly damaging, I suppose to compensate for her melee abilities. Mechagodzilla is fully on display in this game with 3 incarnations being on display; the Showa version curiously is represented by "Mechagodzilla 2", or the version of MG that appeared in Terror of Mechagodzilla. Why they decided to go with that one but not the original is beyond me. Super Mechagodzilla one tough bastard, as your atomic breath deals no damage and seems to actually fuel his energy regen, in a nod to his ability to absorb and redirect Godzilla's atomic breath in Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla II. All his skills seem to be present as well, the Mega-Buster, the Plasma Grenade, even the not-quite-as-deadly in game form G-Crusher, and also much like the film he is fairly useless in melee combat but a tough foe indeed at long range. Kiryu is a bit of a curious case as well. During development it was said that he possessed the Absolute Zero Cannon which could instantly kill you...perhaps this was removed during development, as it's the Tokyo S.O.S version present for this game, and he's loaded for war with his rocket launching backpack, hyper and tri-maser weapon and wrist mounted rail guns.
Destoroyah is BY FAR the most difficult boss Kaiju in the game, he fights with his horn katana, tail, micro oxygen beam and he has this EXTREMELY annoying charge dash that can mess you up if you're not prepared. A difficult foe indeed. As for Gigan, his Final Wars form is present in upgraded fashion with dual chainsaws, cluster ray and razor discs, and is one of the faster foes/bosses. Hedorah is one of the easier bosses in the game, but he can get you in a fairly decent combo, and he doesn't stagger too often. Jet Jaguar, while difficult to find in the first place, is one of the most enjoyable bosses in the game, and running into him 3 times in one destruction run gives you a neat little scene and a trophy to boot!
On the more military side of things, Super-X I, II and III are reporting for duty along with the 2004 version of the Gotengo; the Super-X battles can be extremely short as your 360 tail swipe deals MASSIVE damage to Super X 1 and 2, while you have to rely on your breath attack for the Super X 3, which can be a frustrating experience. The Gotengo is similarly unenjoyable, as it spends most of its time outside of the level boundaries, your only opportunity for attack is while it zooms by to either drill you, blast you, or both. Again, ranged attacks are called for, but you may find yourself frustratingly targeting the ground as the game doesn't consider Gotengo in range.
I've covered just about everything, I suppose, so, time for what I've been putting off…my final judgment. As a gamer, it's just "okay". Not perfect, but CERTAINLY not as bad as the likes of IGN and Angry Joe are putting it. As a lifelong Godzilla fan, I can see the beauty in the details, and understand this was a labor of love, if a bit of a misguided effort, and give it high marks. Overall, it's about a 7.5/10 for me...borderlining a straight up 7 the more I play it. If you think the price is too steep, wait for a price drop, or simply rent it to see if you like it or not.
So yeah...there's my review. If you're a TK member, I'm fairly certain you can see some very...copy-pasta like similarities between my review and the Toho Kingdom review of the PS4 version. Well, it's a great review, and I used it as inspiration to base my judgement on the PS3 version. As far as I'm aware, NOBODY has focused on the vastly different PS3 version of the game, and seeing as it's the only available option I have at this point, it might as well be me who reviews the damn thing. Hope you guys enjoyed it...and tl;dr over.
Name: Drew Seelig|
Zilla Jr Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/KingofAmerica…
Obsessions: GAMERAAAAAAA, Godzilla, Kaiju, My beloved PS3, Dinosaurs, Marvel Comics, S.H. Monsterarts, NECA, God of War (All of them), writing, LULZ, drawing, Paleontology, Video Games, Food, TV, the Interwebz, Dragon Ball Z, Horror Movies, Creepypasta, the SCP Foundation, the Jak and Daxter Trilogy, Sonic the Hedgehog, Facebook, My Pages ON Facebook, generally screwing around, women, trollin' and a bunch of other stuff I don't want to list right now
BURNING HATRED FOR: CLOWNS, Ignorant people, Spam, when deviantART doesn't want to work sometimes, my stupid internet connection, my family (except for my Adopted mom and my birth Brother (it's complicated)), trolls who aren't funny but are just plain mean, guys who flirt with girls I like, FAKE PEOPLE, people who shove their beliefs down other peoples throats thinking they're only expressing an opinion, chores, mice (those bastards are fukkin eating at my computer, tv and ps3 wires, they will PAY....), other things I don't wanna list right now, etc...
Big Flaw: My Fear of Clowns (Coulrophobia)
Place in Society: I don't even know anymore.
Relationship Status: FOREVER FUCKIN' ALONE
Fandoms I'm a part of: Godzilla, Gamera, Pacific Rim, Sonic, God of War, Creepypasta, Dragon Ball/DBZ, Marvel, Naruto, Nintendo, Batman, others that I'll think of later
Current Residence: Victor, Montana
deviantWEAR sizing preference: anything over a large
Favourite genre of music: Anything that sounds good to me
Favourite photographer: Me!
Favourite style of art: Anything that looks good to me
Operating System: Windows 7
MP3 player of choice: Psh, people own those? I prefer my Droid Mini LeL
Shell of choice: Turtle Shell (Y'know...like....GAMERAAAAAAAA's)
Wallpaper of choice: Anything that doesn't peel on my walls
Skin of choice: I ain't racist!
Favourite cartoon character: Deadpool
Personal Quote: "If Guns don't kill people, people kill people....does that mean Godzilla doesn't destroy Tokyo, Tokyo destroys Tokyo?"