Babylon’s Fall the upcoming online dungeon crawler from Square Enix and Platinum Games just wrapped up a recently closed beta test, but as lucky testers take a final swing at the action we’re still wondering whether it’s worth preparing for this epic ascent.
For those that missed the memo among a plethora of other games news, Babylon’s Fall dropped a closed beta test this week, giving potential players the chance to log into a unique new take on classic dungeoneering. Mixing the firmly established Souls styled dark fantasy motif with the combat pedigree of Platinum Games, Babylon’s Fall aims to sand tall above the opposition.
As an always-online co-op action-adventure, Babylon’s Fall thrust both PlayStation and PC participants of this test into a titanic battle against the monolithic Tower of Babylon. Up to four players could take on a series of dungeon floors, each populated by undead hordes, goblins, ghouls, and monstrous bosses. Thankfully we lucky few were far from ordinary warriors.
Whether from the Hyusian, Agavian, or Geleilon clans, the outcome of this character creation was entirely satisfying. While body types were limited to a couple of options, the variety of facial modes, colors, hairstyles, and makeup are wide enough to make most characters feel unique and look incredible. While the character creation is an obvious first glimpse at the oil painted aesthetic developed specifically for this title, walking into the docks at the base of Babylon is remarkable. It is easily described as stepping straight into a museum masterpiece and quite unlike anything I’ve seen on a computer screen before. While plenty of dark fantasies try to mimic the tone of their lore, this style could be a walking recreation of an epic novella cover stretched out into three dimensions. The individual brushstrokes that blend color together to construct everything from the residents of this starting hub to the smoke billowing out of the local forge are a delight.
This isn’t the only impressive tonal shift that Babylon’s Fall takes either. While the first glimpse of this title is a resounding success, the audio soundscape also attempts to swallow adventurers long before they step foot into the aforementioned tower. Whether it’s the sound of industry, the bustle of commerce, or just the local wildlife making itself known Babylon’s Fall has a presence that expands far beyond a cool graphical gimmick.
Climb The Tower
Solid spatial audio becomes incredibly important when you do eventually make your way into the Tower of Babylon. This old school tower places players against a series of quests, plunging players into dungeons where they must fight off a range of enemies. Picking up a quest and jumping into combat is incredibly easy, with auto matching in effect and never generally leaving players to wait unnecessarily. While we didn’t see any active evidence of anything more than a random auto matching, so no friends list or guild as yet, I would expect social feature to be present further down the line.
The real aim of this test phase was to stress online action and in game stability. For us, that meant running dungeons and getting to grips with Platinum’s take on monster hunting. Anybody who has read the blurb will know that Babylon’s Fall allows players to pick their weapon of choice, wielding up to four weapons at once using a system called the ‘Guilded Coffin’. In reality, this means four weapon slots are on offer, each triggering their own attack and allowing players to build up a series of combinations based on the weapons they wield. Strategically, this allows for a ridiculous level of customization with various types of sword, hammer, bow, shield, and staffs proving useful against a whole range of different enemies, and you can pick whichever variation you like. While my own first look at my weapons cache had me worried that I might be overwhelmed by choice, Platinum has paired back its arcade-inspired combat system to something a little more considered. While a blocking and dodging, a staple from other Platinum titles, feels welcomingly familiar, the restrictive number of attacks each of the four slotted weapons can carry out, makes Babylon’s Fall a considered action experience.
This importance of clear and concise decision-making while taking on the Tower of Babylon is further demonstrated when enemies appear for the first time. Each of the weapons on offer feels distinct and unique, offering a different level of capability when taking on shielded goblins as apposed to grenade lobbing wizards. Armor further introduces variation too. A total of 4 stats are tied to armor and trinkets, with options like Stability allowing players to tank their way through incoming damage but not making them invincible. Building your own tank can mean exposing yourself to slower attack times and less manoeuvrability to escape AOE attacks.
This variety in form, and a wonderfully diverse mix of enemies, is how Babylon’s Fall attempts to keep things fresh. Picking up quests, trudging through medieval ruins, activating environmental puzzles, and bashing down doors is far from a new idea. I’ve done my time in the MMO dungeons, but the gorgeous presentation, Platinum’s stellar work with the combat system, some flashy combos, and the utterly outlandish bosses could keep Babylon’s Fall from coming crashing down if the rest of the game offers more reskinned Godfall.
While we’re not sold on Babylon’s Fall quite yet, if we had to go clear some dungeons we’d pillage these ones all over again. If it manages more than grind and loot then we will be coming back for more. You can check out two floors of Babylon’s Fall in our video above and find out more about the game over at the official website now.