Boring, simple, repetitive and lifeless. There’s no other way to put it: BABYLON’S FALL failed on all fronts and became one of the biggest disappointments in recent years.
Despite the fact that they showed resistance, Square Enix and PlatinumGames threw in the towel and months after the launch confirmed that the title will close its doors on February 27, 2023.
We are a few days from the end, so it is prudent to revisit this multiplayer proposal before it is too late. Did he die with dignity?
Related video: The good, the bad and the meh of BABYLON’S FALL
The abysmal failure of BABYLON’S FALL
The hack and slash developed by PlatinumGames hit stores on March 3, 2022. From the outset, the outlook looked bleak due to negative reviews and fan criticism.
With just 650 concurrent players on Steam, BABYLON’S FALL had a much worse debut than Marvel’s Avengers, a Square Enix as-a-service title that also flopped. Its historical peak is 1,188 concurrent users, a mediocre figure for a video game of this nature.
From that point, cooperative play began to decline as the small community stopped playing. 2 weeks after launch there were less than 500 players on Steam, and a month later the number dropped to 10 concurrent users.
In that period, Square Enix reaffirmed its commitment to the project and launched surveys to obtain feedback and improve the experience. He was optimistic and assured that he was confident of long-term success. Even, the development of the content of Season 3 began.
The rewards are ugly. There really is little incentive to play
However, covering the sun with a finger is impossible. The developers were aware of the unfavorable situation of BABYLON’S FALL and in May, shortly before the Season 2 premiere, they announced a realignment of the roadmap to reassess the future.
In June 2022, co-op hack and slash registered 0 players on PC. The inevitable happened shortly after: the studios recognized the failure and on September 13 they announced the definitive closure of the servers.
“Giving players any feeling other than enjoyment and fun with our creations is something we as developers are not happy about,” said Atsushi Inaba, head of PlatinumGames.
The last nail in the coffin? Retail stores stopped selling BABYLON’S FALL, and some GameStop branches gave away and destroyed copies after the failure.
A Chronicle of a Death Foretold
Unfortunately, the failure of this online title surprised very few, since it was something that had been seen coming long before the launch. Let’s see a little history.
At E3 2018, Square Enix and PlatinumGames confirmed the existence of BABYLON’S FALL. At that time, everything was joy and hope, because a year earlier the acclaimed NieR: Automata debuted as the result of the alliance of these companies.
However, the original announcement was followed by months of silence. Over a year after the reveal, we first saw this proposition in action. To Caesar what belongs to Caesar: the advance showed a dizzying combat system that reminded the greatness of the title starring 2B and other hack and slash proposals.
Although there were doubts about the status of the project due to the long periods without news, the hype was maintained to a certain extent. The situation took a 180º turn when Square Enix confirmed at E3 2021 that BABYLON’S FALL is a game as a service. The dynamic changed drastically, and players expressed their disgust.
Despite fans theorizing that the project was born as a single player proposition that became a game-as-a-service during development, producer Junichi Ehara claimed that Square Enix asked PlatinumGames early on to do an online co-op hack and slash game. .
Disenchantment and skepticism increased with the debut of the first closed betas. Players criticized the art style that emulated an oil painting and claimed that the combat was unexciting.
PlatinumGames took note of these comments and changed the visuals and readjusted the mechanics, but the situation was still less than ideal.
Square Enix added fuel to the fire when it confirmed that BABYLON’S FALL requires a permanent internet connection, a situation that upset users who expected to play solo. Also, producer Yosuke Saito claimed that they reused assets from Final Fantasy XIV.
The Game-as-a-Service format, underwhelming visuals, and creative decisions made the community look at this title with suspicion and little excitement in the months leading up to release. The loss of illusion, as we have already seen, was reflected in a mediocre debut with very negative ratings.
BABYLON’S FALL in 2023, did you find redemption?
The developers stopped releasing significant patches with new content months ago, as BABYLON’S FALL already has one foot in the coffin. With the impending shutdown of the servers, one has to wonder: will he at least die with dignity?
The title received harsh criticism upon launch for its repetitive combat system, uninspired level design, clichéd story lined with forgettable characters, and old-gen visuals. Now that I’ve revisited it, I’m sorry to confirm that the situation remains unfavorable despite the small improvements that have come in recent months. Let’s analyze each of the elements.
The cornerstone of the experience, combat is still a button masher with no incentive to improve or strategize. The mastery that we show in the control is in the background because what is really important is the level of the weapons. Defeating the enemies and completing the dungeons will be a piece of cake as long as we have the right equipment.
Pistols debuted in Season 2, a new type of weapon ideal for attacking at medium and long range. They’re welcome additions, but they do little to assuage the feeling of monotony.
Guns are more of the same
The low variety of enemies makes the fights even less exciting. Also, the level design is still linear and unappealing. The new story missions follow the same structure as the main campaign: walk down a corridor, defeat a group of monsters, and repeat the process several times until you reach the final boss.
The most notable novelty are the Duels, very difficult missions where we will face powerful enemies.
This is where we find a genuine challenge, because beating the bosses is a very difficult task, even with the right equipment. The problem? We must play many hours to have the necessary level to access these sections and have a chance to win.
Future seasons were to expand the narrative and lore with new story missions. Due to the abrupt end of BABYLON’S FALL, many of those ideas were left in the air. Certainly little was lost.
The narrative is still uninteresting, as the characters lack charisma and personality. At the end of one of the new story levels that debuted in Season 2, we find out that a former squadmate is alive; it’s a major reveal, but the moment lacks emotion and impact because we never really made an emotional connection to the characters.
Is this supposed to be an important moment?
The visual section does the story a favor. It’s amazing to think that this game debuted in 2022. Yes, the developers made adjustments and the combat experience looks decent, but the exposure scenes are just horrible because of the cinematics with static images and awkward transitions… a disaster.
Lastly, we have to talk about the elephant in the room. How many people play BABYLON’S FALL? In our last sessions, there was an average of 6 players on Steam and it is possible that a similar situation could be seen on PlayStation. Luckily, there is crossplay.
Surprisingly, there were always people in the lobby; not much, but there was. Seeing people hanging around the HQ makes the place feel more alive than it actually is. Of course, finding a game is almost impossible.
In the 10 hours I’ve played over the past few days, I’ve only participated in one online session. Even though I still find co-op combat too confusing and chaotic, fighting alongside more players feels refreshing and special, almost a miracle never repeated.
Playing with other people feels special because it’s almost impossible to find a match
BABYLON’S FALL was nonsense
A few days away from its first anniversary, BABYLON’S FALL has many problems that keep it from being a good game. It’s a real shame, as I still believe the lore and combat systems had the potential to be something more. With the impending shutdown of the servers, we will never know what the developers’ plans were to improve the experience.
There are many factors that caused this failure. The game-as-a-service format and bland gameplay helped, but the biggest problem is a lack of vision. We are facing a title without soul or purpose; a hollow proposition.
PlatinumGames plans to release more games as a service. I hope that, at least, they learned from their mistakes and that their next online project lives up to what is expected of a new generation proposal. Meanwhile, I can only say that BABYLON’S FALL died as he lived… in oblivion.
But tell us, did you give this title a try? What do you think about it? Let us read you in the comments.
BABYLON’S FALL was made available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC. You will find more news related to this controversial game if you click on this link.
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