If you think of cheesy old Japanese movies when someone mentions Godzilla, then Godzilla on the PlayStation 4 may be for you. It's steeped in references to the films which saw men smash up model cities in big rubber lizard suits, and heck, it even plays like one. The problem, though, is that if you don't have a hint of nostalgia for the King of Monsters, there really isn't much incentive to give Godzilla's new-gen foray much more than a passing glance.
Let's start with the good stuff: the game gets the many monsters that have appeared throughout Godzilla history spot on. From Mothra to Rodan and Mechagodzilla to King Ghidorah, fans will adore seeing each kaiju pop up for a brawl from time to time. The monster roster's a decent size, and with no puzzling omissions, it's one of the title's strongest assets. What's more, each beast has its own set of unique moves, and you can even upgrade their abilities via Evolve mode, which sees you unlock upgrades on a skill tree by using collectible items earned from bashing other kaiju.
The mode that you'll be spending the most time in will more than likely be God of Destruction, which is essentially the title's story mode. Featuring branching paths that are welcome when it comes to replayability, it's easily the game's most fleshed out component, and it sports some decent ideas to boot. As Godzilla, or any other unlocked monster, you're tasked with smashing through a series of stages, wreaking havoc on Japanese civilisation while also beating up any kaiju that come your way.
Generally, this involves mashing square and triangle to plough through buildings of various shapes and sizes before taking out a number of G-energy generators. These giant, futuristic structures need to be destroyed in each stage in order to achieve victory, and obviously, this simple objective gets increasingly difficult as you progress. When choosing which path to follow on the stage select screen, the difficulty is determined by the current prime minister, whose job it is to try and rally the military against the titular overgrown lizard and his pals. Selecting an easier path brings out a rather meek politician who can't make the tough calls, subsequently leading to a weaker army, while selecting the harder paths puts a stern, ruthless figure in charge who's not afraid to bring out the big guns. It's a fun little addition that adds some detail to all of the button mashing, and a particular highlight is seeing each prime minister despair at the fact that you're practically unstoppable.
Speaking of which, Godzilla isn't exactly a difficult game. The only time that you'll find yourself in trouble – indicated by an orange haze clogging up the screen – is when you attempt a stage that's beyond your current abilities. Annoyingly, though, if you do hit a brick wall, you can't just jump into Evolve mode and buff your beast, as any upgrades that you purchase won't carry over to a playthrough that's already in progress. This potentially means that you can get stuck on a tougher stage with no decent chance of success, and your only option will be to start another run.
As hinted, fighter jets, tanks, and helicopters are hardly able to put a dent in the King of Monsters and his ugly chums, and it's really only when the threat level – a gauge that builds as you cause more damage – rises beyond a few thresholds that a barrage of missiles to your scaly face become a danger. Even then, your chosen kaiju can take a heck of a lot of punishment before they weaken, which means that you're only ever truly troubled by other monsters – and this is sadly where the release trips up.
With a decent kaiju versus kaiju combat system, Godzilla could have been a far better game, but unfortunately, brawling with other beasts is one of its weakest aspects. Using the same handful of attacks that you employ when smashing buildings to pieces, monster battles are completely hit and miss. One minute, you'll be smashing your foe through a row of apartment blocks while explosions fill the air, and it'll feel great. The next, your stumpy lizard arms will fail to connect against your opponent, and you'll get locked into submission by a flurry of seemingly inescapable attacks. There's no way to defend against an onslaught outside of a special technique that makes you temporarily invincible, but even that requires a full heat gauge – a bar that fills fastest when you're taking damage.
Needless to say, some monsters are far, far more effective than others, and there's just no sense of balance. Mothra's larvae form for example, is tough to hit because it's so short, and its relatively quick attack animations allow it to lock its enemies in place if it manages to get them in a corner. Meanwhile, King Ghidorah and his incredibly long reach makes it difficult to get close enough to him to actually do some damage without getting swatted away. As such, the online versus mode simply isn't worth your time unless you're just having fun with a friend. Likewise, the string of battles that King of Kaiju mode offers can also prove to be needlessly frustrating.
Despite everything, though, Godzilla can definitely be fun. It's cathartic to rampage through entire city sectors, largely ignoring your puny human opposition as they try desperately to stop you. Fans will also appreciate the effort that's been put into the encyclopaedic Kaiju Guide and the Diorama mode, which allows you to place unlockable figurines of monsters into a setting and snap some photos. Again, the title manages to capture the look and feel of classic Godzilla movies, but the gameplay just doesn't hold up as well as it should.
Ultimately, Godzilla can be a reasonably fun romp if you're up for some mindless chaos, but it's too clumsily executed to recommend to anyone who isn't a diehard fan of the King of Monsters. You could argue that the release actually sticks too close to the source material, in that the look and feel of it is spot on while the action really does make it seem like you're sometimes controlling a very tired, sweaty man in a big dumb costume. This is a Godzilla game that's struggled to evolve beyond the basics of what's expected of it – it's the iconic roar without any of the menace to back it up.
Now, who would have thought that a movie-tie-in-game for a terrible movie is anything other than mediocre at best. Ha!
Well that's as good as a Gojila game can be I guess...
Might buy this if this goes lower than ten some years ahead
@Scollurio especially when the game comes out a year later...
It sounds like it might be an enjoyable enough curio for £9.99 on the PS Store. Clearly taking the full-price route is the kicker here.
weekend rental it is
Was really looking forward to this when it was first announced, my family has plenty of hours in on previous Godzilla games Save the Earth, Destroy All Monsters Melee and Unleashed and was really looking forward to finally getting an HD version, but the PS3 demo was just ok, and this review isn't helping. We will own this someday, and probably even the PS3 version as well, but as you lads like to say - for a tenner.
Thing is, Unleashed wasn't the best game, wonky motion controls, but it had a large rooster of playable monsters, and I've been looking forward for years to a Godzilla game that used the power to make even more monsters playable, Spiga and Gimantis among them (too early for Japanese names). Seems like rather than making a good Godzilla game they made this. Too sad.
I enjoy it but that's me. Yeah it's repetitive. Love or hate it those game is Godzilla through and through. Good objective review. I think subjectively however people need to start adjusting expectations for Godzilla games.
Other reviews in Metacritic are actually worse scorewise than this. Too bad.
@rjejr @sinalefa Yeah, we've actually given the game its joint highest score... Ouch.
That's a shame. I remember the older Godzilla games being fun, and being more balances than this. I might've gotten it one day, but as is, I'll pass. I hope this doesn't mean no more Godzilla games; I think this one wil be a failure as it's not very good, and it's full price. I'm not sure who will buy the game.
I just can't understand why they even waste time on games like these, is there really a market for it??
@ShogunRok - Hope it didn't come across like I was denigrating the review, the review seemed spot on from what I played of the demo, it's only the game I wasn't happy with.
It really doesn't take even common sense to know this game would flop.
I'm a pretty big fan of Godzilla so I'll prob buy it.
I absolutely love it. I can't speak for the higher difficulties of the game yet but I've really enjoyed what I've played thus far.
@rjejr Not at all!
I bought this game for full price, but it was after I had read all the reviews and watch some gameplay on twitch and I have to tell you that after playing this game for the past four nights and keeping me awake every single night the reviews are so wrong this game is amazing and awesome for any fan of a Godzilla game I'm very sorry but this is one game that obviously the reviewer's just don't know how to play, If you love Godzilla love blowing stuff up and love giant monsters/kaiju you will love this game it is absolutely amazing. And it is worth every single dollar I spent on it. I love it my son loves it and I think anybody who is a fan of Godzilla would love it even if you weren't a fan of Godzilla I think you would but if you are definitely
godzilla has been dethroned as the king
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