Godzilla (PlayStation 4) Review

By Sandy Wilson 17.08.2015

Review for Godzilla on PlayStation 4

Godzilla is the latest in a long line of games centred around the world-famous Japanese monster. Developed by Natsume and published by Bandai Namco, the title was originally released in Japan in December 2014 on the Playstation 3; this Western version is an adaption of the Japanese Playstation 4 re-release, Godzilla VS, adding additional Kaiju to fight, along with other new features. Despite not being an official tie-in, it contains plenty of similarities visually to the latest Godzilla movie, as well as enough references to keep fans happy.

First of all, Godzilla doesn't feature much of a story. When Godzilla attacked in the past, the humans found a way to harness its radiation power, allowing them to become reliant on giant generators in order to power Earth's cities. Godzilla can sense this power and decides to go ashore and smash the generators to absorb the energy from each one. The humans, under threat, attack Godzilla with all they have - but this isn't very dangerous for the king of the monsters as most bullets bounce off its hide, giving it free range to cause as much chaos as possible.

Upon loading, the game begins with a short introductory cutscene depicting Godzilla smashing things, before presenting a rather sparse main menu, offering five modes: Destruction, King of the Monsters, Evolution, Diorama, and Monster Field Guide. Destruction is the arcade mode in which Godzilla smashes its way through Tokyo, causing havoc; King of the Monsters is a way to farm evolution pieces, pitting Godzilla against 10 different Kaiju in a row; Evolution is where the player can add these parts to Godzilla to unlock more abilities; the Diorama mode is an unusual mode in which any unlocked figurines can be placed in a 3D environment to create a diorama; and Monster Field Guide offers information on every Kaiju present here.

Screenshot for Godzilla on PlayStation 4

Each level follows the same pattern: Godzilla is introduced, it proceeds to smash a couple of generators, a boss is fought, the last generator is destroyed, and an outro cutscene plays. Surprisingly, apart from the voices, this doesn't get that grating - it's actually perfectly in line with the cheesy, formulaic movie setup that fans of the series will appreciate. Missions come in three flavours: easy, where the disaster level raises very slowly because the human leader wants to befriend Godzilla; medium, where the leader tries to protect Tokyo a little harder, and finally hard, where the disaster level raises quickly as the leader wants rid of the threat as fast as possible. It's also littered with cool touches, such as when an enemy Kaiju appears and the humans also attack it - not just Godzilla.

During the missions, there are sweet spots where the humans can gather information on Godzilla; these may seem optional, but to unlock the final few levels, these must all be collected. This does add a little tedium, as each level is already so similar that replaying each one simply isn't that fun. That said, the destructive gameplay itself is enjoyable - after all, who doesn't like levelling a whole area in Tokyo while fighting armed forces and other Kaiju? Each stage is also scored on how much destruction was caused, meaning that despite the repetitiveness encountered by replaying, there is the incentive to beat older scores.

Screenshot for Godzilla on PlayStation 4

The controls are unusual: the entire game feels as though Godzilla and the other Kaiju are moving through molasses, so slow is everything. Of course, it's meant to simulate the speed Godzilla would actually move, being as large as it is, but this unfortunately doesn't translate so well into a gameplay mechanic. The actual control scheme is also somewhat awkward, reminiscent of Resident Evil's tank controls but made even more sluggish. Forwards is always forwards and backwards is always backwards from Godzilla's perspective rather than the player's, and left and right always strafe, while turning uses the shoulder buttons on the controller, which feels altogether bizarre. The control scheme does grow more comfortable and ultimately works well, but it takes a lot of getting used to.

The Evolution mode is fairly interesting. By completing levels in any mode, the player collects a compendium of evolution items for Godzilla. These give him new powers, or pump up already existing abilities. From there, each level is a one-on-one fight with a randomised Kaiju. The PS4 also features a couple of advantages over the Japanese PS3 copy, the first being the upscale to 1080p which means the visuals are crisp and sharp, even with the low detail; the other is online play, a three-player smash-'em-up not featured in the original game.

Screenshot for Godzilla on PlayStation 4

Visually, the game lies somewhere between the standards expected of the PS3 and those of the PS4. Godzilla itself has a very good character model based on its latest incarnation from the 2014 movie (the animation especially is superb) - however, the rest of the game's models and environments are a little lacking for a triple-A title. The explosions and any other kind of fire effect may be pleasing to the eye, with lots of particles and plenty of flair, but the textures don't fair too well, the monsters are average-looking (albeit a good representation of their movie counterparts), and the environments resemble the low-detail settings of an early PS3 title. Granted, most of it is razed to the ground by the end of the mission, but the fact that no glass shatters and buildings don't crumble realistically is a little disappointing. The stages are much better looking at night, when the lighting is much prettier.

The audio in Godzilla is just okay - it does its job, but it's not stand-out. The explosion sound effects are suitably powerful and Godzilla's roar is great, but the other in-game sounds basically consist of the stomping of Godzilla's feet and gunfire. To be fair, it does create a dramatic and immersive environment, with jets sweeping past firing missiles, helicopters circling overhead and tanks on the ground, but it definitely feels like more could have been done. The music is moody, with slow, plodding themes that gradually build tension, before cutting to a much more high-octane soundtrack for Kaiju fights. The voice acting, meanwhile, is awful: there is very little to the script, leading to lots of repeated lines, and the actors themselves rarely sound sincere at all. It does contribute to the game's B-movie aesthetic, but its poor quality detracts slightly from the atmosphere Godzilla on the whole tries to create.

Screenshot for Godzilla on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Despite any shortcomings it may have, Godzilla is a fantastically fun game for anyone who just wants to play as a radioactive monster causing havoc while fighting off humans and other creatures. The overall presentation is very cinematic and really recreates the feeling that long-time series fans will be looking for, making it well worth a go - but some people may want to wait for a price drop first.

Developer

Natsume Atari

Publisher

Bandai Namco

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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