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Godzilla review for PS4, PS3

Platform: PS4
Also On: PS3
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Bandai Namco
Medium: Blu-ray
Players: 1-3
Online: Yes
ESRB: T

Godzilla was released this week on PS4 and PS3 from Bandai Namco without a great deal of fanfare, but if you’re a kaiju fan in general, I think it’s worth a look. The game features a hefty roster of Toho superstars, culled from different Godzilla eras, which makes for one of the more all-encompassing group of Godzilla heroes and villains a Godzilla game has seen thus far. Jet Jaguar makes the cut, as does Mothra, Mechagodzilla, Space Godzilla, Biollante, and a whole lot more. It’s not quite as fleshed out as it should be, but as a sort of love letter to the series, it does a pretty solid job.

Godzilla’s gameplay is divided up into a series of modes. The campaign mode is God of Destruction, which takes Godzilla across a series of stages set against the backdrop of Tokyo and other locales featured in the films. As the player controlling Godzilla, you’ll stomp across cityscapes, crushing buildings, blowing up tanks, and swatting helicopters out of the sky. Your objective in each stage is to destroy all power generators, and occasionally fend off an invading kaiju, while blowing everything up around you to collect G-Energy, increasing your size and power.

godzilla jet jaguarThe rest of modes are more or less variations on this formula. If you don’t want to play as Godzilla, you can select the Invade option within God of Destruction, which allows you to select any other unlocked monster and strips away most of the story bits (which aren’t that great to begin with). Or, you can opt to defend, pitting you against attacking kaiju and attempting to keep the destruction factor at a minimum level.

The biggest drawback to these three modes is that they’re all pretty repetitive. Most stages don’t last long, even if you’re trying to go for full destruction, which can benefit you by increasing the overall power and size of your selected monster. But smashing the same buildings over and over again, no matter how impressive and true to the series it is, gets old quickly. The highlights come from battling the other kaiju, but even those fights can feel a bit tedious, with some serious balancing issues between monsters that make certain fights more frustrating than fun. If you’re down for some mindless rampaging with your favorite Godzilla character, you’ll likely get some enjoyment out of this in short bursts, but I’d urge anyone that doesn’t have some serious love for the series to give this a rental first.

godzalla king gOutside of God of Destruction, you can opt to battle a series of monsters one at a time in King of Kaiju mode, which tracks your time to complete each fight and tallies up the total at the end. There’s also an online vs. mode for up to 3 players, which is chaotic and somewhat fun, but again balancing issues rear their ugly head here. Also, online is sort of a mess, both with lag and framerate issues, making for a pretty rough experience overall.

But still I find myself coming back to Godzilla for more giant monster fun. I really do enjoy the roster diversity, and in short play sessions I’ve had fun working through God of Destruction’s various mix of levels while unlocking additional kaiju to use. The upgrade system gives some incentive to keep running through the same content over and over again, and the drive to max out my monsters and take them online keeps me trucking through the game. It’s absolutely rough around the edges, but there’s some fun to be had here. Temper your expectations enough and you’ll likely realize there’s some enjoyable elements here for Godzilla fans, making this a game worth checking out if you count yourself as a member of that group.

Grade: B