Review – Godzilla (PS3, Japan Import)

What’s good, everyone? A more hype than normal Joshua Evo here with a review for you all that I’ve been building towards for the last few months. As frequent readers know, I am both an avid gamer and rabid Godzilla fan. My two worlds converged recently with the release of the currently Playstation 3 exclusive Godzilla, by Namco Bandai. Thanks to a lack of region locking on the vast majority of Playstation 3 games, I was able to get my hands on a copy imported from Japan. While, my Japanese is pretty heavily caked in rust, I’ll offer my impressions where I can,

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For the first time in nearly a decade, the King of the Monsters comes roaring back into the world of video games, but is it a grand return or a failed outing? Well, I can say that from me, this game gets a resounding “it’s not bad”. A lot of impressions and reviews of the game have hailed it as a fantastic effort for hardcore Godzilla fans, but not so much for everyone else. So let’s have a look, shall we? The monsters themselves look amazing, as the were modeled from the popular S.H.MonsterArts action figure line. They move and act just like their big screen counterparts, the movements are fluid, and all the signature attacks and nuances that define each monster are perfectly represented.

Yes... ALL of them.

Yes… ALL of them.

The level designs however fall a little short in comparison however, as each level is a night or day time version of a previous level. Which is not to say that the levels look BAD, but they can feel a bit repetitive, especially given the style of game play. Godzilla makes no illusions about the fact that it’s a riotous monster mash that that gives players control of the King of the Monsters and allows them to alternate between trashing cities while battling various armed forces, or taking on other monsters. For many players, this has been both a source of delight AND dismay, as it divides fans into wanting more of one over the other. The game itself is comprised of four main modes:

Destruction Mode: The primary single-player Campaign mode of the game, which comprises 25 stages with branching paths that lead to other different objectives and monsters to battle.

King of the Monsters Mode: Simply put, Boss Rush. Players battle six boss monsters in succession.

Diorama Mode: Personal favorite of mine. Players can set up dioramas of virtual figures of the monsters they’ve collected with different level backdrops and environments.

Evolution Mode: Power Godzilla up with G-Energy collected in each stage to grant new powers and abilities.

While fairly it seems straightforward on paper, there’s a good amount of unlockables and easter eggs hidden in the game to keep hardcore fans and gamers alike busy for some time. 

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Bashing in King Ghidorah’s faces notwithstanding.

The controls are definitely a bright point. The game takes full advantage of the button layout and every bit of control is intuitive and very responsive, however the choices made for how to control Godzilla have been another point of contention for fans. Instead of using the left stick solely to move Godzilla around, the L1 and R1 buttons are used to turn him, while stick controls forward, backward and side-to-side strafing movement. If you need a frame of reference, play Resident Evil 4 for a while, then pop in Resident Evil 2 and try to play it the same way and you’ll see what I mean. I myself was initially not a fan of this control scheme, however it’s rather easy to adapt to, and as you unlock more attacks for Godzilla to use, turning with the shoulder buttons starts to feel more natural. Godzilla is of course a giant monster, so his general movement can seem a bit sluggish, but it matches the character, so I personally have no complaints there. I’ve talked a bit about the different sorts of attacks available to Godzilla through unlocking, and indeed there are a good amount. From various tail attacks, grabs, bites, punches and stomps to variants of his signature atomic breath. 

Godzilla was released in a Japan on December 18, 2014 and is slated for a stateside release on July 1, 2015 on both the Playstation 3 and Playstation 4 consoles. Gamestop is offering a pre-order bonus of a limited edition poster, where as the Japanese pre-order bonus was a small, limited edition figure. As to whether or not I’d deem it a worthwhile purchase, I’m actually going to echo the sentiment that while it’s an entertaining experience, hardcore fans of the genre will for sure be the ones who get the most enjoyment out of it. That said, this is a great addition to the library of Godzilla games and a fine tribute to the King on his 60th Anniversary.

— Evo out

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