Many years ago, there were a series of Japanese monster movies that featured a guy in a rubber suit stomping around a cardboard model of Tokyo. The series was named after the monster, and that monster was Godzilla! The movies may have been black and white, the costume cheap looking and the plots one step past insane… But it’s a franchise that has remained popular -- popular enough for Namco Bandai to make a PS4 / PS Vita game about him called, funnily enough, Godzilla.
There are several game modes, but they all amount to the same thing. Use your behemoth kaiju (Japanese term for ‘strange beast’, or ‘monster’) to destroy buildings and other kaiju. That is simplifying it, but not by much if I’m honest. You control a kaiju as it rampages for one reason or another, controlling like a tank the size of a building -- which you kind of are. You have a weak, strong and laser attack, as well as a special, differing depending on which kaiju you control, which you use against buildings, human vehicles and other kaiju.
The main mode is God of Destruction, which has a few options with Go Ashore acting as a story mode. Godzilla once attacked Tokyo before disappearing, but not before his energy source was copied, creating G-Energy and the G Force. One powers everything, the other is an anti-Godzilla task force. You play as Godzilla, 50 years after the disappearance, apparently on a mission to destroy the energy generators so you can absorb the energy and become larger and more powerful. This is pure conjecture on the human’s side, as you are constantly fed radio updates from them and any story is shown only from their side of things. As you defeat other kaiju, they are unlocked for use in other modes, and due to the lack of story it is really the only reason to play it more than once.
As part of the same main mode, you can Invade as any of the 21 unlocked kaiju or Defend the humans as certain unlocked kaiju. These are more fun than Go Ashore, as each kaiju handles differently. Some can fly or jump, some have larger laser blasts -- it would have been easy for each one to work exactly the same, but they worked in plenty of differences.
Next up is King of Kaiju mode, which lets you use any unlocked kaiju to go up against a wave of six other kaiju. It’s like a Boss mode, and if you’re just looking for items for the Evolution mode it is ideal -- more on that in a moment.
Vs mode lets you go up against either a friend or with up to two random online players - there is no split-screen co-op, probably due to the fact some of the kaiju pretty much block the entire screen. I didn’t get to try this mode out, as this was pre-release.
Evolution mode allows you to upgrade the kaiju attacks, speed, etc, but usually require specific numbers of items you can only obtain from certain kaiju, such as Mechagodzilla parts. Unlocking everything and fully upgrading is not a task to be undertaken by the faint of heart, as there really are a lot of options for every kaiju.
Diorama mode allows you to set up exactly what it sounds like -- place models of kaiju or human weapons like the Super X (obtained by spending in Evolution mode) on a backdrop and take a picture of it from whatever angle you want. It really is a ‘fan’ mode, but this happens to be a ‘fan’ game.
The final mode is Kaiju mode, which tells you everything you wanted to know, but were afraid to ask, about the kaiju including measurements and appearances. It’s interesting for the layman, and like a Pokédex, but for kaiju.
The gameplay of Godzilla, when using pretty much any of the kaiju, is large and lumbering. The city areas aren’t very large, but the speed the kaiju move at means it takes quite a while to cross each one. Controlling them is, as I mentioned, like controlling a tank. It’s slow, takes a long time to turn and reloading takes far too long. It’s also very powerful and can withstand anything up to and including sustained attack from another one. You can take a lot of punishment as you stomp about, but then it all depends on which difficulty you are on, as you get to select a different difficulty for each level, except the King of Kaiju mode.
The graphics are top notch, and like the slow feel of the kaiju and basic storyline, suit the Classic Godzilla feel they have going for it. You can practically see the seams in the rubber of the costumes, and as far as King Ghidorah goes, you can see where each of the three necks would have attached to the body. It’s a nice touch and lends a degree of authenticity to the game, and there is something very charming about tail-slapping a giant robot whilst the rubble all about you burns.
The game only has one problem: it’s short lived. If you like to collect everything in a game, I can see you sinking many hours into Godzilla to both collect the 21 kaiju and upgrade them all the way, maybe even trying to reach the top of the rankings. If you’re looking for quick action or deep story, this has neither. If you want to smash buildings and breath atomic fire, then you should get this.
Godzilla (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
For a game about big things, it’s kinda short. Great classic action, lots to do, but not much of it.