It’s hard for me to imagine that a pre-existing series with a fully developed universe would have problems creating a video game. I mean yeah, you have to worry about sticking to continuity, but at least you’ll have a thousand screaming fanboys to tell you that the main character’s favorite colours were actually blue and green, or that he liked to put on his pants with the left leg first. Fandom’s are the world’s greatest fact assessment source, and if we had them fact checking real-world problems rather than trying to figure out things like the actual Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline, everything would be solved before dinner.
It should be twice as easy for any company to make a decent Godzilla game. No one really argues with plot points in those movies. Just get monster-of-the-week to come and piss off Godzilla by peeing in the Pacific Ocean, then have Godzilla fight it. The game practically makes itself. But apparently anyone that wants to create a Godzilla game is also given a lobotomy to boot. It must be a package deal. The most recent iteration of Godzilla is just bad. It’s so bad it almost makes me want to repurpose the disc as a cutting board or a small frisbee for an equally-small dog, if I didn’t pay $60 for the thing.
Let’s get the good things out of the way. The graphics aren’t horrible. They sort of work well for the style of game that they’re going for: cinematic fighter. The game also didn’t brick my PlayStation 4 and the disc that was in the case wasn’t scratched, although I think I would’ve been fine had it been unplayable. It would mean that I can go back to playing Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee for the GameCube, a much better Godzilla game, although it had it’s own flaws. Actually, let’s make some comparisons between the two.
The biggest thing about Godzilla is his size. He can crush cars just by crossing the street and topple buildings down with a sneeze. Godzilla 2015 realized this fact and, in doing so, made him about as easy to maneuver as driving the Hindenberg would be if you replaced all the hydrogen with lead. You also control him in the oddest manner: forward and back with the left stick, turning left and right with L1 and R1, respectively. Left and right on the left thumbstick just makes Godzilla waddle to the left without turning him. While it is easy to get the hang of eventually, it makes battles slow and arduous with aiming punches and atomic breaths. Melee understood that part of Godzilla’s charm is to be fun, so the controls are easy to figure out. Use the left thumbstick to move, turn, and walk backwards. There, see? Easy and open.
Godzilla 2015 realized that the reason why the films were so popular was due to the camera angling. While you can move the camera around with the right thumbstick, the sheer size of Godzilla makes him an awkward object to focus a camera on. It’s hard to get a good judge of your surroundings, and Godzilla’s fat body and hips spread out doesn’t help the matter. Melee, on the other hand, recognizes that it’s always a positive for a player to understand their surroundings in a 3D fighting game. So the camera’s panned back and upwards, almost like a strategy game of sorts. This allows for the player to easily identify with Godzilla’s surroundings, as well as the next object or kaiju to punch.
Godzilla’s last remaining hope is in it’s destruction potential, since the camera and controls kill the mood of attempting to fight anything more intelligent than a brick wall. It provides that, by every story mission involving you fighting buildings and destroying the generators lying around the map. Sure, sometimes an enemy monster pops up and you get to fight them, but the main aim of the game’s pitiful story is to destroy the generators. With clipping issues, minimal attack combinations, no proper block function, and no lock-on feature, Godzilla 2015 was able to take the fun of destroying a few acres of city or of going toe-to-toe with another kaiju into a boring and repetitive task.
Check zone six, all buildings destroyed, move on to zone five, fill out the necessary paperwork by bashing your skull through the building, and move on to generator 1 after punching through Mothra since the game understands clipping as much as the Ancient Greeks gods understood monogamous relationships. There is one random mission where you get to destroy nuclear submarines in the middle of the ocean, which is sort of missing the point of even making a Godzilla game. “Hey, we’ve designed this game to be focused on massive destruction of manmade structures and building! Let’s make an entire level in the ocean, that’s sure to make good use of our destruction physics!”
The modes you can play are thin and repetitive. There’s the main plot of destroying the generators and occasionally versing another kaiju while playing as Godzilla. There’s the invade mode where you do exactly the same thing but with any other kaiju. There’s a defend mode where you play as one of the earth defense kaiju and defend against kaiju attacks as they attempt to destroy generators, a kaiju wave mode where you verse six kaiju in one-on-one fights, and a diorama mode where you can place models of the kaiju on a map and take a picture of them. The game’s very easily boiled down to playing with digital action figures, destroying things slowly, and hitting kaiju slowly while you get hit, since there is no proper block function in this fighting game (I’d like to add this a second time to remind you of the sheer stupidity of this idea. You’re not DiveKick, you should have a block function).
So the game’s a bunch of nothing, the combat’s garbage, the controls are garbage and a half, and the cinematic camera angles are as helpful as putting out a fire by beating it with a small child. So what benefit does this game have for someone who purchases it? I’d say it’s the most pompous way to buy a new table equalizer for when one of the legs gets a bit short. “Oh you go with the Sunday times? I had the butler run down to the GameStop and spend a whole $60 on this blue box with a Godzilla on the cover.” Go buy a GameCube and Godzilla Melee: it’s probably cheaper and more rewarding anyway.