The Fall of Babylon, the troubled live-service action RPG from action game stars Platinum Games, has seemingly reached life support. After two months on the market and a lukewarm reception at launch, Square Enix’s latest effort was reduced to just one player on PC last week. They revealed themselves on Twitter after VGC reported the shocking number of players via Steam Chart Data† Turns out it was Gfinity journalist Dashiell Wood, who said: The Fall of Babylon is a “flawed but charming” game that he hopes to convince his friends to play with him.
The Fall of Babylon dropped on March 3 for PC and PlayStation consoles, but was quickly panned by critics for its ugly textures, lackluster hack-and-slash combat, and uninspired gameplay loop. Our very own Ethan Gach called it the PS5’s new worst gameand Steam players tore it to shreds in numerous user reviews. The game’s prospects looked so bad that, about two weeks after it came out, Square Enix had to… release a statement promising The Fall of Babylon was not a dead game, although the number of concurrent players continued to decline. But as people have left Square’s latest looting RPG, Wood told Kotaku via Twitter DMs he finds The Fall of Babylon “interesting” despite its flaws.
“This whole experience has a real underdog charm,” Wood said. “Obviously it’s a Platinum game and I’ve always been a big fan of their work. In The Fall of Babylon, you can see many of their features. The combat is actually a lot of fun once you get to grips with it and there’s a lot of depth by experimenting with different builds. Your character has a fairly standard class, but also a unique ‘Gideon Coffin’, which has slots that act as your move set. There are practically unlimited combinations of items to put in and each changes the experience drastically, making for some interesting gameplay.
Wood said that on the night of May 3, when… The Fall of Babylon only saw a single concurrent player (him), he had logged in a bit before bed to check things out. The game has recently been completed to be NieR: Vending Machines temporary event, where players could purchase and unlock costumes based on Platinum’s genre-mixing and wildly successful action-RPG. So Wood wanted to see what was in the in-game store, but found the hub world was barren.
“In terms of what it’s like to be one of the few people who still play, you don’t really notice it unless you’re off missions,” Wood said. “Missions are all in self-contained small areas, but there’s an undeniable sense of creepiness that permeates the hub world. It’s huge and desolate. At the time the game launched, you saw a single player doing their business at merchants or whatever but most days it’s just a total ghost town now it can be fun to wander around but the scale makes the lack of players even more apparent imagine limsa lomensa FFXIVbut completely empty.”
Wood thinks why The Fall of Babylon is empty is twofold. One: it has “pretty aggressive” microtransactions that can quickly dry out your wallet. And two, the “dirty, blurry and muddy” images make for an unpleasant experience. There’s also the $60 price tag for what he ended up calling a “disappointing” game. He hopes a cut could entice players to pick it up, especially since it offers crossplay and apparently plenty of replayability.
Wood plans to finish The Fall of Babylon as he sees it, Balan Wonder Worldand left alive as “a beautiful trilogy” of flawed but charming games. He estimates he has about 25 hours to go and doesn’t mind the plodding because, as he referred to Tommy Wiseau’s The roomWood is fascinated by the horror of the game.
“I am the proud owner of both the Balan Wonder World and left alive Collector’s Editions. (Fingers crossed [Square] gives one free The Fall of Babylon also…),” said Wood. “You can say what you like about their quality as video games, but there’s something charming about them all. Obviously I play a lot of games professionally and a lot of AAA games these days are incredibly polished experiences. It really got boring after a while, so it was refreshing to play some titles from the other end of the spectrum at least their flaws make them much more interesting to play and discuss than what naughty dog or rockstar games have put out there is so much to dig in here and to investigate. The Fall of Babylon is like his own little puzzle box of catastrophic cock-ups.”
As of this writing, The Fall of Babylon‘s number of simultaneous players struggles to maintain double digits, with about 50 people playing in the last 24 hours and just eight or so roaming the hub world at the moment. All of this is tracked on PC, of course, so it’s likely that the console players are bigger.