In 2014, Bandai Namco decided to give Godzilla another try on the console front, after years had gone by since the glory days of Godzilla Destroy All Monsters Melee and Godzilla Save the Earth. So, on PlayStation 4, it released a contemporary fighting game featuring the giant monster and his buddies, trashing everything as best as they could.
The game didn’t quite fare as well as the company was hoping, as it got poor scores from critics and didn’t sell as well as it would hope. And when the license faded, it decided to quietly end its production and move onto other projects.
But then something happened. If you do a quick search for the game on eBay, you’ll find that it’s become an impressive collector’s item, with complete copies selling for anywhere between $160 to $250 – and maybe even higher if the game is brand new and sealed. That makes it the rarest PlayStation 4 game out there, aside from the physical version of Gravity Rush Remastered, which also didn’t get that big a production run.
So what happened? Did the game strike a chord alongside the same levels as the previous PlayStation 2/Xbox/GameCube Godzilla games? Or did fans just want something featuring the big lug, since there are really no other games featuring him?
Even though most critics found the gameplay lacking in the new Godzilla game, there’s no question that its essence is true to the original films of lore. IGN actually noted in its review (with a score of 4.5, by the way) that “the spirit of the old-school monster movie is where Bandai Namco absolutely nails it.”
The game was actually developed by the team at Natsume, a bit of a stretch from the previous developers of Godzilla games. However, the team did its homework, going for that old-school mantra and even going as far as leveling up the destruction so that it took advantage of the PS4 hardware. For good measure, players could also unlock special modes related to Godzilla, such as Evolution Mode, the Kaiji Field Guide, and even the peculiar Diorama mode, featuring a number of memorable monster models. This would allow players to recreate infamous battles from the films.
More than likely, the sheer essence of classic cinematic Godzilla is what makes the game such a huge draw. For good measure, it’s also got a who’s who of monsters from the films, as follows:
- Godzilla, four versions (including the 1995 version and the more current 2014 one from the box office hit)
- Anguirus (Showa)
- Rodan (Showa)
- Mothra (Showa)
- Mothra (Heisei)
- King Ghidorah (Heisei)
- Hedorah (Showa)
- Mechagodzilla (both the 1974 and 1975 versions)
- Battra (Larva and Imago)
- Space Godzilla
- Gigan (the upgraded 2004 version)
- Super Mechagodzilla
- Mecha-King Ghidorah
- Type-3 Kiryu
- Jet Jaguar (YES!)
There’s just a ton of content here for old-school fans, as well as those thirsting for a big monster fight. Again, the controls may not have been as smooth as Melee, but regardless, it set the stage for some big monster encounters – and still kind of does today.
As for why fans may have passed upon it at release, it didn’t get as much hype as many were expecting. That may have been due to the lacking reviews at the time, or the fact that the license just wasn’t as big of a draw as, say, Tekken or Soul Calibur. That’s a bit mind-boggling, considering Godzilla’s universal appeal. And let’s not forget the movie that came out at the same time, too.
But now fans are discovering it and even asking for a reprinting, though the license is likely out of Bandai Namco’s hands at this point. There’s always the possibility of a sequel, especially with Godzilla vs. Kong creeping up on us next month. But, for now, if you want to track down the original, it’ll cost you a pretty penny. But, hey, to some of us die-hard kaiju fans, it’ll certainly be worth it.
Long live Godzilla!