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Goat Simulator - The Bundle / 25th of March 2016

Goat Simulator is a very strange game indeed, that much is obvious, and it is one that has, and will continue to divide opinion between two polar opposite extremes; on the one hand we have the rather deluded opinion that Goat Simulator is a game that’s so bad it’s good, held by people who can overlook the lack of structure, primitive visuals and terrible physics. And then there are others, like me, who just think that it’s crap. It doesn’t matter how much content the team throw together; it’s just never going to be worth more than ten minutes of play, because that’s exactly how long it takes to see through the so-called “comical” façade to find the shallow guff underneath.

And speaking of content, this bundle brings the original release together with various bits of DLC, such as the MMO RPG Simulator and the preposterous DayZ spoof, GoatZ, yet the underlying gameplay is still the same, a thoroughly broken aping of the classic Tony Hawk’s games. Coffee Stain Studios give their players a playground to explore and string together “skill” moves with the aim of procuring a high score. Yet, unlike Neversoft’s efforts, Goat Simulator is riddled with bugs, sloppy, inaccurate controls and a fundamentally broken physics engine, rendering it entirely as a game of chance, and surely nobody can argue with that? Right?

I can almost understand where it’s initial popularity will have risen from, as a budget release on Steam, it’s easy to recognise why some gamers might have picked it up for a laugh, yet here on consoles in its current form, the price tag grossly outweighs the ten minutes of fun one can derive from the whole package. So now, not only is Goat Simulator inherently little more than pure dross, it’s now overpriced tripe at that. In fact, the game is so fundamentally flawed that in its tutorial it actually instructs the player that should Billy (the goat) become stuck in the scenery they can easily reset his position. So yeah, perhaps to a certain extent, the developer is attempting to lampoon the release of bug riddled games with their own feeble effort, yet this neither makes Goat Simulator enjoyable or clever, especially at its new price point.

Without question, the most shoddily put together element of this bundle is what is likely to be a major draw for the bulk of its buyers, GoatZ (the Before Outbreak section is just so pointless that it’s not even worth any form of discussion). Here, players control a goat struggling to survive amid the zombie apocalypse, to do this they must manage their hunger and health by taking out the aforementioned shambling corpses, and then eating their rotting brains. To spice things up ever so slightly, Coffee Stain has also included a form of rudimentary weapon crafting, this would undoubtedly have been a most welcome addition if it didn’t actually involve dragging the necessary items across the map using the goat’s tongue, a system so utterly horrible that for the majority of the time, it simply doesn’t work, seeing objects becoming stuck against various parts of the scenery more often than not, an issue that is not restricted to this game mode alone.

Goat Simulator’s MMO Simulator sees the goat cast as some sort of mythical hero whose arrival was foretold in a prophecy, standard stuff, in fact, there’s even several “hero” goats to choose from, each with their own limited skillset. However, what started out as a mode that held some appeal to myself as an RPG fan, quickly turned into an exercise in monotony. Essentially, players are simply thrown into an open world where they can wander around collecting missions from selected inhabitants and completing these to the best of their ability, or as well as the mechanics will allow. Numerous missions involve collecting items which means that the goat’s tongue returns to the fore, replete with all of the issues that blight it in every other mode. There’s an undeveloped levelling system included, so as with all RPGs, the protagonist will progress, well, sort of. As one advances through the levels, nothing significant appears to happen, no new abilities, no additional health or strength - not that this would matter as Billy is a seemingly invincible bleating machine anyway, completing rinse and repeat missions with absolutely no semblance of an end goal in sight. It may provide a slight diversion from the bog standard formula, but it certainly won’t entertain for very long at all, which pretty much sums up the entire package.

Some players will undoubtedly derive some form of entertainment from Goat Simulator, though I don’t know how, but then I’m quite evidently not its target demographic and thankfully, I never will be. It’s plain to see that Coffee Stain Studios has gone out of its way to create a deliberately rubbish game, but that obviously doesn’t change the fact that it’s still just codswallop, pure and simple. I honestly couldn’t imagine being able to recommend this to anyone at the game’s original price on Steam, so how can I possibly advise anyone to pick it up for £20? I can’t.

James Paton
 
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