Goliath originally released on the PC in 2016 to a lukewarm reception, and now slams its way onto Xbox One in the hopes of better faring. The game is an action-adventure that revolves around crafting robots and punching them in the face, yes, that’s a direct cut from the official description. In fact, it’s a cut from the first sentence, which immediately gives you an idea as to what to expect. Goliath wastes no time in throwing you straight into the experience. Immediately awakening following a plane crash, you find yourself stranded in a bizarre land, a land that’s compiled of several islands that await your exploration. It’s a pretty interesting opening, to say the least, and certainly far from the worst that I’ve witnessed from the genre as a whole.
Your overarching objective is to find a way home, and the only apparent way to do that is to gain favour with the factions that inhabit the world. What better way to do this than to lend them your labour in return for a one way ticket back to reality? Exactly. These favours tend to range from fetch quests to collecting various items, and although they can indeed become tedious and repetitive, I found them to be somewhat addictive, thanks to the fairly solid gameplay that holds the adventure together. Goliath plays out from a top-down isometric viewpoint, gifting the player with a handgun, along with the ability to turn invisible, effectively keeping you safe from enemy encounters.
The aim of the game is (as aforementioned) to find materials that you can use to survive and craft camps with, and before long, the giant robots that are otherwise known as Goliaths. Building a Goliath isn’t as straight forward as you would expect it to be, instead, you’ll first need to locate a blueprint, and then gather any resources you need to build that specific Goliath. I say specific in a literal sense, because the game houses different types of Goliath that require different materials to craft, wood, stone, metal, and so on and so forth. This for me, was when the game shone at its brightest, when I found a blueprint and knew I was soon going to get a new titular toy to play around with.
You gain experience and gold when you complete set missions, and of course, kill the surrounding enemies. These points go towards increasing your stats, as well as access to new upgrades and in essence, blueprints. The balance in the gameplay here is well set, and I cant say that I found an issue with anything other than the excessive fetch questing, and a few grievances here and there. When you eventually start obtaining Goliaths, they make you feel powerful. No longer do you need to skulk in the background to avoid detection, you instantly have the need to confront almost anything that had you standing at a distance before hand.
Each Goliath handles marginally different to the next, coming equipped with their own sets of weapons, passive abilities and attack patterns. Equally as distinct is the fact that each Goliath also comes with their own pros and cons, depending on which one you gravitate towards. Making your way through rain or water as a wooden Goliath will slowly heal it, whereas an iron Goliath is slowed down. This functionality adds a small tactical edge to the game, almost forcing players to think before they act. Given that each Goliath can melee and utilise projectile attacks, it pays off to focus on not just your surroundings, but the enemies that await you at every hurdle.
The AI can indeed be somewhat bogged down by their own fields of perception. It does feel quite cheap to grab the attention of an enemy and walk to a point where they stop pursuing you, only to hit them in the back or throw a projectile at them, the second their backs are turned. As such, combat, depending on what enemy you’re faced with, can be as thrilling as it can be disappointing. Though so long as you avoid these sort of tactics, there’s a lot of fun to be had, and challenging fun at that. The game houses enough enemy variants to keep the experience fresh, and seeing as though Goliath has a heavy emphasis on exploration, this is a big thumbs up. Boss battles are naturally much tougher than your average foe, but these tend to require perseverance rather than tactical play. Nevertheless, I have to admit that I had a blast during these encounters.
Exploring the world that you’re thrown into is easily (for me) one of the highlights of Goliath. Seeking out every nook and cranny in search of secrets and loot, never gets old. I couldn’t help but feel constantly on edge whenever I went on a hunt for resources, heightened by the notion that I will lose money if I get downed. It helps that the world, despite being compiled of segments, is well realised. The visuals are well detailed and designed, dishing up sights and scenery that can constantly vary, with decent weather effects to boot. It’s just a shame that a lot of your time in Goliath will consist of being a glorified gofer, which on top of resource hunting, dials the excitement down to some small degree.
My other issue with the game is that the camera doesn’t always respond as well as I would have hoped. Often producing some awkward perceptions as you try to make your way to specific parts of the map. The soundtrack is another gripe I have with Goliath. It just didn’t really do much to capture the tone of the adventure, and although this is only one tiny issue, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least point it out. With that, and the other faults to the side, Goliath is well worth the investment when you take the generous price tag into account. You’re getting a great deal of longevity, with added replay value thrown on top. The story may well be one that’s all too easy to ignore, but everything else in this game holds the overall package together well.
Goliath isn’t the best game of its genre, but it’s certainly a worthy one. Issues such a weak story, awkward camera angles, and excessive fetch quests, hurt the over experience to some degree. If however you can overlook these problems, you’re in for a good deal of fun. The world comes with a decent variety of environments to travel through, with a nice collection of dungeons to seek out and explore. The visuals are well detailed and designed, enticing you to explore your surroundings with every step you take. The constant drive towards finding your next Goliath as well as resource hunting, is well balanced thanks to the reliable controls, the simplistic crafting system, and the collective enemy variants. With multiple endings to go with, Goliath easily serves somewhere north of ten hours worth of gameplay. Again, it may not be perfect, but it’s undeniably fun.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.