Review – Dawn of the Monsters
There’s nothing more epic than giant mechs and monsters duking it out. The scale, the devastation, the apocalyptic themes, there’s a reason the concept burns so strongly in pop culture. Optimus Prime, Godzilla, Ultraman, Gundam, fights are just so much more exciting when everyone’s taller than skyscrapers and somebody can breath fire. Yet while there’s troves of classic movies highlighting this greatness, the same cannot be said for gaming. Sure, there were a few half-decent Transformers games (especially the DS RPG I will forever treasure), but beyond that, not much. Not much that was good, at least.
Thankfully, Dawn of the Monsters is here to rectify this. It’s a game that understands what people love about the genre, while knowing how to deliver a satisfying game experience. When you pair passion and competence like this, great things follow.
The plot is very, very simple. The world is being overrun by gigantic monsters known as Nephilim. All that stands between humanity and utter destruction is DAWN, or the Defense Alliance Worldwide Network. You play as one of the four weapons DAWN has pointed at the Nephilim threat, Aegis Prime, a human with the power to turn into a gigantic Optimus Prime/Ultraman hybrid. Then there’s Megadon, who’s essentially Godzilla. Tempest Galahad is a mech with a giant cannon piloted by Jamila Senai, a DAWN recruit. Finally there’s Ganira, terror of the seas, who can summon a crab friend to help. Megadon and Ganira are first wave Nephilim that were turned against their kin by DAWN, while Aegis and Galahad are humans working with the organization. Together they’re kinda like the Avengers, but cause WAY more collateral damage.
If you’ve ever played a 2D beat ’em up, then you know the general gameplay here. You start at the left of the screen, and move right while removing everything from existence in-between. It seems simple enough, but there’s a lot of complexity here. I was actually surprised honestly, every character plays very differently. Aegis Prime is fast, and focused around complex situational combos. Whereas Megadon on the other hand is a walking tank, with a flame breath attack as a cannon. Each of the characters have their own combo list, as well as three special moves. On top of that, each of them comes with a special ultimate move that’s properly badass. My favorite was Megadon’s, which just destroys everything around you, Nuclear Godzilla style.
And when I said you destroy everything around you in this game, I meant everything. It’s a totally destructible environment, and is actually quite impressive for a game like this. The environment isn’t just a destructible background for your war either, it’s an active participant. There are health and ultimate caches in buildings you smash to retrieve. You can rip buildings up, smash Nephilim around with them, and then throw them at someone when you’re done. The game does a fantastic job at making you feel like a force of nature, which is critical for a game like this. You’re waging all out war against an army of gigantic monsters, what’s a city or two in collateral damage?
Outside of battle you’ll spend time aboard DAWN’s satellite fortress, where you’re fired down from the skies like Master Chief every time you start a mission. While aboard you can talk with your teammates and other members of DAWN in skits, read through the game’s library of lore, or edit your character’s loadout. Dawn of the Monsters’ equipment system is called DNA Augmentations, and you collect them in levels. The better you perform in a level, the more and higher quality Augments you collect. They can do things from increase stats, add new effects to moves, or a bunch of other things. It’s fun and again fairly deep, so it’s a system that’s well worth your time to learn and explore. Finally, you can use the in-game currency to buy health upgrades and different skins. Usual stuff, nothing special here, but more than enough.
Dawn of the Monsters is a super fun game dripping in style. From the comic book art style, to the very Kaiju inspired story and character designs, to the surprisingly deep combat and customization systems. It’s actually a fairly long game too, with four environments with over thirty missions. Plus, the ranking system means there’s always a reason to replay a mission, in order to try and perfect your score. I had high hopes, but not much in the way of expectations when I started this game, and all of them were met for sure. It’s a great fun game that delivers the experience it shows on the box exactly. And what more do you want from a game than that, really?
The comic book come-to-life aesthetic is beautiful and doesn’t interfere with visibility while playing.
Each character plays quite differently, there’s a large variety of enemies, and it’s just never not fun.
Voice-acting is well done, soundtrack is cool, and most importantly, the roars are properly impressive.
Fun Factor: 8.0
You won’t find a gripping narrative or revolutionary game mechanics, just a fun game that knows exactly what it wants to be and delivers.
Final Verdict: 8.5
Dawn of the Monsters is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
Reviewed on PS5.
A copy of Dawn of the Monsters was provided by the publisher.