Goat Simulator 3 Review
The real GOAT
Since becoming a quasi-professional video game reviewer, I’ve covered a lot of weird things. The similarities between Arma and armed conflict, a game about a piece of paper and the details of yet another Call of Duty title are all part of my portfolio. But those articles, and the countless others I’ve written in the past few years, are at least somewhat normal as far as entertainment journalism goes. However, the same can’t be said about this specific review, because writing 800 words about Goat Simulator 3, a game where you play as a goat with ragdoll physics, is absurd on every level. Through some glitch in the Matrix, though, it almost makes sense that this college graduate and one-time photojournalist is critiquing one of the dumbest titles to ever see the light of day, because it’s actually pretty great.
For those who don’t pay attention to Twitch streamers who cater to a pre-pubescent audience, the premise of Goat Simulator 3 is about as simple as it can be. You play as a four-legged, fur covered fink that’s tasked with causing mayhem in a mid-sized map. To do that, you run around head-butting objects and licking everything in sight while trying to make a mockery of traditional video games concepts for no other reason than the fact that it’s fun. If you want, you can also complete physics-based puzzles, team up with up to 3 other friends through online coop and progress through a strange Illuminati-based leveling system over the course of about five hours.
And, at least from a gameplay perspective, there isn’t anything more to Goat Simulator 3 than that. There’s no overly-serious story to engage with, nor is there a deep progression tree or complex shooting mechanics, and that’s why the game is so great. While there are plenty of titles designed to keep your mind off of the various once-in-a-lifetime events that we all keep living through every week, they often require some semblance of brainpower, and this game simply doesn’t. You’re a goat that wreaks havoc on an open world by using intrinsically satisfying mechanics, and because those mechanics are superbly fun to toy around with, the title is easily able to justify its passively lofty price tag.
Thankfully, whereas the gameplay of Goat Simulator 3 is relatively limited in scope, there is plenty of nuance to be had in what passes for its story. In case it wasn’t obvious from the title’s title (which suggests that Goat Simulator 2 exists, but in reality it doesn’t), it parodies almost every aspect of pop culture. Whether that’s when it makes fun of Skyrim’s stupidly long introduction with its own starting sequence, the fact that you can equip a Captain America shield, or the various names of lickable and kickable NPCs, there are constantly jokes to be enjoyed throughout the game’s runtime.
It’s worth noting that, although at times these jokes can seem over the top, they never fall into the same category of failed social commentary like the punching bag of my video game reviews that is Not Tonight 2. Not every single gag hits its mark, but the majority are funny and varied enough to ensure that the game as a whole is worth a comparison to The Stanley Parable. That’s to say that even if you aren’t a fan of jabs at Marvel movies or furry conventions, it’s almost guaranteed that there’ll be something you get a few good giggles out of in between the constant carnage you cause.
On a less noteworthy point, it also needs to be said that Goat Simulator 3 is solid from a technical perspective. While there are some bugs caused by the insane amount of physics props you can play around with, crashes and frame rate loss are rare. Given how many interactable items there are in the game’s strangely large open world, this is definitely welcome, and ensures that the title can be enjoyed even if you can only play it on a perpetually deteriorating PC like me.
But even if Goat Simulator 3 ran terribly, it’d still be worth experiencing for a few hours. With its over-the-top but satisfying gameplay and constant barrage of great gags, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. While it isn’t going to become a mainstay of the gaming industry, nor is it going to win any awards at whatever event Geoff Keighley is hosting this year, it’s still a fun title that allows you to turn your brain completely off. And, given how much brainpower everyone has to devote to the various end-of-the-world situations brewing at present, that’s enough to make it worth the price of admission.
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