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Why Goat Simulator is barely a game, let alone a good one.
I must make it clear at this point that I’ve never played Goat Simulator. I have seen a (large – let’s be honest, there are far too many) number of videos on it, but I’ve never played it, so everything I say could be entirely wrong and I may actually enjoy Goat Simulator immensely, should I take the time to play it. That said, I still fully intend to plough on with my criticisms, and I also never intend to risk my money on finding out if I would enjoy it or not.
So what's wrong with it then?
Goat Simulator, if you’re not already aware, is a game built on the premise that glitches in games are funny. Glitches in games often are funny – they can leave me in stitches. But where Goat Simulator gets it wrong, is in that glitches aren’t just inherently funny. They’re funny when they’re unexpected, strange, random. Glitches are funny when they happen in a serious situation, in a game that takes itself seriously. But in Goat Simulator, glitches are expected – it’s the whole premise of the game, and the game doesn’t take itself seriously. It might give a couple of laughs at the beginning, but after that you expect everything, and if it’s expected it’s just not entertaining. Goat Simulator is a comedy game that only has one joke that it tells over and over again, and it is a joke that was barely funny the first time.
Not only this, but the game has no… well, game to it. The only objective is to get points by various methods, of which there aren’t enough to comprise gameplay. The “funny” “random” glitches are really the only thing happening in this game, there’s no missions, no gameplay to it. You run around the (tiny) map bumping into things, and then once you’ve explored the map the game has nothing left to offer.
The fans of Goat Simulator defend the game viciously. They say that it’s ok that it’s a bad game, because it’s meant to be a bad game. Well I’m here to tell you that a game being intentionally bad doesn’t make it any less bad. Intentional or not, the fact remains that Goat Simulator is a bad game.
Another defence made along similar lines is that Goat Simulator is a parody. The fans say that it is a parody of the simply astonishing number of bad simulators released in the last year or two. But in order for something to be a parody, there must be some kind of commentary behind it. They have to be saying something about bad simulators. Instead they’ve just created a bad simulator and called it a parody. They’ve done nothing more than add to the pile of poorly made simulators.
It’s a shame really, because the idea had a lot of promise. If they’d properly parodied bad simulators, that would have been a game I probably would have enjoyed. If they’d taken the idea of making fun of everything these bad simulators do wrong and then done something interesting with it, instead of just putting everything wrong with simulators into a single game, then it might have ended up a properly enjoyable game. But instead they just ended up with everything wrong with simulators in a single game.
These are some pretty bold opinions from someone who’s never played the game. And I could be wrong about it all. But this is my take from what I’ve seen. This all said, a LOT of people bought the damn thing so clearly the developers were doing something right. And they’re releasing a free expansion, Goat MMO Simulator, which looks like it might have some actual gameplay aspects to it, so that heightens my interest in the game (although not quite enough to pay my actual hard earned cash on it). It’s nice to see a developer releasing reasonably content full (by the look of it) DLC for free during a time when companies like Ubisoft just keeps on digging, I’ll give them that.