It's daft and silly of course, but otherwise quite the hollow experience.
There are of course two ways (or more) to look at this game series. I could dismiss the third goat game as pure monotonous and ridiculous bullshit. Or I can kind of see it for what it is and have fun with the nonsense on offer here. I choose the latter, although Goat Simulator 3 is hardly game of the year, my son Frank (age seven) and I have had a good laugh at Coffee Stain North's latest goat adventure.
Everything is the same and there is no doubt that this could be a DLC pack for Goat Simulator rather than a standalone sequel. Because yes, it's still about the exact same thing in the exact same way with almost exactly the same game mechanics in focus, as before. Physics-based nonsense in a playground where your goat's elastic, sticky super tongue acts as the main tool. You are a goat. You populate a make-believe world reminiscent of a cheaper Saints Row and your task is to complete various smaller goals and missions in the role of a goat and most revolve around things to be moved, retrieved or destroyed - using the super tongue or horns that give your goat the ability to headbutt.
Goat Simulator began its life as an April Fool's joke, which so many gamers liked the idea of that Coffee Stain Studios soon decided to actually develop the silly prank idea into a full-fledged game, and since then the pranks have only evolved and become more and more foolishly crazy. There are perhaps only a few games, throughout the ages, that are fundamentally more absurd than this and I thank the Stockholm-based studio for that. Goat Simulator 3 has offered me and my son many laughs, and going through all the absurd fun of the city is of course not something I will remember in three years' time, but for the moment it has been really silly entertainment for us both.
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There are plenty of things to criticise though, if we are to look beneath the surface and try to dissect the constituents. The physics engine is still bad and the animation work really drab. The goat looks like a rigid robot from a 1999 game when it runs, the people you bump into look like sacks of hay when they tumble or are thrown over a fence, and objects are weightless when pushed around the game world. There is also no consequence in the game world and the level of challenge is basically non-existent. This means that it quickly becomes boring and quite pointless unless you play this together with a giggling seven-year-old who doesn't care about trivial things like successful physics, good animations or meaning in the actual game world.
The graphics are also not very good... at all. Of course, this third one is clearly prettier than, for example, the first game that looks like a PS2 title, but the game world really doesn't look like it's coming from 2022, even if the world itself has grown significantly larger in sheer size since the last time. There are loads of nerdy references in the form of Easter eggs as well, which made me laugh out loud on several occasions. I've found a spoof of Konami's PT corridor, a Wolfenstein 3D level in glorious 3D-pixels, and several Skyrim homages.
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Being able to play with three friends is also kind-of successful from a technical perspective, and moshing around together and seeing how your fellow players fly around with rocket launchers strapped to the backs of goats is really humorous. However, there are quite a few bugs here, in general. In my hours with Goat Simulator 3, I've gone through the ground texture a number of times, the game has completely crashed a bunch, and my goat has become stuck in objects on countless occasions, and this is without mentioning the unstable frame rate that coughs and stutters at regular intervals. Technically, this could be something much more, not least considering that Coffee Stain Studios has now had two attempts and sold millions of copies of the original.
If, like me, you have kids at home to play this with, there is definitely value in the amount of absurd ridiculousness offered in Goat Simulator 3, but it's also not really possible to close your eyes to the fact that relatively little has happened in the goat world since the last time and that the technical shortcomings simply becomes a little too tangible for this to be able to reach the higher part of the Gamereactor grade scale.