February 22, 2024
Skipping 2 (we don’t talk about 2) and going straight to 3 – is it second time’s a charm for Goat Simulator 3? Wait… The Finger Guns Review:

There’s a simulator for everything these days. You want to spend real life hours harvesting crops? You can. Want to arrest whoever you want and ignore real crimes? Fill your boots. Hankering to do a 720 splish-splash on a garden patio? Sure, just don’t tell your car that’s not seen a wash this year. All of these can fulfil your mundane fantasies from the comfort of your own home. One unlikely fantasy I didn’t envision being fulfilled however, was Goat Simulator in 2014. Coffee Stain Studios answered the question, what really goes on behind those blank yet captivating goat eyes.

Mischief, sacrifices and a tongue that mimics the horror of being stuck on a Velcro wall. Goat Simulator seemingly came out of nowhere but instantly became a comedy classic, subverting the sim genre before the saturation we’re at with the genre today. Whilst I had an absolute blast with the first game, I never felt compelled to go back for the DLCs. With that said, after seeing the reveal trailer at Gamescom’s Opening Night Live I was so ready to jump back into the life of a goat in Goat Simulator 3, the second instalment to the franchise. I’m still not going to talk about 2, don’t ask. They don’t want you asking.

Three Is the Magic Number

If this is your first time around the farm, Goat Simulator pits you in the hooves of a goat – would you believe it. There’s no narrative structure per se but you’re dumped into a sandbox to do whatever Coffee Stain Studios limits you to do. You can jump, stick anything to your tongue, headbutt/kick what you like and shout at anyone willing to listen. There was a myriad of situations to discover across the couple of maps in Goat Simulator, like a check-list of chaos.

Goat Simulator 3 follows that similar formula but with a couple of extra features that leads to an overall goal. This time around you wake up in Skyrim fashion to your new home. This game has ditched the levels and has opted for a massive open world instead. It’s a nice change as it cuts out the loading screens and menus for the immersion of one setting, with a decent enough variety. From a farm to a suburb and ending into cities you really are welcome to do whatever you want from the jump.

Like Assassin’s Creed, you can synchronise at towers to detail the map in your menu. This tower also teleports you to the games overall goal. The overall goal is upgrading a castle you rule. As you upgrade the castle it unlocks new rooms containing features as well as becoming a busier hall of your infamy, storing trinkets and characters that you’ve discovered/completed throughout the game. This isn’t a necessary feature for the game but I appreciate there’s a carrot on a stick to overall motivate an end goal. Otherwise, I don’t think I’d be able to satisfy the Goat Overlords. Send help.

That’s Why He’s The Goat… The GOAT

The main signposted objectives of the game are the events and instincts. Completing these progresses your Illuminati rank for your castle, but it also gives you currency for the in-game shop. From Luchador Masks to Gators (Crocs) to even changing your species, nothing is off limits on the Goat customisation. I really looked forward to finding these wearable items across the map. They have their own rarities and although it doesn’t equate to much difference, it’s a way of indicating that the item does a little bit more than just look funny. Green rarities usually come with a passive ability. Such as ear-muffs muffling the audio; or purple rarity which gives you active ability like a megaphone blasting a soundwave making everything in its path fly! However, buying items isn’t the only way of styling out your goat but you also find them out in the wild, unlocking further instincts.

Instincts in a broad sense are player-initiated moments pushing you to do things you may not think about. Some are to reach the highest point on a part of a map or to perform a 720 double front flip/back flip. There’s 99 to discover and complete that all tie to certain areas or items you find along the way. Similarly, the events are more manufactured by the game with stricter rules to complete them. They often have a pun for a title and a vague objective that’ll make you think of ways to complete them using your goat abilities. At the start, these events were easy enough; like Forbidden Fruit where there’s a tree with the literal Apple of Eden that you knock off. Resulting in completion but a continuous smite from God shocking you every so often.

The first few hours I found them simple yet engaging little moments to spur me on to do whacky things in the game. Though as I played more I started getting a little bit tired of trying to complete them. One instance I had to find three whistlers in a city where they could be anywhere, it became tiresome looking for them and it does drag down the fun factor if you’re being objective focused. For another objective, I had to find and move 40 boxes into a garage which took 20-25 minutes to beat. Not because I struggled to find any, but that was just the movement speed of the goat and how spread out they all were. I guess if these were sprinkled in with some of the easier events I wouldn’t have felt the slog as much, but unfortunately they were back-to-back and it dampened the momentum I had in the earlier hours. 

We’re All in A Simulation

My favourite aspect of Goat Simulator 3 is the comedy. This game doesn’t just have a funny bone but an entire exo-skeleton made out of comedy gold. Moment to moment, there’s a reference or strange set up that makes you feel like you’re interrupting someone’s life, only to turn it into chaos. The first game obviously had its fair share of goofs and gaffs, but Coffee Stain Studios have pushed the envelope further on what they can get away with. That’s not to say its crass, offensive or overly political but as is the case with satire, nothing is safe from being made fun of.

Some of the jokes will go over the heads of the younger players but like me if you have an ounce of pop culture knowledge, you’re going to be chuckling and shaking your head till it pops off, revealing a goat controlling you (power to the Goat Overlords). Considering the huge map size, there is so much humour to be had that isn’t manufactured by the player, instead just waiting for the player to find. Longevity of the game is down to your creativity to a point. If you’re going to ignoring the signposting of the events and instincts that are all hilarious, there’s still ways to entertain yourself for hours. My favourite moments with Goat Simulator 3 was the stuff I found by myself by just messing around and finding out. More often than not, things I did or interacted with had a consequence that the developers intended for you to find and it just shows how much detail there is in the game. 

You Have Goat To Be Kidding Me!

In so many ways Goat Simulator 3 has improved from its predecessor. Though the technical performance never fully sheds the jank from 2014. Whilst visually it does look better, with a better execution in dynamic lighting, a more detailed goat to play as and a wider variety in environments. There’re still lingering performance issues that take away from the hilarity of the game. Objects clipping or in the wrong place are part and parcel with the game, but attempting to assemble AI to work how you intend is often a nightmarish venture. 

There’s also a lot of pop in of people and objects, and frames dipping to a slideshow sometimes. It’s not a major issue as I’m just playing Goat Simulator for a good time. I don’t need to be immersed just engrossed in the rib-tickling gameplay. However, after a good few hours I was cursing the way the goat controls. Unless you are holding straight up with the left stick and turning with the right – this limiting your ability of looking around – you’ll be crawling or sometimes halting your movement. It became to feel restrictive in the moments where I was looking around the map for the objectives and traversing at a good pace but I ended up feeling like I was fighting with the controls.

The game also features online with up to 4 or split-screen co-op offering an opportunity to take over the world with your favourite NB-illy, Milly or Billy Goat. This opens up the opportunity to take on some of the minigames to enjoy. There’s football, capture the crown and others to label yourself as the G.O.A.T, but if you’re not able to play multiplayer, the modes are locked out for you. I spent the majority of the time solo, so to be able to have a go of the minigames against a potential AI would be a welcome addition, so you don’t feel locked out of aspects of the game.

Goat recognising G.O.A.T

Goat Simulator 3’s chaotic mischief is one for those looking for an open world to just put your brain in a jar and have a roaring time. There’s so much content to come across in an expansive sandbox that you wouldn’t believe. I’ll be playing this for a good while checking every off the to do list. The wide range of wearables to choose from only elevate how much silly fun you can have, with co-op doubling up that experience. If you give this game a shot, you too can be one with the Goat Overlords and take over the world. Join us.

Goat Simulator 3 nails the ridiculousness in a bigger, more intuitive way. The humour hits in every corner of the huge open world you’ll be exploring, culminating in hours of fun. The controls not feeling as modern as its peers, alongside small performance issues dampen the overall package, but if you’re looking for something truly off the wall and friendly for all ages, this game is one to check out.

Goat Simulator 3 is out now on PlayStation 5 (review platform), Xbox Series S|X and PC (Epic Games Store)

Developer: Coffee Stain Studios
Publisher: Coffee Stain Publishing

Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional code from the publisher. For our full review policy, please go here.

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