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Goat Simulator 3 Review

The ridiculousness returns

Can you capture lightning in a bottle twice? After the initial landmark release, all of our collective eyes have been fixed on the sequel, wondering if this new entry could possibly live up to the legacy of original. Oh, shit, I can see where you might be confused, but I’m not talking about God of War Ragnarök, I’m referring to the other colossal sequel of 2022. Taking the gaming community by surprise back in 2014, Goat Simulator jumped on and took the piss out of the simulator craze that was rampant at the time in a bizarrely entertaining way. Eight years on, developer Coffee Stain Studios has decided to bin sequel and launch straight into the threequel with Goat Simulator 3. Does Pilgor’s return recapture the magic, or should this bleating beast be sent to the farm?

Now, it would make my job a lot easier if everyone reading this had played the original, as I’ve discovered that explaining exactly what this game is can be challenging to say the least. But, if you’re new to the craziness, I’ll give you a rundown. You’re a goat. That’s…about it. Instead of hanging around in a petting zoo or fainting when frightened, the game’s hard-headed hero is let loose into an open world with the goal of creating chaos and generally just dicking around.

For those who did play the original, the most noticeable detail right off the bat will be the scale of the sequel. Whereas the first game was confined to a relatively small play area, Goat Simulator 3’s San Angora map is significantly larger, with multiple points of interest scattered throughout. The most impressive aspect of the map isn’t its size though, it’s how densely packed it is with activities, landmarks, references and hilariously dumb jokes that I won’t spoil here. I could feel my attention span shrinking as I played this game because finishing one objective was always followed by me stumbling upon something else to look at, laugh at or headbutt.

Alex was right, a deep tissue massage is just what I needed

Giving you some guidance amongst the mayhem are micro-missions called Events. If I were being generous, I would say that these activities are puzzles, but their more akin to an interactive gag that can occasionally make you think for a second or two. I don’t want to expose many of the Events, as their unexpected nature is a large part of the humour, but my personal favourite tasks you with saving ‘Steve’ from a hot spring. It turns out that the numerous humans floating face down aren’t named Steve, though another aquatic spa-goer is. All of the Events are bite-sized by design and the vast majority at least garnered a chuckle.

Completing Events will reward you with points that allow you to rise through the ranks of the Illuminati and gradually remodel the secret cathedral hidden within the Goat Towers around the map. I know, none of that makes a lick of sense, but it’s an attempt at giving your absurd antics a purpose. Completing the majority of the Events and ascending to the rank of New Goat Order culminates in a boss fight, of sorts, that’s just as tongue-in-cheek as the rest of the game. This could all be considered a story, but the steps that get you to the end don’t achieve much more than aesthetically altering a place that you will only visit once you’ve hit the next rank.

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In between Events, you’ll be completing Instincts. Similar to the tasks from the original game, Instincts are menial activities like doing a 720 backflip or headbutting a certain number of townsfolk. Completing Instincts will reward you with points that can be spent to buy cosmetics and items that you can bling out your goat with. There’s instant hilarity to be found in putting your goat in a ghostly sheet and swimming goggles, but the real fun to be had is with the items that come with abilities. A knock-off Captain America shield that can be thrown, a jetpack that sends you into the stratosphere and a human facemask that fires lasers from the eyes are just a handful of the insane attachments you’ll come across. That’s not even mentioning the alternate characters like the giraffe, rhino and skateboarding shark that can also be unlocked. The game constantly gives you stupid tools to play with and results in a great deal of stupid fun.

No goats here, just a spoooooooky ghost

It should be evident at this point that Goat Sim 3 doesn’t take itself seriously at all and that’s its charm, but the humour won’t be for everyone. Setting the overall tone for the game, you begin by taking an all too familiar ride in a wagon, accompanied by the words, “Oh, you’re finally awake.” Packed to the gills with nods, winks and references that (to some) will feel outdated, you might find yourself rolling your eyes rather than rolling on the floor. Personally, I was laughing way more than I would like to admit, though ‘synchronising’ with every Goat Tower on the map to discover Events felt like it was toeing the line between satire and outright stealing notes from Assassin’s Creed. I’m in on the joke, but busy work is busy work.

While being a one-goat wrecking ball is great fun, adding friends to the mix is where the game really finds its hooves. In either split-screen or online multiplayer, you can add up to three friends to your game, multiplying the insanity as you do. In addition to exploring, headbutting and licking together, you can also take part in a multitude of minigames that have you competing against each other in soccer, prop golf and more. These can be found within the world or initiated by a player at any time in the menus. There’s a bevy of activities for you and your pet shop pals to get around, but you’ll likely find dicking around with items and stretching the game’s physics to crashing point more entertaining than anything else.

I forgot to mention, you can grind like Tony Hawk for some reason

Speaking of which, it’s worth mentioning that, beyond belief, the game’s performance is excellent. When I say that, I don’t mean that there’s a complete lack of pop-ins, physics issues or screen tearing, as those are all intentionally left in, but more so that four players can all enlarge themselves, cause enormous explosions and summon tornados together at the same time and the game takes it in its stride with little more than a slight drop in frames as a repercussion. It’s an admirable feat that constantly amazed me.

Final Thoughts

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Going into Goat Simulator 3, I wasn’t expecting much. Seeing as though the original was practically a playable gag that commanded about an hour or two of attention, I figured the second punchline would suffer from diminishing returns. Instead, I got a hilarious, six-hour acid trip of a game that had me laughing and smiling more than I have in a long while. The densely-packed map overloads you with lightning-quick activities that you and a few mates can roll through as you chuckle or cringe at some endearingly outdated humour. It’s not perfect, nor is it supposed to be, but I enjoyed my time with Goat Simulator 3 from hoof to horn.

Reviewed on PS5 // Review code supplied by publisher

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Goat Simulator 3 Review
A Barnyard Banger
Goat Simulator 3 not only recaptures the crazy fun of the original, but it expands and improves on everything that came before, resulting in a big, stupid sandbox experience that made me smile from start to finish.
The Good
An absolutely packed open world
Ridiculously entertaining multiplayer
Surprisingly solid performance
Great bite-sized objectives
The humour
The Bad
Progression is a bit lacking
Some tedious busy work
The humour
8
Get Around It
  • Coffee Stain North
  • Coffee Stain Publishing
  • PS5 / Xbox Series X|S / PC
  • November 17, 2022

Goat Simulator 3 Review
A Barnyard Banger
Goat Simulator 3 not only recaptures the crazy fun of the original, but it expands and improves on everything that came before, resulting in a big, stupid sandbox experience that made me smile from start to finish.
The Good
An absolutely packed open world
Ridiculously entertaining multiplayer
Surprisingly solid performance
Great bite-sized objectives
The humour
The Bad
Progression is a bit lacking
Some tedious busy work
The humour
8
Get Around It
Written By Adam Ryan

Adam's undying love for all things PlayStation can only be rivalled by his obsession with vacuuming. Whether it's a Dyson or a DualShock in hand you can guarantee he has a passion for it. PSN: TheVacuumVandal XBL: VacuumVandal Steam: TheVacuumVandal

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