Goat Simulator 3 Review: "A Huge Surprise"

Goat Simulator 3 Review: "A Huge Surprise"
Images via Coffee Stain Studios

Written by 

Daniel Hollis

Posted 

16th Nov 2022 15:00

There’s a running trend where games are often compared to being The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It’s a pretty common occurrence and one that has perhaps happens all too often. Any game that throws a wide-open world, puzzles, and tons of secrets to uncover is often called the next Breath of the Wild. In the case of Goat Simulator 3, it has all of those things, and while it would probably be easy to make the long-running comparison, the tone here is much different. If Breath of the Wild is a melancholic take on the open-world formula, Goat Simulator 3 is the equivalent of taking your trusty steed up to Link, kicking him in the nuts, and tackling the challenge yourself.

Whatever Floats Your Goat

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The key takeaway from Goat Simulator 3 is freedom. After a relatively short intro - which does an absolutely fantastic job of introducing you to the game and referencing an iconic gaming moment that we won’t spoil here - you’re pretty much given free rein on the beautiful island of San Angora. Much like the original game, Goat Simulator 3 is all about causing as much chaos as possible, but this time around players are given much more to do.

Your first steps in San Angora will introduce you to your Goat Castle - a small abode where you learn about your responsibilities as a chaotic and destruction fuelled animal. While it may be light on the story front, Goat Simulator 3 quickly gives you a sense of direction. Your aim is to venture out into the world and solve as many problems and puzzles littered across the many zones.  

As you enter a new area, you can use a tower to scour the surrounding valleys - similar to viewpoints in the Assassin’s Creed series. After uncovering an area, you’ll be able to see all the tasks you can complete. These can easily be identified by question marks on your map, giving you an array of objectives to jump into. Having this large open sandbox with puzzles to complete in your own way is where many will draw the Breath of the Wild comparisons, but Goat Simulator 3 stands on its own four hoofs. 

As you progress through these objectives across the map, you’ll return to your castle to turn them in once you complete a certain amount. This increases the size of your castle and fills its halls with an assortment of collectibles cataloging your adventure. There are also a few surprises along the way, such as an elusive map room that leads you to even more secrets across San Angora. The loop of jumping out into the world to complete quests, then coming back to upgrade your castle is engaging from the get-go and never lets up, giving Goat Simulator 3 a sense of accomplishment its predecessor never had.

Welcome To The House Of Fun

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Of course, your main objective in Goat Simulator 3 is to cause chaos, and these puzzles scattered throughout the world allow you to do just that. One minute you’ll be impressing a talent show with your skills, the next you’ll be tackling down an old woman in a rocking chair determined to keep you off her property. The moment-to-moment gameplay never ceases to constantly keep switching things up, offering a whole world of surprises to uncover.

What makes these little objectives so engaging is the freedom it gives you to solve them. A perfect example is the previously mentioned talent show. You could spend your time flexing your skills and showcasing your moves, or you could just ram all the judges into oblivion and declare yourself the winner. The same can be said with the old lady, as you have the option to scale the house behind her before piledriving on her or engage in a full-frontal assault to bring her down. The sheer amount of creativity for the ludicrous situations is quite often staggering, offering experimentation and creativity to garner the best results.

Along with all the marked locations to visit, each area also plays host to numerous secret quests to find, ramps to jump off, and collectibles to find. The amount of content on display is staggering, giving you plenty to uncover in your 10-15 hour playtime, which can easily be doubled if you want to visit every nook and cranny on the map.

Your experience can be enhanced even further when this time around you’re allowed to bring up to three friends along for the ride, either in local or online multiplayer. Not only does it open up more opportunities for mayhem, but also an array of mini-games scattered across the world to jump in and compete against one another. You can play mini-golf, football, or even the floor is lava - each with its own unique spin.

This isn’t even taking into account what most players are here for - Goat Simulator 3’s insane physics engine. While most games that release with bugs and glitches are often frustrating, developer Coffee Stain Studios weaves them into the gameplay here, whilst also ensuring it remains a polished experience. You’ll see cars fly off into the sky, civilians clip into environments, and even your own body randomly get projected into space. In any other game, this would be frustrating, but everything here adds to the hilarity.

However, we did run into a few occasions when this hurt the experience. On one occasion a quest involving moles popping out of the ground failed to trigger until we reloaded Goat Simulator 3, and as we advanced further into the map, the game would occasionally lock up. They’re not dealbreakers but can often come in the way of you having as much fun as you possibly can. For the most part, Goat Simulator 3 runs flawlessly, at least on the PlayStation 5 at 60fps.

You’ve Goat Mail

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Progression in Goat Simulator 3 is not only tracked by building up your castle, but also through the sheer amount of cosmetic items you can obtain. A lot of these are simply cosmetic items to show off to your friends, such as a flower crown or some comical movie references. You can even change your goat entirely, with giraffes, sharks, and scarecrows available in the cosmetic store to change and play as.

However, there is also an array of useable ones that can help you explore the island of San Angora. That grandma in the rocking chair we referenced earlier? You can mount her on your stead and use her to fire projectiles at enemies. Other hilarious cosmetics include a mask that can be used to cause the sky to pour down with goats and even a set of celestial wings that allow you to fly across the map with ease. No two players’ goats will look the same, and the fact that you can incorporate some gameplay modifiers with them enables you to change up the experience as much as you want.

In order to purchase new cosmetic items, you’ll be going out of your way to complete numerous challenges such as Instincts. These begin as quick simple tasks, such as using an emote or performing a backflip, but quickly descend into some truly crazy stunts that demand you to see everything Goat Simulator 3 has to offer. You’ll later be asked to hit postmen with newspapers, force people into bouncy castles, or even explore a set amount of people. 

The GOAT

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Coffee Stain Studios has not only made an incredibly fun sequel, but also one of the most enjoyable games of the year. In a landscape dominated by third-person action-adventure titles and first-person shooters, it’s refreshing that Goat Simulator 3’s one goal is to be fun. It’s constantly one-upping its insanity from one hilarious moment to the next, offering players an open-world sandbox with an incredible amount of creativity to dive into. It feels reminiscent of a title you would find on the PlayStation 2, fuelled by creativity and constantly tantalizing the player to discover just how crazy the game can get.

While it’s by no means groundbreaking and has a few glitches scattered throughout, Goat Simulator 3 is a huge surprise that shows not everything has to be doom and gloom. In an increasingly dark world, it manages to shine a light on the positives in life and remind us that sometimes it’s okay to be silly. If you’re looking to anchor down with a cosy game this holiday season, Goat Simulator 3 could be the perfect choice for you.

9/10

Reviewed on PS5. Code provided by the publisher.

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