Developed by Counterplay Games and published by Gearbox, Godfall has the distinction of being the first game announced to release on the PlayStation 5. With this distinction as well as that of being a console launch exclusive, Godfall did garner a significant amount of attention. While some of the games and series that the title drew comparisons to set the bar quite high, Godfall ultimately became a thing of its own while falling into pitfalls that similar games have experienced.
On the surface, the story of Godfall is relatively shallow. You play as Orin, one of the last of the Knight’s Order looking to stop their brother Macros from bringing the world towards its end. The narrative itself is pretty plain, and the delivery throughout the game is somewhat lackluster. However, the lore behind the world feels so deep that the narrative put forth through the game does not do it justice. While the average player might experience a typical story found in an “ongoing game”, there is a lot of lore hidden behind the menu if you want to look for it.
Self-described as a looter-slasher, melee action-RPG, Godfall lives up to its self identity pretty well. At its core, Godfall allows players to select a story mission, hunt mission, boss fight, or unique moment in which players navigate through an open area to complete their objectives. While the level isn’t an open-world, there is a level structure that involves navigation similar to the Monster Hunter games. Enroute to the mission objectives, players will encounter enemies, collectible materials, chests, and hidden challenges. When the primary mission objectives are complete, players are free to explore the map more or simply end the mission.
There are many systems at play in Godfall, so we’ll start with the looting side of things. Players have access to five weapon types: longswords, greatswords, dual blades, polearms, and warhammers. Besides the weapons, there are a number of accessory slots that allow for different builds. The equipment that you earn range in rarity, and you will continuously earn better gear until you reach a certain point. Lastly, character builds will revolve around the valorplate you select. Valorplates are essentially classes that feature different passive and active abilities, both of which may affect your selection of weapons, accessories, and skills.
Loot can come from a few different sources, but your best bets are by beating bosses and elite enemies. At first, the options that you have in making your character “yours” may feel limited, but it opens up a lot as you continue on. Near the early-mid parts of the game, I found myself using the same weapons and equipment across valorplates, but later found myself tailoring loadouts to the different armors.
The combat of the game is similar to its narrative that it appears simple on the surface, but can be quite deep. Players are provided with a moveset similar to games like the Souls series or the Monster Hunter series. There are separate attack buttons, dodge, block, parry, and special moves. Typically, you will be facing a group of enemies in normal encounters, so awareness, spacing, and prioritizing all come into play. Besides the combat on the surface level, there are other systems at play including deathblows, weakpoints, breach damage, polarity, takedowns, and soulshatter, among others. It may seem a lot, and we won’t get into them here, but they are introduced effectively in the game to allow you to understand them.
Once you get the hang of combat, the many systems at play work together to create a pretty smooth combat experience. Whether it is targeting a healing enemy first, or building up and activating soul shatter on another enemy, the combat is pretty fun. Likewise, with five weapon types in play, each of them have their own strengths and weaknesses, and being able to carry two weapons into combat allows for you to offset these weaknesses. However, the game only has five weapons, which isn’t a lot. Though players will still be able to play how they like, you don’t really feel like there is a lack of weapon choices until midway through the game. When combined with the lack of weapon choices, the game does get somewhat repetitive after a while.
While the combat as a whole was solid, Godfall’s many bugs hampered the overall experience for me. Whether it was a complete crash of the game, objectives not popping, stuttering, or visual effects not loading properly, it felt like I was always about to experience an error. As a game that isn’t meant to be finished after just one playthrough, especially with an expansion on the way, Godfall does have the opportunity to polish itself up to where it should be.
You Are So Beautiful To Me
As a “next-generation” (and PC) only title, Godfall impresses with its visuals. Simply put, it is a very pretty game. While there are definitely a lot of particles flying about, I personally didn’t find this to be an issue. Technically, I found the graphics to be very good and the game could easily be a showcase for what the next generation can be capable of. Where the aesthetics shine though are the environments and design. The game’s high fantasy setting is brought to life by both its environmental design, as well as that of the characters and enemies. Furthermore, enemies are designed in such a way that it is easy to determine which enemy is which upon sight, allowing players to prioritize targets almost instantly.
While the gameplay and the graphics are easy highlights of the game, Godfall’s audio is about what you would expect from the game. The soundtrack fits well and the sound effects are what you would expect, though the sound effects for weapons cutting through the air are pretty cool. The portion of audio that stood out for me was the voice acting. The voice acting as a whole was pretty good, though Orin sounding a bit like Optimus Prime to me was a bit distracting.
While Godfall’s technical components of gameplay and graphics were solid, the game overall is just fine. As mentioned, the narrative as told throughout is relatively shallow, and despite a fun combat system, it does get repetitive. Finally, the recurrence of a number of bugs hampered my personal experience, and these do not appear to be an isolated case. While I quite enjoyed Godfall at the outset, it began to wane on me over time, and what might have been a decent launch title may not seem like it years from now.
*** A PS5 code was provided by the publisher ***
- Fun combat
- Visually impressive
- Shallow story