Review – Godfall
The next generation of consoles is finally here and like all console releases, we look for the games that really push the hardware to the limits. Games that show us what the next-generation will look like for years to come. May it be with fancy graphics or new gameplay that we’ve never seen before. Godfall promises to be that game, the worlds first “looter-slasher, melee action-RPG”. A bold claim, considering the Diablo franchise exists. Unfortunately, this is a game that lacks any originality and manages to disappoint on every single level.
To start with the good. Godfall is actually quite a great looking game on a technical level. Areas are vast and packed with detail, shiny reflective surfaces look stunning, and there’s just a sense of awe when entering a new area. Then you’ve got the particle effects that just fill the screen with stunning display.
However, whilst great on a technical level, it’s not really a game that pushes the boundaries and doesn’t look much better than games like Devil May Cry 5. I’m also not a big fan of the art style the game has on display here. Whilst there’s some amazing locations and character designs everything about the world looks a bit tacky with so much shine it can become an eyesore.
Unfortunately, beyond the visuals everything just starts falling apart for Godfall. To start with the story, it’s practically non-existent. You play as Orin, one of the last Valorian knights in the world of Aperion. Your brother Marcos has betrayed you to perform a ritual that will ascend him to godhood and wreak havoc onto the world, and you are the only one able to stop him. I think.
This is a really common trend in this genre of games and Godfall manages to do it the worst. Not a lot of reason to care about the goings on in the world. It distinctly reminds me of the base game of Destiny where nothing really happened in-game, but at least that game had strong world building. Godfall has nothing. I had to actually Google what the hell happened in the story because I forgot all about it just a couple of hours after starting it. The few NPCs that are in the game lack any charisma or motivation and are just kind of there spouting exposition.
Godfall has you progressing through three different realms; Earth, Air and Water. Each has their own open world zone and unique visual design. However, the objectives and gameplay remains the same throughout, with very little variety here. All you do is go here, kill this and then return back to the sanctuary. Talk to the two NPC’s in the game and go out on the next mission. This is pretty much the entire game and it never breaks away from this formula.
What’s even worse, is the time that you spent in these missions is so minimal you will be constantly transported back to sanctuary. Only to load straight back into the next mission because the hub has next to nothing to do in it except upgrade your equipment. At the very least loading times are very quick taking you from hub to world back to hub again in only a couple of seconds.
It’s a dull, repetitive progression that is made even worse by the fact that you are playing through the same objectives over and over again to get through the campaign. You will be running through the exact same zones and fighting the exact same bosses multiple times just to progress to get a number of resources. Once you finally get enough you can complete a zone’s final mission and that’s that. The enemies you will fight all look well designed but lack variety and don’t offer any meaningful challenge. After a couple of missions you will end up just running through them since the AI boundaries are small enough they won’t follow you far.
Along the way you will build up an arsenal of weapons that you will be constantly swapping out. It’s standard loot stuff with perks and numbers attached to the weapons and loot drops often enough you won’t need to grind out the campaign too much. You also have access to a dozen Valorplates, cool looking armours that look like they will serve an important function. Maybe different playstyles and abilities to go with them, the potential for build variety is endless with these. But nope, every single one that I tried felt pretty much exactly the same, save from a passive buff that I honestly didn’t notice. My advise is to pick the best looking one and stick with it.
A lot of this might have been forgiven if the core combat was great. I was really hoping it was. It heavily reminds me of Dark Souls meets God of War, and surely that’s hard to screw up? Well Godfall does so. Every aspect of Godfall’s combat just feels unfinished, unpolished, and unbalanced. Everything from the horrendous lock-on system, to enemy attacks, button queueing, boss fights, respawning, and general balancing just makes for an unsatisfying and boring gameplay experience.
You’ve got your basic array of light attacks, heavy attacks, block, parry etc. You’ll combine these together for some combos. It’s all pretty standard stuff that we’ve seen hundreds of times, but Godfall does some things to mix it up. The shield has so much utility with special attacks and the ability to throw it at enemies like Captain America’s shield. Unfortunately, the combat in Godfall is just plain bad, with so many better games out there with similar styles. I found the lock-on camera to be borderline useless most of the time.
Godfall does have some neat additions though like Shatterburst, as you start chaining light attacks together a bar builds up on the enemies health. So whenever you deal a heavy attack it does bonus damage. I’m a big fan of this addition since it adds something unique to an otherwise generic combat system with a bit of rhythm. Then you got the Polarity system which builds onto this nicely. You can have two weapons equipped at any time switching between the two. When one is not in use, it will gain charge as you deal more damage and when you re-equip it, it will deal AOE damage triggering any Shatterburst build up and buff the weapon.
You can also charge up your attacks for special moves that are unique to each weapon class. The problem with this is with how the game handles its input queue. It’s easy enough to chain together attacks, but as soon as you want to block, parry, or do a special attack you have to wait for the animations to end then hold the button. This applies to every single weapon and animation in the game. Want to go straight into a block after performing an attack? Well you better wait for the animation to end before holding that block button otherwise Orin will stand there like a lemon. It makes Godfall just awkward to play.
Then we’ve got the boss fights and they are shockingly bad, with none that could ever match-up with similar games. Considering the games core loop focuses on replaying a lot of these bosses, it’s really disappointing that they are no standouts. Most of the bosses feel cheaply designed with AOE attacks a plenty even going as far as spawning in adds or some other annoying gimmick to force a challenge. All of this makes Godfall an incredibly unbalanced, being able to breeze through some sections whilst some bosses only use cheap tricks.
To make matters worse this game doesn’t encourage “getting good”. Death is meaningless as you will respawn five feet away with the same amount of progression. Even the boss fights actually have checkpoints in them. Imagine how much of the souls-like experience would be lost if you could chip away at Artorias’ health bar over multiple lives. Hard mode does provide a slightly more enticing challenge with limited revives and enemies dealing more damage, but this just makes the combat go on for longer. There’s generally no real reason to pick a higher difficulty unless you are aching for more Godfall.
As for the rest of this game has to offer. Godfall is a co-operative game, but unfortunately nobody I know has bought the game and even worse, there is no matchmaking so I haven’t been able to play it. If you have no friends to play it with then you’ve got no choice but to go to an external site and hope that somebody is playing. Then you’ve got the endgame experience which won’t even last you ten minutes, doing the same content you’ve been doing repeatedly anyway. As a looter game, this has got to be the worst offering that I’ve ever seen.
Godfall is this generation’s very own Ryse: Son of Rome. Beyond the beautiful graphics is a game that has no depth whatsover. The story is paper thin, the combat is way too clunky and unreliable to provide any long lasting entertainment. Godfall couldn’t be anymore more of a disappointing start to the next-generation with every single aspect feeling dated.
At first you’ll be wowed by the bright, flashy graphics. However, before too long it loses its initial sense of wonder thanks to over-the-top light blooming effects and a strong shiny sheen over everything.
As an action game, Godfall falls way behind the competition. As a looter, Godfall isn’t even worth considering. About the only thing satisfying from the combat is the way the hits feel with the DualSense controller.
Nothing about the sound design will stick with you, but none of it is particularly bad.
Nothing about Godfall is fun. The story is less than paper thin and the core combat experience is a mess.
Final Verdict: 5.5
Godfall is available now on PC and PS5.
Reviewed on PS5.
A copy of Godfall was provided by the publisher.