Godfall Review (PS5) £69.99
Game title: Godfall
Game description: Godfall is a brand-new, next-gen looter-slasher, set in a bright fantasy universe filled with heroic knights and arcane magic. Embark on adventure in a fantasy action RPG that utilizes high-impact third-person melee combat to engage players as they hunt for loot, don legendary armor sets and defeat vicious enemies. Face challenging missions that reward you with head-turning loot as you vanquish the armies that stand against you.
Author: Sam Harrison
Godfall has the distinction of being the first ever PlayStation 5 game to be officially announced. The game tells the story of two warring brothers named Orin and Macros, you play as Orin who seems to be a sort of spirit or soul that can inhabit different armours called Valorplates. You fight your way across three distinct and large zones to eventually take on your brother to stop him from completing a ritual to become a god or something. Like the rest of the game, the story of Godfall is a real swing and a miss. But Godfall’s developers are calling it the very first looter slasher, so does the story matter if the loot is good?
Well, the loot isn’t very good either.
If you’re here looking for an enthusiastic and mean-spirited takedown of something that a lot of people very likely spent a lot of time on for several years, then I hate to tell you that this ain’t it. The biggest thing I took away from Godfall was honestly frustration, because with a few small tweaks and a little more time in the over this game could have been a great launch title for the PS5.
Godfall is trying to slot in between a casual button mashing slasher game and something more deliberate and slower paced like Monster Hunter, the developer even cited Monster Hunter as an influence in interviews. In combat you have two weapons and a shield, attacking with one weapon allows you to build up a big area of effect attack on the other and unleash it when you switch weapons. You can throw your shield like Captain America and dive at enemies with it to stun them. The combat is a little faster than Monster Hunter and for the first few hours with the game as I made my way through the first area I actually really liked it.
But unfortunately the combat in Godfall has a big problem, one so big I honestly thought my controller was broken or the battery was dying. Godfall doesn’t allow you to press a button while an action is completing, and for that action to take place when the animation for the previous action is complete. You have to know where the animation finishes and then trigger the new action. For example, you’re swinging a big and heavy greatsword, which takes a second or two to run through the animation for. You see an enemy winding up an attack and hold L1 to bring up your shield. Orin will complete his sword swing and then just stand there and get hit.
It’s definitely a deliberate choice on the part of the combat designer, but it made the combat feel completely broken and took a lot of the enjoyment out of it. Once I noticed it I never looked at the game the same way again. I assumed every death and every failure were due to this mechanic.
Speaking of death and failure Godfall also makes the interesting choice to preserve the damage done to enemies when you die in most cases. This allowed me to brute force my way through the entire game extremely under-levelled with only a couple of short pauses for bosses that took a few tries. The bosses do have regenerating health, but their health bars are split into segments and they only refill the current segment when you die. The first boss in the game took me a few tries, maybe 10 in all, but all the others less than 3.
One non-boss enemy in the game took me maybe 3 hours to beat and was more difficult to land hits on than any other enemy in the game including the final boss because it was the only enemy in the game I fought that regenerated its health bar. It was especially egregious because often the damage over time effects would continue to apply to me after reviving at a checkpoint. It was so busted that it felt like a bug, so I don’t know yet if Counterplay Games is going to fix it.
The overall enemy design and AI is pretty good, they telegraph moves well to enable you to get off a parry in a lot of cases (as long as you aren’t attacking) and the different enemies do have different styles of combat. There’s enough variety in each zone that you don’t get bored and the bosses are all pretty cool looking.
It’s the looks front where Godfall really and truly shines. Literally, the whole thing is glowing and reflecting and throwing clouds of glowing particle effects at you all the time. It’s obviously a matter of taste if you like the particular style or not but I really did, and technically I think the game is just a real feat of engineering. Obviously compared to other PS5 games like Miles Morales it’s trying to do a lot less in a smaller area, but I still found it constantly impressive.
Performance and presentation was good in both graphics modes, though I preferred the 30fps 4K resolution mode personally as I feel like if you’re not throwing on all the bells and whistles why even buy a PS5. Godfall is absolutely a game you show to friends to show off how powerful your PS5 is. I did have a very small number of 1-2 second freezes, but they didn’t really impact gameplay and were often when I had possibly taken on too many enemies at once in a graphically complex zone. It never came up fighting bosses.
I did have one final technical issue – when fighting the last boss Macros I was killed by a damage over time effect at the exact same time he died. This glitched the final cutscene into playing at the same time as the bossfight started over, and completing the mission didn’t cause the trophy for beating the game to pop which was annoying. The story progressed into the post-game but I was annoyed as I actually was unable to watch the final cutscene. Disappointing to see this in a AAA game, but I haven’t seen any other mentions of this online so I assume it was a specific and hard to trigger bug which I wouldn’t mark the game down for.
The one final thing I would mark the game down for is the gameplay loop. When you’ve done the story missions in the first area, the Earth zone, you then have to go around and do other non-story missions to collect 10 Earth tokens to unlock the boss and progress. I thought this was fine and the mini-bosses I fought were interesting enough, and I could even get all 10 without repeating content. But my feelings on this turned when I got to the Water zone and needed 10 Water tokens and 10 Earth tokens, or the Air zone where I needed 10 Earth tokens, 10 Water tokens and 10 Air tokens. This force replaying of old content from previous zones felt like busywork, and I wish they had just front loaded these activities in the zones as part of the campaign.
The token value for missions also seemed to me to be really off – a mission that takes me 30-45 minutes with multiple objectives and a difficult boss might net me 6 of my 10 tokens, but so will replaying the 2 token mission that takes 5 minutes if I play it 3 times. It was during the token collecting in the Water zone that I realised that I was trying to work out the way I could play as little as possible of the game and still progress, which I feel is fairly damning.
Finally, while this is a loot game the loot itself isn’t particularly well implemented. After a few hours I realised the combination of weapons I liked, got a legendary version of each and maxed out their levels and then didn’t find anything better until right before the final boss. Again this is another missed opportunity as the design
s of the weapons are awesome, but unlike something like Destiny 2 where all the weapon types feel great to use and have different use cases in Godfall most of them feel pretty bad to use. The upgrade system for weapons is great on one hand, because if you like the design of a weapon and how it feels you can keep it for most of the game. But on the other hand the encouragement to push through and try to love other weapons just isn’t there.
The biggest feelings I had playing Godfall were frustration and disappointment by the end of the story. The game looks fantastic and has some really great design, music and even half decent voice acting. But the story is fairly poorly told to you through conversations with two NPCs that stand on opposite sides of a room that you have to jog back and forth between before starting missions. The combat made me feel like my controller battery was dying, the gameplay loop needs work and the loot is just not that interesting.
The frustration I felt playing this game was mostly at the disappointment for what it could have been. Which, honestly, is a real shame as there’s a lot of promise here. I can’t recommend that anyone buy Godfall in its current state, but I do sincerely hope they work on this game and maybe fix some of these issues before they launch the DLC next year.
- Incredible visuals
- Great character and enemy designs
- Cool combat ideas
- Uninteresting loot
- No action queueing in combat makes the game feel bad
- Weak gameplay loop
- Not great at conveying the story
Disclosure: Gaming Fyx received a code for the purposes of this review from Gearbox PR.