Making Godfall a launch title was an interesting choice. Given the amount of replay value a loot-based game has, it suggests plenty to do, with visuals that hint at bigger things to come. Striking designs and lush worlds are, in a lot of ways, exactly what people expect and want out of this generation, giving it so much to be excited for. But, with limited information and a wide variety of unknowns, is Godfall the launch title everyone needs, or would it have done better with some more polish?
Godfall is almost surprising in how basic and linear the story is. Essentially, you are betrayed by your brother who wants to ascend to godhood and you need to put a stop to him. Very little is expressed in dialogue, about on par with early Destiny if I’m being honest, giving everything a sense of vague purpose. Normally this would be enough to justify the experience, though, it really isn’t.
For all the problems resulting from your fight with Macros, none of the foes have much of a presence. I wouldn’t say I ever really felt the need to stop Macros, because he exists largely as a narrative construct. Unless you take the time to read lore or do a deep dive into the world’s history, Macros is nothing more than a guy you’re repeatedly told is bad and nothing more. Similar things can be said about each boss. Fancy names, cool designs, and unique powers make for better fights, yet they’re really only powerful because Godfall needs bosses for you to defeat. This vague sense of purpose is kind of an underline problem for a wide variety of things too.
One of the first and most unique concepts in Godfall is valorplates. These are armor sets that give characters a cool look and are supposed to offer unique benefits depending on playstyle. In the grand scheme, the differences are small, largely centered on the special move that can occasionally be used. For many, they exist more like costumes, a fact that is rather unfortunate, to say the least. Upon figuring out which look you’re going to go after, it’s time to fight things.
There really isn’t much to combat in Godfall once you get a sense of things. There are a handful of weapons, each of which has two attack types, along with a shield throw and a couple of special attacks. Even if things are conceptually simple, there are rewards for playing smart. Shield throws can be used for an easy takedown, many unique attacks allow for more tactical large damage plays, with even certain weapons being better or worse for taking down specific enemies. It’s actually pretty satisfying, even if you go into every battle going, this guy I need to parry, that creature can be killed if I toss my shield at them, the healer needs to get rushed, and so forth.
That being said, loot can be somewhat disappointing in Godfall. Similar to Destiny, there is a point where lower quality drops are just pointless. Each increase in rarity not only provides a stat increase, there are more perks to said piece of gear. As a result, it’s actually very difficult to replace any singular piece of legendary (top rarity) gear. Most times I just scrap anything below mid-tier and often times it was still better to level the legendary piece and stick with it for 10 or 20 levels over the deal with anything new. This makes progression pretty underwhelming. Why collect endless pieces of loot if most of it is worthless? It’s a question gamers have posed for both Destiny and Borderlands, neither of which provide a better answer than Godfall, though you probably see a few more drops in either of the aforementioned titles.
My biggest struggle was less what to level and more find the items I want. I’ve always preferred more fast-paced combat, so I tend to gravitate to swift weapons. Godfall offers a longsword for those who want to use a single-handed sword or a two-handed version known simply as dual blades. Even if I find the distribution is seemingly even, I only got one good dual sword option and two good longswords. I was forced to change, not because I wanted to, I just simply never got the option. This is a downside to really random loot games and can make progression less than enjoyable if your own viable weapon is a greatsword or hammers.
All of these things leave Godfall with a rather rough impression. Combat can be great, but stats greatly favor rarity and that can directly negatively impact your experience if they’re less than ideal. Fighting is satisfying, yet tactics are set in stone. Regardless of weapons, it’s faster to kill a shielded enemy by tossing a shield at them and finishing and that can make things feel hollow. Bosses change things up, though with enough power they can also be pretty easy and enemies can lose their bite, especially on lower difficulties. But, still, there are positives to this experience.
Surprisingly enough, Godfall reminds me of the ever-popular PlayStation 4 launch title, Knack. While nowhere near as bad, both did a lot to really show what “next-generation” could be. Slashing enemies and defeating powerful foes was brought to another level with DualSense. The adaptive triggers added some resistance and even after playing for an hour, I realized that this controller could lead to some cool things. Level designs, while confusing, loaded extremely fast and looked visually impressive. There is nothing about Godfall that looks particularly lazy, visually it’s top-notch for a launch title and the performance stood out. I could rush across a stage and never really hit a loading screen or slow down and that makes me hopeful of things to come.
Godfall Review – Verdict
Truth be told, Godfall is a hard experience to review. You have a serviceable story, impressive graphics for a launch title, satisfying combat centered around an underwhelming loot system, RPG mechanics, and diversity. I will honestly say I did not get the experience I was expecting, something like Destiny centered around swords, but it was still good. There are certainly great things to be said about everything here, you should just go in expecting more of a hack and slash game than one centered around loot.
[Editor’s Note: Godfall was reviewed on PlayStation 5 and a review copy was provided to us by the publisher.]