Platforms: PS5, PC
_Godfall___ does not give a good first impression. Whether it’s the lumbering, slow protagonist Orin, his exceedingly basic and clunky combat style, or the almost offensively simplistic, linear layout of corridors you’ll be guiding him through, this initially feels like a game that is mechanically indistinguishable from a PS2 effort. If not for the admittedly beautiful visuals,_Godfall_could be a relic from another age.
Thankfully, past the dreary intro mission, Godfall opens up, figuratively and literally. Mission areas broaden beyond the inescapable corridors, and locations can be returned to after story missions to explore for hidden resources or just to level grind by taking on new enemies. Mechanically, you’ll also be able to rapidly start customising Orin’s loadout with different weapon types to cater to your preferred play style. We settled on dual blades, offering a decent amount of damage while gaining a speed bonus compared to swords – and far faster than powerful but painfully slow war hammers – which made combat more enjoyable, while armour buffs in the form of rings, amulets, and charms, allowed modification of core attributes.
As you begin to level up, you also start to unlock more interesting martial skills. Basic combat feels a little Dark Souls-esque, with attacks hammered out on the shoulder buttons, but throw a few skill points into your character build and you’ll have access to slick counters, area attacks, and more powerful moves. Godfall also throws in a few unique approaches – polarity attacks and Soulshatter. The former sees you swapping between two equipped weapons, with attacks using one charge the other, and switching regularly allows you to deliver far more damage. Soulshatter, meanwhile, essentially banks damage done to enemies with light attacks, and then deliver it all in one go with a heavy hit. Timing can be tricky, but when it connects, it’s devastating.
This initially feels like a game that is mechanically indistinguishable from a PS2 effort.
The most potent area of customisation in Godfall is its Valorplates – 12 unlockable suits of armour, each with distinct powers and abilities. Some better inflict status ailments such as Bleed or Ignite on enemies, others bolster physical attributes. Each can be slotted with the aforementioned weapons, rings, charms, and amulets, allowing you to create a hall of specialised armours to make Tony Stark green with envy.
However, despite all this, Orin never seems to become as fluid a fighter as we’d like. Combo attacks never quite flow as they should – there always seems to be a frustrating window between dodging an enemy and being able to zip in with your own counter attacks, for instance – and switching between targeted enemies is sluggish, making crowd control frustrating.
This is compounded by the game giving the player little reason to actually care. There’s clearly some deep background mythology going on that developers Counterplay Games have come up with, but most of what passes for Godfall‘s story is delivered in expository cutscenes in your hub world, or found in scattered lore tablets. It positions itself as a mythic battle between brothers, with Orin having been cast low by his maniacal brother Macros who seeks true godhood, but gives you no real reason to care. Missions building up to the final confrontation between the brothers are, almost invariably, “follow this marker and kill this boss”, making progression feel rote and repetitive.
Godfall presents a truly gorgeous world and some brilliant design sensibilities – aesthetically, if not necessarily mechanically – but beyond the visual spectacle, there’s not a whole lot of substance. As Godfall is essentially a loot-driven hack-n-slash action RPG – think somewhere between Borderlands and Destiny, but with ridiculous melee weapons instead of ridiculous guns – the impetus is meant to be on revisiting areas to acquire more and better items, and draw you deeper into its world. The problem is, there’s only just enough here to keep your attention for one playthrough, making Godfall a minor deity at best.