I so hoped that Godfall was going to be good. However, the warning signs were there right from the start. Counterplay Games withheld so much information regarding the gameplay and how this so-called “first of its kind looter-slasher” worked. Every new gameplay video was 30 seconds of flash and not once did they take the time to do a deep dive into the game’s mechanics. Usually, when a developer is too scared to showcase gameplay, there’s a reason why. This time its because Godfall is just dull and uninspired. Its gameplay never tries anything new, the environments, while gorgeous running on the PS5, hold no secrets to uncover and its plot goes nowhere. Even the soundtrack is boring as the same one song repeats itself over and over again throughout the game. Godfall is not a game that warrants the insane price tag it is asking and I don’t think it will ever be.
What Counterplay Games tried to create with Godfall was to merge a looter RPG with a hack and slash game. It was an ambitious task of which other large developers would most likely run away from. The looter genre is tough to master and that is why we only have a selection of these on the market. To make a looter game great you need to nail down the loot, and it needs to keep drawing you into the gameplay even after hundreds of hours of doing the same thing. The only thing Counterplay Games got right here is the combat which feels great, if not clumsy at times. However, everything else in Godfall is a complete trainwreck.
Godfall follows the story of Orin who is a Valorian knight in a fantasy world called Aperion. At the start of the game, I was welcomed to a cinematic that revealed an ongoing feud between Orin and his brother. This feud seems to have been going on for a while now and Orin gets banished to the lowest realm and his brother hires some cool-looking henchmen to protect each realm. Your goal is to fight through each realm and take down the bad guy in charge by doing mindless missions that have no real context. I ran around bashing enemies into the air, threw my shield to break a seal and repeated the same thing in other areas.
Some looter games have never had the best narrative in gaming but Godfall is simply atrocious. After three missions, I completely phased out and could not care less about my goal and why I was doing it. I simply followed the objective and performed the tasks that popped up on the side of my screen. It also does not help that the handful of characters I met along the way never made any sort of an impact on the story to the point where I cared about them. Sure, they are all pretty stylish with each boss looking like something straight out of Final Fantasy but the dialogue and voice acting is just bland.
Thankfully, you don’t need to care about Godfall’s story in any way in order to enjoy the only thing that makes the game somewhat fun – the combat. Godfall is a hack and slash so it relies on chaining together massive attacks using a range of different weapons you loot throughout the game. This revolves around hitting light and heavy attacks while charging abilities and filling up an enemy’s Soulshatter bar. This bar can instantly kill an enemy when maxed out by performing a heavy attack represented by a red glow. In a way, Godfall relies on this to carry its combat. Weaker enemies can be killed quite fast without the reliance on the bar but tougher ones make the battle a constant juggle between the bar and timing the perfect block.
The weapon variety in Godfall is also half-decent and each type creates a unique fighting style that I easily got the hang of. My favourite was no doubt a two-handed hammer as the powerful swings and smashes felt so good to perform. The combos take longer to pull off but the end result is worth it. It also meant that I had to adapt to these longer attack sequences and change my dodging and blocking approach. You can also equip two weapons so I juggled between a hammer and spear which was great to toss at enemies in the distance. It is also a lot faster and allowed me to pull off a powerful burst attack when I switched to the second weapon when the bar was maxed out.
The combat evolves more later on in the game as enemy weak spots reveal what weapon I should use against them and chaining combos together along with shield bashes and abilities felt great. I enjoyed how the combat in Godfall was not just about the flair but also about balancing weapons and combining everything at my disposal to defeat the toughest of enemies. Not only does it look great as enemies pop into a flurry of dust particles but it felt good too. There’s also a decent amount of variety to choose from and I was able to build a fighting style I could master and evolve into as the game progressed.
The game’s skill tree may seem daunting but it is quite easy to get around. Skill points are earned by levelling up and completing missions. The tree can also be reset at any time which allows for more freedom to experiment with builds. I just wish I could refund one point instead of resetting them all at once. This makes it is a chore to re-spec characters.
Loot is a big part of Godfall and while it starts out fun and addictive, it gets boring very quickly. The game throws so many weapons at you that it is often overwhelming to sort through everything and salvage useless items for materials. It also does not help that ninety per cent of the items are useless and after a while, opening a chest loses its excitement. I also had to sit and dismantle everything and it is tiresome. The UI in Godfall is slow and cumbersome. For example, equipping an item in a slot on my character meant the placeholder always shifted back to the top of the page. I had to scroll down the menu over and over again for each piece.
I also had to sort the massive useless list of items depending on the level so I knew what was good and what I could chuck away. Every tab resets this filter so I yet again had to sit and click the filter button to sort my life out. If you are going to do looter slasher then do it properly. That is all I am saying.
Counterplay Games spent a lot of time hyping up the Godfall Valorplates. These armour skins looked excellent and I thought that each one would offer a completely new play style from the other. The developer released dozens of trailers and but yet again, no real detail into how they work. This is because they are pointless. These plates have minor changes across each of them with very little reason to spend recourses in order to unlock each one. I was taken back by how bad this “selling feature” was in Godfall and what a massive missed opportunity it was. Not only can you not customize these sets at all when it comes to their look, but they offer so little to enjoy that you may as well just play through the game with the starter Valorplate.
I spent a lot of time running around in Godfall and other than the combat, the game is just no fun at all. Even the missions are repetitive. I returned back to the same area three times to fight the same boss to rack up ruins so I could unlock the next area. You basically have to grind the same missions over and over again in order to see what the new story quest is about. Gaming is supposed to be fun, right?
Then there’s the multiplayer. Godfall requires an internet connection in order to launch into the game. However, there’s no matchmaking at all and no way to join another random player or even see them running around. It felt like I was playing this secretive (dull) game all alone while other players did the same thing. Sure, you can play with friends but this is a PS5 launch game. My friend’s list was not packed full of people that just splurged on a PS5 console and an overpriced game such as Godfall.
I don’t know what to say about Godfall other than don’t buy it yet. It looks superb, don’t get me wrong. However, R1,400 for a PS5 benchmark game is not worth it at all. The combat is fun, but after doing it for two weeks, it will be hard to find excitement here. I don’t know what Counterplay Games plans on doing to fix it or if they are just going to throw this failed attempt at a “first of its kind” game into the bin.
This Godfall review as based on a code sent to us by Sony
Available On: PS5, Epic Games Store | Reviewed On: PS5 | Release Date: 12 November 2020 | Price: R1640 (DE)