Review: Godfall is better than you think it is, but not as good as it should be

My feelings around Godfall are somewhat complicated. As a launch title for the PlayStation 5, and available on PC via the Epic Games Store, Counterplay Games promised us a looter-slasher, and this is exactly what we got. You slash things, and they drop loot, and then you move on and slash more things that can, potentially, drop more loot. 

In many ways, I am reminded of a bigger-budget Victor Vran, and this is a good thing. While Godfall is a third-person action game, it is also a loot-based RPG, akin to Diablo. If you enjoy smacking the hell out of bad guys, third-person sword fights with a heavy emphasis on positioning and timing, and a slow crawl in power fueled by a seemingly never-ending parade of loot, then it might just be for you. 

A victim of the spotlight

If anything, playing through Godfall makes me think that it has been, perhaps, a victim of its release date, and the weight of being a launch title for one of the new, super-powered consoles that have just kicked off the next generation of gaming. It’s not easy to be expected to showcase the power and strength of a new system, all while going toe-to-toe with a Demon’s Souls remake, a new Destiny 2 expansion, and the latest installment of Ubisoft’s uber-successful Assassin’s Creed series. 

You would need to be something really special to stand out in a field of established timesink titans like that, and while I will happily go to bat for Godfall and say that it is a good game, it’s not special — at least, not in that way that crawls under your skin and wakes you up early in the morning with a desire to play it. 

The funny thing is, Godfall actually does showcase exactly what the new consoles should be about. It looks stunning, all shiny metals, sharp edges, and exploding particle effects. It is fast and sleek, and the bones of a very solid experience are here, but what is lacking is the flesh. 

Slash, Parry, Dodge

Image via Counterplay Games

Combat is where Godfall really shines. Embracing a system of positional rock, paper, scissors, you need to do the right thing at the right time or get out of Dodge. It’s a simple system that many games have explored, so is hardly revolutionary, but it is done well.

The real depth comes from how combat intersects with character builds. Items, weapons, and skills all provide buffs that give your character certain strengths in very specific areas. Maybe you want to build up a massive reservoir of damage on an enemy, popping it in one burst and instantly nuking them. Maybe you are slick with a parry and want to be able to follow it up with a crushing attack. There is enough variety in the types of attacks, strengths of enemies, and build varieties to make Godfall a very interesting combat experience. 

It is also sharp and responsive, forcing you to adapt on the fly and deal with individual enemies while also keeping the rest of the horde in your mind. Fighting feels chunky; when you take or give a hit you know it happened, and pulling off multiple, different, perfectly-timed techniques feels lovely. So, if Godfall has a weakness, it’s not here. 

Loot, glorious loot

Godfall brings plenty of loot to the table, which is an important step up from the failure of similar looter games. It feels weird to need to say it, but plenty of games that have been reliant on chasing ever-higher numbers have managed to launch with a limited loot pool. Godfall adds interest in the form of Valorplates. At the start of the game, they line the walls of the Sanctum, mocking you with their sleek lines and inspired designs. You want them all, and you need to chase down the resources to build them. This will require you to fully explore the world, gather resources, and bring them all back to Sanctum, your main base of operations. 

While doing so, you will fight all manner of monsters and get plenty of loot. It comes in a variety of rarities, offering bonuses and stats that will make you more powerful. You can upgrade it, enchant it to increase the rarity level, or salvage it to get more resources. It’s a competent loop, and if you like watching numbers go up, the game is perfectly attuned to meet that desire. 

There is also a fun intersection between combat and loot, as five different archetypes of weapons can drop, and be changed on the fly, altering your fighting style. Getting an Epic hammer to drop might just tempt you to give up that longsword you have been using for a while. This keeps the game fresh, and you might find new fighting styles that you enjoy and want to explore. 

The content question

The biggest issue that Godfall has right now is content. It’s a premium-priced launch title that just doesn’t feel like it has the content to justify the price. There is a lot of style, loot, and combat options, but precious little variety in where you use them, or why. The campaign will clock in between 10 and12 hours depending on difficulty level and player skill, and after that, the endgame will last as long as you feel challenged by the need to watch those numbers climb. 

The Tower, a seemingly endless climb up a monolith filled with enemies, is fun but samey. Boss fights and monster hunts are repeated with little variety in mechanics, and the game just seems to run out of steam. In this way, Godfall suffers greatly as a value prospect when set against the games it shared a launch window with. Even Destiny 2, despite removing massive chunks of content, offers more. 

The verdict

While I don’t wish to besmirch my peers, it feels like Godfall didn’t quite get a fair shake in reviews. It has avoided many of the more egregious sins that similar games have committed, but it’s certainly guilty of one particularly heinous crime. It is simply too light on content, even for someone like me who enjoys it considerably. Whether you consider it fair or not, games like this are judged on how long they maintain your interest while dumping uncomfortable amounts of time into them. 

While I understand some people might find the game boring and the story shallow, if you are the kind of person who just enjoys mechanics and solid combat, then this is a fun option. With time, Counterplay Games has the basis of a very fun and engaging experience here. It just needs more things to do, and a greater sense of variety in how you get loot, to really shine.

Final score:

7 / 10

+Combat is smooth, tactical, and fun.
+Plenty of loot to keep the numbers going up.
+Visually, the game looks striking, and the various Valorplates all have real personality in their designs.
The game is light on content and would have benefited from a deeper endgame loop.
The story doesn’t really matter at all. While it’s not essential for this type of looter game to shine here, it can’t be understated how little impact it has.
Disclosure: Arcadetemple was provided with a game code for review purposes.

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