Counterplay Games took inspiration for Godfall from Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archives fantasy series, allowing players to don ludicrously powerful and ornate armor and smash enemies with massive weapons imbued with divine power. While the look and feel is spot on, what the developers missed is the story and characters that make those books so popular. As a result, the PS5 and Epic Game Store exclusive might mesmerize with its visuals but it lacks lasting power.
Bottom line: Godfall is a gorgeous game with highly enjoyable combat that works great for a casual night of co-op monster hunting. Just don't expect to get much from the story.
- Beautiful fantasy world
- Skills can be easily changed, favoring experimentation
- Mutliplayer is seemless
- Barely any characters or story
- Valorplates lack much mechanical distinction
For the purposes of this review, we received a PC code from Gearbox Publishing. The game is also available on the PS5.
What I liked about Godfall
Godfall is a spectacularly beautiful game, with huge maps you're encouraged to explore while smashing, looting, and killing everything you spot. You'll navigate through elementally aligned realms filled with glittering piles of seemingly worthless gold coins, bioluminscent coral, and trees with blood red leaves fighting rival warriors and strange monsters who explode in endorphine-releasing rainbows of loot.
|Players||Single-Player, Online Multiplayer|
|Platforms||Epic Games Store, PlayStation 5|
You'll have access to a wide set of skills that provide a mix of new abilities, like sliding out of the way when you evade an attack, and just passive stat boosts. These can be changed freely, letting you change up your tactics on a whim or to suit specific fights. The system also plays well with the loot, which offers secondary traits that improve various powers based on the item's rarity. The result is that you'll want to keep an assortment of weapons and accessories around rather than just saving whatever has the highest item level or raw DPS.
Godfall feals like a casual version of a Soulborne game.
Combat is highly dynamic, with a wide variety of novel enemy tactics. Some enemies have the power to provide a buff to their allies, making them immune to attacks until you kill their guardian. Sorcerers will run off and blast you from a distance while you tangle with melee forces. One particularly fun critter, a hermit crab with a treasure chest for a shell, will phase out when its health gets too low and makes you chase it down while using the spirit vision used to find hidden objects of power.
Godfall feels like a casual version of a Soulsborne game, with its intense boss fights that emphasize balancing light and heavy attacks to shatter defenses, capitalizing on weakpoints, parrying to gain a momentary advantage, and dodging when an unblockable assault is incoming. The key difference is that you don't really need to master these fights unless you're playing on hard mode since you have infinite respawns right outside the battle and you'll even jump right in where you died, with the boss at reduced health or enemy minions dispatched.
Multiplayer is seamless, giving it the feel of a Monster Hunter game with Warframe's aesthetic. You can team up with up to two players and everyone will get individual loot and access to all gatherable resources. While your partner can't come along for story missions they haven't unlocked yet, there are plenty of hunts where you can take down a boss, with bonus objectives for completing it in a set time or using a series of special attacks. It would be helpful if that latter objective was known before you committed to the mission as some sets of Valorplates (the sets of armor) are better for certain moves like setting enemies on fire or Soulshattering — gorgeous heavy attacks that make your enemy explode into shiny mist if used for a killing blow.
What I didn't like about Godfall
While Godfall absolutely shines on the surface, there's not much depth to keep players invested. There are basically only four characters: generic hero Orin, his AI guide Seventh Sanctum, the crafting NPC that lives in his base, and his megalomaniac brother, Macros. You're supposed to be saving the world, but without anyone to talk to, it hardly feels like a world worth the effort.
Piecing the story together feels about as dry as paging through an TTRPG sourcebook.
The story, such as it is, plays out largely through clunky dialogue between these allied NPCs and mostly takes place between missions. There's plenty of lore scattered through the game through Codex entries and flavor added to each weapon you find, but there's no audio to go with them, meaning you'd have to sit around tabbing through your menu to try to piece everything together. The process feels about as dry as paging through an TTRPG sourcebook.
As you play through the game, you'll unlock 12 different impressive looking Valorplates. While they're visually distinctive, they don't have quite enough impact on the gameplay. Each has a passive effect, like giving you extra elemental damage, and a unique cooldown ability called Archon's Fury. The developers could have taken a page from Anthem's Javelins by making Valorplates have more impact on mobility or toughness to make your choice between them feel more meaningful.
Orin is a guy. Except when he puts on certain Valorplates he has a woman's body type and voice. This is not explained. There's also no explanation for who other players are supposed to be in multiplayer. They're presumably allies in his quest against Macros? I don't need much motivation to run around killing monsters and collecting items, but at least something fun would help get through the sometimes repetitive gameplay loop.
While the gameplay is largely smooth, I did encounter a particulary frustrating bug when interacting with puzzle chests similar to the Nornir Chests in God of War. Unlocking them typically requires finding and destroying a set of beacons with either your weapon or shield, which you chuck like Captain America to break things and knock down enemies. However, multiple times when I got close to a chest before successfully solving the puzzle I got stuck and had to abandon my mission to get out. There also seems to be no way to rejoin a mission if one player gets logged out due to connection issues, which is a frustrating oversight.
Should you buy about Godfall
At $70 for the basic edition, or up to $100 if you want one of the fancier versions with special skins and access to an expansion promised for 2021, it's hard to justify purchasing Godfall. It's certainly a beautiful game and the combat is excellent, but it lacks any of the narrative hooks likely to keep you invested in its endgame or make you want to grind for all its trophies.
However, if you have the cash and temper your expectations, Godfall can be quite fun as the sort of casual co-op game where players are likely to tab through quest explainers and lore dumps anyways. The loot is bountiful and satisfying and it's easy to experiment with new combat styles without too much impact on your efficacy thanks to a relatively easy difficulty. Godfall's certainly not a must-buy for the new generation, but it is a very pretty way to spend some time while waiting for bigger titles to release.
Godfall is now available on Epic Games Store and PS5.
Bottom line: If you want a casual looter to play with friends, Godfall will fulfill those needs. Just don't expect anything more complex than that.
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