One thing I love about a new console launch is the fact that I always feel that I have to at least try out EVERY game that launches alongside it. I did it with the Xbox 360, I did it with the PlayStation 4, and now I’ve done it with the PlayStation 5. Sure, it can often mean you end up playing some bad games (I’m looking at you, Putty Squad) but every so often you can come across a gem that wasn’t on your radar.
Godfall falls into that latter category. It wasn’t a title that I was overly excited to play on my PlayStation 5 and sure, it does have its share of flaws that may put off some gamers. However, with its fantastic combat, satisfying loot mechanics, and pretty world, it also offers everything you’d want from a launch game – especially if you play with a friend.
Godfall’s tale utilises the age-old idea of brothers facing off against each other for power, with protagonist Orin presumed dead following a clash with his power-hungry brother Macros. The only way to avenge this defeat and prevent your brother from achieving godhood is by defeating his army of armour-clad lieutenants and earn their power, in turn allowing you to become powerful enough to take him down yourself. You know what this consists of, right? Taking down countless enemies in hack-and-slash battles and then using everything you’ve learnt along the way to batter the bigger (and naturally nastier) foes that block your path to Macros.
Whilst the story doesn’t do anything particularly original, I found it provided more than enough of a motivation to want to bring an end to Macros. Sure, it’s not the most lore-rich tale you’ll play, but there’s enough going on to ensure it remains engaging as you plough through the endless hordes of enemies that it sends your way.
The marketing for Godfall has seen the game described as a looter-slasher, meaning you can expect to spend plenty of time slashing away at enemies with all sorts of weaponry and collecting loot to make yourself more powerful along the way. Think Destiny, but without the pow-pow of shooting… simple. You’ll head out on a variety of different missions that bring with them a selection of difficulty levels to play on, you’ll fine-tine your abilities by tinkering with loot, and you’ll take on a bunch of neat boss battles across the roughly twelve-to-thirteen hour campaign… just expect a bit of padding in between it all.
One thing that needs recognition from the get-go is just how fun the combat of Godfall is. You’re able to mash together stylish combos of light and heavy attacks using the myriad of weapons at your disposal, whilst the array of flashy abilities that you have access to allow you to unleash some heavy damage in between them all too. Want to hit an enemy quickly from afar? Launch your shield at them and ensure that your fulfilling string of strikes doesn’t skip a beat as you pummel your foes to smithereens. It’s a whole lot of fun, with the frantic onslaught of enemies that come your way ensuring that no battle is shy of action and the clashing of blades.
Knowing when to defend with your shield is vital too, whilst deflecting incoming attacks and parrying with your own never stops feeling satisfying. Whilst button-mashing is certainly viable against a lot of enemies, others bring with them their own nuances that demand your attention and patience; the extra element of strategy that this brings just compliments the combat mechanics perfectly, further empowering the player as they pick off their foes with slick and stylish flair.
Don’t get me wrong, the combat mechanics themselves don’t feel overly original and there’s nothing about them that you wouldn’t have seen before in titles such as God of War or Devil May Cry. You don’t really need originality with your combat when it feels so satisfying though, and believe me, I never tired of slicing away at Godfall’s enemies.
What helps add variety to the combat is the loot system, which constantly rewards you with new weapons and gear to ensure you grow with power as you progress through the game. There are five weapon types in total (Longswords, Dual Blades, Warhammers, Greatswords, and Polearms) that each bring with them different varieties of attacks and abilities – each different weapon in those categories also have different primary and secondary effects too, ensuring no two weapons ever feel the same and that they have their own different perks. Don’t get me wrong, they’re run of the mill benefits as far as this sort of game is concerned, but they’re meaningful enough to make investing in the loot system worth your time.
Then you have the Valorplates, which are Godfall’s form of armour that not only look impressive but bring with them different perks and a unique ultimate ability. The Valorplates are worn as a whole so there’s no mixing-and-matching to be found, though you can customise their appearance with cosmetics and even enhance them by equipping the different Augments that you unlock throughout the game. It’s certainly worth playing around with the different Valorplates to see what works best for you, but honestly? I just went for the Aegishorn set because it looks the coolest.
Between the satisfying combat, the rewarding loot and Valorplates, and the levelling up system (which I haven’t even touched upon but allow you to increase your capabilities as you progress), there’s a whole lot to love about Godfall. However, it does all come with one caveat: the game can get very repetitive.
You’ll have to spend a lot of time grinding in the game just to become powerful enough to progress through missions, which means doing a lot of the same things over and over again in a lot of the same areas. The main mission design itself doesn’t bring with it a whole lot of imaginative tasks for the player to complete either, with the star of the show being the boss battles (which do make for some pretty impressive encounters). As mentioned, it’s satisfying to earn loot and the combat is great so it isn’t the worst thing in the world having to grind a little, though I couldn’t help but to wish that it was a bit more streamlined or even varied in design.
Whilst the repetitive nature of some of Godfall’s more grind-based moments could be a little annoying when playing in single player, it’s easy to ignore it when playing with a friend. I managed to play through the entirety of the campaign again with a friend and we had a really good time, with the difficulty balancing out based upon each character’s levels to ensure the challenge is never too easy or too hard. Working together to take out enemies never stopped being satisfying either, especially in boss encounters where one player can act as a distraction whilst the other unleashes their attacks undistracted – it’s really good stuff and makes all of the grinding for loot feel more worthwhile.
I’d be remiss not to mention Godfall’s visuals, which look outstanding throughout. The world itself looks stunning with the impressive lighting effects bringing a natural aura of prettiness to everything around you, whilst the particle effects found in combat constantly kept me in awe as I’d unleash my attacks upon foes. It could have done with a little bit more variety within the environments, but it’s hard not to be left in awe at the visuals themselves.
Godfall is guilty of being a little repetitive in design, but the fantastic combat mechanics and satisfying loot system more than make up for it. I had a whole lot of fun slicing away at enemies, whilst seeing my gear and skills constantly improve brought with it a rewarding sense of progress – especially when comparing my loadout with friends when playing through the campaign in online co-op.
It is a shame that a lot of time has to be spent grinding and seeing the same environments again and again could be a bore, but there’s enough going on outside of those flaws to still make Godfall worth your attention. It might not necessarily be the best launch title on the PlayStation 5, but those who enjoy slick sword-clashing action and building up their own armour-clad warrior will definitely want to give it a try.
Developer: Counterplay Games
Publisher: Gearbox Publishing
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PC