It’s easy to see where that initial wave of excitement for Godfall came from. Being the first game announced for the PlayStation 5 (although later confirmed for PC, too) it dazzled with the opulent promise of what Sony’s new hardware could deliver. On top of that, it would give RPG fans something to sink their teeth into on day one of the PS5’s launch, juggling flashy cinematic combat with a rich hoard of loot.
There are certainly glimmers of something fun and special here, yet these are outshone by the blindingly bizarre way in which Counterplay have strung Godfall together. Overall, this makes for one of the most disappointing titles available among the PS5’s launch line-up.
If you’re looking for comparable games, then Godfall slots somewhere between 2018’s God of War reboot/sequel/thing and Warframe. You play as Orin, the last of the Valorian knights who begins their journey at rock bottom, having been bested by their brother, the power-hungry Macros. You must now stop your brother from attempting the Rite of Ascension before it’s too late.
Godfall’s story is wafer thin, which is a design choice that can cut both ways. On one hand it serves as transparent filler between missions, spewing inconsequential dialogue in your direction as you prep your inventory and launch into the next quest. On the other, it doesn’t bog the player down with exposition – it’s a straightforward tale of well-intentioned revenge.
Those comparisons to God of War are mainly present in how Godfall plays. This is a combat heavy game and one that straddles the line between basic hack ‘n’ slash and something a little more refined. As you explore each of Godfall’s three realms you’ll encounter enemy patrols as well as bounty targets, and larger bosses. You have light and heavy attacks at your disposal with each of the five weapon classes given their own combos and movesets. Enemies bite back, however, and you’ll soon find that evading and parrying their colour-coded blows is just as important as unleashing your own onslaught. There’s a heft to each combat action which, when combined with Godfall’s third person camera, creates a combat system that demands more than mindless button bashing.
The further you push into the game and fill out Godfall’s skill tree, the more battle tactics become available. Although fairly basic at first, by the time you hit level 50 you’ll have an arsenal of advanced moves you can unleash to dominate your foes.
You’ll quickly realise that your ultimate goal isn’t really to vanquish Macros, it’s to sculpt the best Godfall loadout you can. This is done by unlocking new Valorplates – hulking suits of shiny armour – and slotting the best gear possible into your loadout. Between missions you’ll sift through a ton of loot, salvaging waste while enhancing and upgrading those weapons and items that take your fancy at Zenun’s Forge.
Each Valorplate design looks excellent, all of them lined in a circle around your base of operations like a fantasy Batcave. Sadly, they’re not that much different in terms of gameplay, offering small passive perks and their own “Archon Fury” ability. The same can be said of Godfall’s legendary tier loot. Although the stat numbers go up, you never truly get a sense of how powerful they are. Elemental damage and ailments such as shock, curse, or poison are hardly noticeable.
As previously alluded to, what really brings Godfall down is how this “looter slasher” RPG is structured. From the game’s hubworld you will launch into smaller hunt-style missions as well as more story-focused quests. These all take place within the same three areas – the Earth, Water, and Air realms. Although fairly big, you’ll feel yourself trudging through the same maze-like stretches over and over again.
Godfall doesn’t just let you blitz through the game’s main story to reach the endgame. A number of key quests will require you to gather Sigils, repeating older missions in what can only be described as lazy filler. Persevering through to the endgame gives you some more interesting options, though it’s likely most players will succumb to fatigue long before they can get stuck into this content.
Although Godfall has the trappings of a live service game akin to Destiny or The Division, it’s presented as a solo experience. Despite requiring an constant online connection, there’s no matchmaking whatsoever with PS5-PC crossplay also being absent. It’s a confounding design choice, because co-op adds something to the experience. Teaming up by inviting friends, Godfall definitely felt more alive but at the same time more chaotic.
To end on a high note, Godfall’s future fantasy fusion looks spectacular. Raw visual fidelity and stable framerate aside, the intriguing design of Valorplates and the different enemy factions is worth noting, each realm having its own visual flare and elemental motifs. As for the PS5’s DualSense controller, expect a heightened sense of immersion with subtle rumble effects such as the throttle-like shaking that comes from charging one of Godfall’s Weapon Technique.