Godfall has defied my expectations. While marred by repetition throughout its 10-15 hour campaign, Counterplay Games’ looter-slasher is a fun romp made better with mates. It doesn’t strive to be its own unique thing — taking ideas and mechanics from many other titles — but that doesn’t hamper what is a very solid launch title for the PlayStation 5.
It feels like a launch title, though. Think Ryse in 2013 — a demonstration of the console tech of the time mixed in with enjoyable gameplay. It’s a game that doesn’t really attempt to break the barriers of what an action RPG can be, but does, for the most part, feel great to play and that’s its greatest asset.
The only thing you really need to know in regards to the game’s story is that it focuses on revenge. The narrative is as bare bones as it can possibly get, and oftentimes story lore and character building never reached a point where I actually felt like I was invested in anyone’s motivations. Macros is the big baddie here, though — betraying the game’s protagonist Orin at the beginning of the game and seeking to fulfil the Rites of Ascension, which could spell the end of the world. Of course, it’s up to Orin to take him out and knock down any that oppose the mission. Again, the story’s as basic as it can possibly be, and I quickly found myself aching to get through story beats so I could get back to beating the holy heck out of enemies and earning new gear.
Ultimately, that’s where Godfall succeeds the most — the moment-to-moment gameplay is fast-paced and intense, and served up a litany of memorable moments where I’d take out a large group of enemies or a boss by the skin of my teeth. It is, at the best of times, riveting.
There are five weapon types to make use of in the game, those being the dual blades, polearm, greatsword, warhammer and longsword. Each offer different playstyles — the dual blades, for example, are fast and offer quick damage output for a hit and run-styled approach to combat. The Warhammer, on the other hand, needs to be carefully used in combat as the time it takes to swing and deliver blows leaves you wide open for attacks. Being able to have one weapon set equipped and another ready to swap out on the fly meant I had an option to shift between my trusty dial blades and greatsword as needed, giving me variety when required.
Of course, defeating enemies and exploring the three big hub worlds Godfall has to offer serves up loot that makes your character stronger. Given the game is dubbed a ‘looter-slasher’ it should come as no surprise that this part of the experience is the glue that holds everything together, especially after the end credits roll. The rollout of loot feels well-earned and plentiful, though — I felt like I was getting better gear every second mission or so, and if I wasn’t I was able to upgrade my current gear at the forge so I could stay competitive with the higher level enemies I was taking on.
It didn’t take too long for the game to hit its repetition cycle however, yet I found this grind to be less intrusive than a lot of other titles I’ve played of late. Perhaps I was just in the mood for something a little monotonous and grindy or just wanted to look at the beautiful scenery and level design that makes up most of Godfall’s worlds — either way there’s something here that worked for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed the 15 or so hours I put into it.
And that’s probably the big thing. It doesn’t take forever to finish, it’s no meaty grind like most of the other launch titles, and it can be devoured in short bursts. I didn’t get much of a chance to squad up and play with friends bar one or two occasions (and matchmaking isn’t a thing at all), but even as a solo experience I felt satiated. There’s nothing the game does particularly great, but the core systems are fun.
The levelling system is fairly basic, too, but gives enough options to build your character in a multitude of ways — whether that’s a low to mid DPS dual blades build or more of a tanky greatsword wielder. There is some leeway here, and I appreciated the fact you could also upgrade and enchant weapons and armour via resources found in each of the three main maps. Of course, being an RPG each item is ranked from legendary to common, with the former giving extra player buffs that come together well in the heat of battle. Again, this seems like stock standard stuff — and it is — but it does come together well.
It’s a shame the combat can be a bit finicky. The targeting reticule is never particularly accurate and you can often find yourself at the mercy of multiple strikes from enemies with no counter. As well as this, some enemies — bosses especially — can resort to cheap tactics that punish you for minor mistakes. The waypoint marker is absolutely abhorrent, too, as it isn’t fixed on a location and instead moves when you get closer to it, which had me getting lost more often than not. At one stage it disappeared altogether and I wandered aimlessly around the world for 30 minutes trying to find my objective to no avail.
Even so, those issues don’t take away too much from the game — Godfall is confident in its combat and that’s where it shines brightest. The story is absolutely forgettable for the most part, but the moment to moment gameplay is bloody good fun. It can be frustrating and never feel properly polished when you really need it to be, but Counterplay’s first crack at a looter-slasher is a fun old time.
THE PS5 VERSION OF THIS GAME WAS TESTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS REVIEW. A DIGITAL REVIEW CODE WAS PROVIDED BY THE PUBLISHER FOR THIS REVIEW. WE LOVE BRINGING YOU THE BEST GAMING AND TECH BARGAINS. WE MAY GET A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THE SALE THROUGH AFFILIATE PARTNERSHIPS
Godfall is often great in its moment to moment gameplay, though fails to ever make anything of its story. It's a fun time, but never feels like it reaches its full potential.