Thank you to Gearbox for providing a Review Copy
Like an angel falling from the heavens or a god exiled from their kingdom, Godfall’s quality plummets into the Earth with air-shattering velocity within the first half hour of playtime. I usually don’t immediately start my reviews this up-front, with how I blatantly feel about the current title under critique, but in this instance an exception must be made. Godfall is by far one of the blandest games I have ever played, if not the most creatively bankrupt experience I’ve slogged through in recent memory. But before I delve too deeply into the title’s abhorrent misgivings, allow me to explain the promise of Godfall, what it was meant to be. Advertised as a melee combat, combo heavy take on the “looter shooter” genre launching alongside the PS5, Godfall looked to many (myself not included) as a showcase of what next-generation online play should be. However, when November 13th finally came around, all of those hopes disintegrated swifter than Icarus’ wings under the scorching sun. Instead of a glorious simulation of god-like power, what we got instead was a glorified, generic live service title without a single spark of originality.
Now it’s par for the course to lead in with the narrative discussion, but to be blunt there’s not much to be said whatsoever. The story’s plot (which I won’t spoil here, but think Cain and Abel meets Clash of the Titans) and cast of characters are not compelling in the slightest, largely due in part to the overwhelming amount of storytelling clichés and the utterly basic motivation to defeat the main antagonist. Not much exposition as to why the plot is even happening is provided to you either, which left me feeling overall disconnected from the plight of the main protagonist. In truth, I ended up not caring about any of the narrative’s elements. But hey, so what if the story sucks, right? This is a looter: the gameplay loop, combat, and environments are what’s most important here. So, with that being said, does Godfall’s gameplay redeem it’s narrative woes? No, no it does not.
The missions you undertake in Godfall see you, Orin, travelling to different realms to amass power and allies to vanquish the scourge your brother has unleashed upon the world. It’s too bad, then, that all of these realms look largely similar. Like the story, the art-style doesn’t present an ounce of anything unique, and many objects are overly saturated with gleaming gold. There are areas that deviate from this design philosophy a smidgen, but along with being uninspired they are still few and far between. It’s adequate for what the title is trying to be, but graphically it all looks very last-gen and mostly unimpressive (apart from the consistent 60 FPS). Due to these bland environments, the desire to explore/replay levels past the main path is absent, especially when the potential loot gained from doing so all looks/performs the same as other weapon/ring types in their respective classes; culminating in a disgustingly linear experience. At this point, it may seem that I have nothing positive to say about Godfall, that I had no fun with the game entirely. Although upon reflection that is how I feel, I cannot deny that Godfall’s combat was pretty damn fun…at least for the first hour or so. It was surprisingly engaging at first, with easily chainable combos feeding into the player’s power fantasy smoothly. However, you’ll find yourself repeating combos quickly, and even with unlockable skills remains a button mashing fest. On top of this, the combat presents no challenge. It’s beyond easy, and unfortunately has no adjustable difficulty slider (resulting in the same set difficulty for everyone). To get a rough understanding of how benign the enemies in this game are, let me paint you a small picture: I’ve barely healed, and haven’t died at all throughout my playthrough. At. All. You’d think that even mini-bosses/bosses would present some difficulty, but that couldn’t be further from the case. Mini-bosses are just reskinned basic enemies, and main bosses’ attacks are highly telegraphed and repeated, allowing for more than enough time to avoid any attack. AOE’s (area of effect attacks) are even outlined for you, so unless you’re purposely not looking at the boss you can’t miss it. Even if you were to hypothetically fall in combat (as unlikely as that is), when you return to the boss arena: all your damage dealt to their health bar is saved! I would say the difficulty in Godfall is laughable, but that would imply that there’s something to laugh at. It’s nonexistent. And even then, that’s if you can even fight the boss without running into a game-breaking glitch. For example, TGP’s own Frank ran into a progression-halting bug that prevented him from venturing beyond the first boss. Upon the boss entering its second phase, it begins to utilize both a jump attack and a fire-damage based AOE. Due to the former maneuver, the boss positioned itself above a particular piece of geometry from which it could not come back down from. Additionally, the boss proceeded to spam the aforementioned fire attack, preventing Frank from even approaching the boss’ feet (the only part of it that could be hit). Since boss fight progression doesn’t reset upon death, Frank had three choices: throw his shield from a corner over and over again to defeat the boss, start a new character, or quit the game. I think it’s fairly obvious as to which option he chose, and I was not far behind him.
Godfall, frankly, brings nothing to the table. You’ve seen everything it has to offer before, and done better at that. The game lacks originality, creativity, and ingenuity across narrative, gameplay, and design elements alike. Even if the core mechanics are enjoyable for awhile, it’s only a matter of time before it turns into a bore, then a chore, and then finally a brutal slog. Assuming the mindless, repetitive combat is somehow up your alley, the game might just decide to throw a glitch at you from where there is no return; unless you wouldn’t mind restarting your progression from square one. Overall, Godfall is a pitiful excuse for a 9th generation launch title, and is absolutely disgraceful for trying to get $70 out of the consumer.