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Godfall Review – Pretty and Boring

godfall
PC

Godfall Review – Pretty and Boring

Godfall on PC

The first thing that struck me when I booted up Godfall — which I’m sure was also the case for many other players — was just how utterly gorgeous the game looked. The color palette is vibrant, the world looks completely inviting and warm, and I was more than ready to start my new adventure looting and slashing and repeatedly farming missions for new gear.

That glossy first impression quickly peeled away once I’d beaten the tutorial and got a taste of what the campaign would be like. Godfall is beautiful and stylish, and that’s all it’s got going for it.

I’ll say right now that the story is pretty much completely dead in the water. Right from the start, you’re introduced as a character named Orin, who’s been betrayed by their brother Macros as he seeks to use the power of the gods to take over the world. There’s no sense of urgency, no concrete idea of who Macros is and why he’s such a threat, and you’re just expected to embark on this mission and be invested in Orin’s cause.

Fine. Sure, whatever. I don’t need a good story to enjoy some looter gameplay. I barely paid attention in Destiny 2 and still got a thousand hours out of that franchise, I can do the same with Godfall.

Except, not really.

I’ll start with the things I do love about Godfall. The HUD and UI are really pretty. Readability and overall presentation is important to me, and on that front, Counterplay Games really nailed it here. The menus look sleek and stylish, the fonts are futuristic-looking and pretty to look at, and even the equipment art is pleasing to the eye.

And that really is the biggest strength of this game: the art direction and aesthetic. Everything from the menus and the HUD, to the way the Valorplates and the environments look, Godfall is a feast for the eyes. Sparks fly when the metal of your sword clashes against an enemy’s shield. Everywhere you look, there’s always something that catches your eye, and it even almost manages to get you excited to keep playing and explore even further. Almost, but not quite.

Having a pretty world is great and all, but not if there’s absolutely nothing to do in it aside from opening chests and killing enemies. Levels are large but there’s no incentive to explore, and throughout my time with the campaign, I found myself mindlessly dashing towards the next objective marker to kill whatever horde of enemies the game would throw at me next.

After completing a mission, you go back to a hub world of sorts, talk to an NPC to get more information about what’s going on in the story, then head off on another monotonous mission. Sometimes you’ll walk across the room to talk to another similarly soulless NPC about upgrading a weapon, and then be on your way. Truly, that’s probably the most egregious issue with Godfall: that it feels utterly soulless in almost every aspect.

Even the Valorplates, which are supposed to be the main attraction of Godfall, feel soulless. The titular Orin can assume a more masculine or feminine identity depending on the Valorplate you’ve equipped, and each supposedly specializes in different play styles. They all come with a different Archon’s Fury ability, which is an ultimate of sorts that builds up over time, but that feels like the only tangible difference between the Valorplates. There are numerical differences in their stats, but it never feels consequential or substantial.

Aside from visual appearance, the Valorplates feel almost homogenous. You’re assaulted with tons of loot as you cut down your enemies, but after a while, loot stops being exciting as you realize you’re really just chasing down items with a higher overall stat number because it’s just way too tedious to think about whether you’d rather prioritize a higher Affliction rate or 5% increased critical chance.

The combat itself is serviceable. You have a light attack and a heavy attack. Light attacks build up a soulshatter meter on your enemy’s health bar, and once it builds up enough, you can use a heavy attack to instantly deplete that entire portion. It’s a fun, tactical system that requires you to be smart with how many light attacks you’re landing, and when you should finish them off with a heavy strike.

As you level up, you’ll unlock secondary and primary abilities to fill out your kit. These let you do more interesting things, like afflicting enemies with DoT effects, stunning them to pull off a powerful stun attack, and throwing your shield and hitting multiple enemies at once for crowd control.

The moment-to-moment gameplay feels good when everything comes together in satisfying combos, but with just one annoying little caveat: the lock-on system. Target lock feels finicky at best, with no intuitive way of switching targets at a whim. Even when you’ve locked on, the camera never quite stays focused on the enemy you want to hit, and that’s when combat starts to feel frustrating.

Godfall is plagued with other little annoyances as well. Checking your equipment sub-categories has to be done from the menu, which is all well and good, but if you click into the rings category for instance, which is situated at the bottom of the menu, your cursor goes right back to the top of the categories once you back out, forcing you to scroll all the way back down if you missed something the first time.

There are also bigger issues, such as the baffling lack of online matchmaking. You can play missions with two other friends who also own the game, but if you’re alone, that’s it. You can’t just team up with other players via in-game matchmaking, and you’ll have to rely on third-party tools to form a team.

After slogging through the rest of Godfall’s campaign, you’ll reach the end-game content, consisting mostly of Dreamstone missions, which do continue the story a little bit. Past that, you’ll be grinding through the game’s toughest missions repeatedly in search of greater loot.

It’s hard to say whether Godfall will receive the support it needs to really help with its longevity in the long run. We’ve seen so many live service games get a lackluster launch, only to flourish a year or two later. Sea of Thieves did it, No Man’s Sky is practically the poster boy for “games that bombed at launch before getting redeemed later,” and I hear Fallout 76 is actually decent now.

The same could happen for Godfall, but at least for now, unless you’re really itching to play a brand new looter game, you can probably give this one a pass.

Review Block

Godfall

2.5
/ 5

Poor

Godfall Critic Review
Reviewer: Zhiqing Wan

Pros

  • The art direction and aesthetic are beautiful.
  • The melee combat’s pretty good.

Cons

  • The story is bland and uninspiring.
  • The target lock system barely works.
  • No online matchmaking.
Release Date
Nov. 12, 2020
Developer
Gearbox Publishing
Publisher
Counterplay Games
Consoles
PS5, PC
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