Godfall is the stereotypical next-gen launch title that dazzles with graphical prowess, but fails to deliver compelling gameplay. Billed as a “unique” spin on the looter-slasher genre, Godfall is wholly derivative, taking bits and pieces from the Diablo, Warframe, and Borderlands series. Though Godfall has sound combat mechanics, the gameplay quickly grows stale, leaving a feeling as hollow and empty as the game’s environments. Don’t let the fancy graphics fool you; this PlayStation 5 game isn’t worthy of your time or its $70 price tag.
Playing as a king named Orin, you’re tasked with stopping your brother, Macros, from becoming a god. Doing so requires visiting three realms (Earth, Water, Air) to beat the stuffing out of an endless assortment of cannon fodder enemies, mini-bosses, and main bosses. Along the way, you’ll find copious amount of loot, either from treasure chests or enemy drops. Between missions, you’ll visit a hub world where a disembodied head called Seventh Sanctum informs you of your progress. If you’re looking for a deep narrative, you won’t find it here. The story (if you could even call it that) serves as little more than a means to funnel you from mission to mission.
The three aforementioned realms are visual marvels. Earth realm teems with ancient ruins covered in overgrown foliage, while the Water realm’s colossal corral formations spread as far as the eye can see. The Wind realm’s vast desert plains and collapsed structures are also a sight to behold. Unfortunately, the environmental beauty masks what are otherwise bland and uninspired level designs. Fundamentally, realms are circular combat arenas connected by corridors. Your surroundings are little more than window dressing, providing no points of interaction. As with the rest of the game, the environments are entirely superficial game elements.
Battle of the Gods
Combat serves as the game’s only redeeming trait, but even it comes with a caveat. You attack with light and heavy attacks, and defend by dodging or blocking with a shield. Special and Ultimate attacks help mix things up, and you can even toss your shield, Captain America-style. Hitting foes with great swords, hammers, daggers, and spears feels meaty and visceral. That said, combat quickly becomes a slog after facing the umpteenth enemy horde.
Compounding matters is how you can plow through most encounters by merely button mashing. Yes, some foes are more susceptible to particularly moves, such as Northern or Southern attacks, but you can easily down them with standard attacks. Games like Destiny and The Division, titles that are also guilty of throwing countless enemy waves at you, succeed due to their dynamic battle mechanics. Godfall’s combat lacks this excitement.
Even the 12 different Valorplate armor sets do little to change the core combat experience. They inflict specific elemental damage depending on the chosen armor, but that doesn’t radically shift how you tackle enemies. The Valorplates look impressive, but you can make it through the game wearing the hero’s starter armor.
Godfall showers you with loot at nearly every turn. Whether it is weapons, charms, or crafting materials, every piece of loot sparkles when it hits the ground—triggering your natural desire to touch shiny objects. The problem is that much of the loot becomes redundant due to the sheer volume of it. You may feel obtaining a sword that deals 48 damage points, but it won’t be long until you find the same weapon that deals 50 damage points. Even if you upgrade your preferred tool of destruction (more on that in a bit), you’ll inevitably find something better. To be fair, this is a problem inherent to the looter genre, but Godfall makes it worse.
You’re free to visit the armory between missions to upgrade your equipment. Using acquired materials, you can forge stronger weapons, charms, rings, and banners. Some upgrades let you imbue items with effects, such as bleeding, extra shatter damage, or even gradual healing. In this sense, you’ll have a chance to build a character suited to your playstyle. Of course, since there isn’t much combat deviation, there’s little incentive to create specific character builds. You’re better off forging items with high number values and calling it a day.
Speaking of upgrades, you’ll unlock new skills and attributes with skill points obtained from leveling up. Doing so enhances your character’s strength and defense, in addition to giving you access to more powerful special attacks and elemental buffs. Each skill has different levels, so you can make them more effective over time. This also means you must level up many times to unlock and enhance every skill. That said, leveling up alone makes your character stronger, so skills aren’t as useful or necessary as they should be in practice.
With most looters, the endgame is when the “real” game starts, as the challenges and rewards grow larger. That isn’t the case with Godfall. Endgame missions entail little more than a “greatest hits” of previously played missions. You traverse the same environments and face the same bosses. In some instances, endgame missions are exactly the same as their campaign counterparts. You can obtain more powerful gear by playing endgame missions, but there’s little reason for doing so unless you’re really enamored by the combat or graphics. For most, Godfall’s endgame means exactly that—the end of the game.
Loot-focused titles like Destiny and The Division grew stronger over time, as their developers added content and fresh gameplay mechanics. It’s difficult seeing the same happening to Godfall. There simply isn’t enough meat to provide a solid foundation for future updates and enhancements. It’s possible that the developer, Gearbox Software, could resurrect this title with a massive, Final Fantasy XIV-style restructuring, but the task would be—pardon the deific pun—Herculean. If you want to enjoy your new PlayStation 5, pick up Demon’s Souls or Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales instead.
Godfall (for PlayStation 5)
The Bottom Line
Godfall’s gorgerous veneer cannot salvage what is an otherwise hollow, uninspired experience. If you’re seeking a PS5 showcase title, look elsewhere.