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Rebecca Isaacs / Lifewire
Sword hacker slasher looter gameplay
Four lookalike maps
Poor, incoherent plotline
Large storage requirement for short gameplay
Despite its early release, Godfall is one game that doesn’t live up to the hype either on the PS5 or PC.
We purchased Godfall so our expert reviewer could thoroughly assess it. Keep reading for our full review.
With the PlayStation 5 releasing late last year, Godfall was the first of the PS5 exclusives, with its launch in early November. As a looter-shooter lover (especially of the Borderlands series), I was intrigued by the prospect of using swords and shields instead of guns. At first, it was a fun, enthralling experience due to the compelling graphics. Unfortunately, after eleven hours of gameplay, I’ve already shelved it and moved on to the next game in my library due to its repetitive nature and poor plotline. Read on for how I evaluated the gameplay, plot, and graphics.
“It was all a lie,” the narrator says, signaling the beginning of the game. What follows is an elaborate cut scene depicting everything I’d want in an adventure game: betrayal, battle, and of course, a desire for bloodthirsty vengeance.
You play as the character Orin, a Valorian Knight on the planet Aperion who starts off as a male character, but as you gain armors throughout gameplay, can become gender fluid to your preference. Orin has a brother, named Macros. However, a story can make or break a game, and I didn’t really see a reason why these siblings were waving swords at each other in the beginning cutscene. I was left wondering what it was Macros did in order to incur the wrath of Orin’s revenge. Whatever Macros did, Orin felt it was enough to go on a quest to destroy Macros.
From the starting cutscene, the plot was completely lost to me. I’m sure there was one, but it seemed so bland and common that I was drifting off to looking at the scenery during gameplay rather than paying attention to the storyline. For all the energy that the developers poured into the graphics, the plot suffered greatly, often leaving a shallowness that left me unsympathetic toward Orin and whatever quest he or she ultimately went on.
If the devil is in the details, then Counterplay sold its soul to ensure that every leaf had ridges and grooves.
For a bland plot, Godfall really brings its A-game with the graphics. Some of the scenes as I ran across streams and trails brought out vivid hues and beautiful environments. If the devil is in the details, then Counterplay Games sold its soul to ensure that every leaf had ridges and grooves. In that aspect, the game shines, and I felt transported into the world as I ran around destroying my enemies with a greatsword.
Though repetitive, the four maps offered show a rich, colorful world that will keep your attention from the poor plotline for a while. Even the different sets of armor, known as Valorplates, are so detailed I was tempted to try to reach through my screen.
Valorian Knight Orin himself remains the same, but in terms of details and build, that’s where character customization—and offensive and defensive builds—finally come in. You’ll hack and slash your way through forests and other settings, using various Valorplates and one of five different weapons classes. As a bonus, you can add banners and charms to help buff up your Valorian Knight.
Each of the armor sets, based on various animals, comes with different perks, which makes for unique gameplay if you prefer poison or shock to fire damage. It can take some time to craft, modify, and upgrade both the Valorplates and weapons. More importantly, it takes time to gather the materials, so as you continue the game, you’ll have repeat quests and maps.
That’s where Godfall’s biggest issue rears its head. I would love to tell you that it was a fun experience. I can get past a poor plot within reason. However, the constant replay of maps coupled with the eventually monotonous backgrounds made gameplay more tedious than fun. Counterplay tried to make it more intriguing by offering some attack combinations and a few variations of monsters, but there aren’t that many across either spectrum. Instead, you’ll have to boost the few extra attacks the game offers through a grid-like skill tree.
If puzzles are a necessity in your looter slasher video game, Godfall does offer very small ones by showing locked chests every once in a while. In order to move across the map you have to rely on “phase nodes” to shift you across chasms and past cliffs, but there’s virtually no climbing, and the puzzles turn as dull and drab as the plotline. At most, you’re usually left throwing your shield at the hidden locks to break them.
You’ll hack and slash your way through forests, using various Valorplates and one of five different weapons classes.
In all honesty, the game feels half-finished, as though Counterplay didn’t get a chance to put out something they really wanted to, but were forced to due to PlayStation 5 release time constraints. There are great moments in the gameplay, especially during the boss battles. But after a few hours, I found it hard to feel motivated to continue playing when everything was so repetitive.
And, worse yet, the co-op mode was insufferable. In order to play co-op with a friend, you’ll have to invite them to every mission, every single time. It makes sense if you’re starting out, but it doesn’t make sense when you’re on your fifth mission of the night, and you can’t start unless you invite your best friend. It’s time-consuming and clearly wasn’t thought out that well.
Not all the gameplay features are gripe worthy though. With up close combat, dying is inevitable, and Godfall makes sure to address the risk of constant death in three ways: a practice arena in between missions, where you can test out your latest combos; easy, fast leveling; and no death penalty. While some players will most likely balk at no death penalty, casual gamers will enjoy not having to worry about the loss of experience or equipment durability.
Godfall is pretty straightforward with its platforms: PlayStation 5, or Windows PCs. It does not work on Macs, so take that into consideration before you make your purchase. In terms of gameplay, neither platform really weighs better than the other, though PC gamers with ultrawide screens may have some issues getting the correct resolution set.
If Godfall was priced around $30, I would have been more sympathetic to its cause. However, the base game itself will cost around $60 before any kind of sale. If you want to upgrade to a higher edition, such as Deluxe or its top edition, Ascended, that will run you up to $90. That much money for a game that seems half-finished and still requires 50GB of SSD memory is, quite frankly, way too much for anyone to pay. This is also not including the option of pre-order and Ascended content, each of which will cost another $10.
I’ll be brutally honest here: if it’s between Godfall and Warframe, Warframe is easily a better game.
The only game that can remotely come close to Godfall is Warframe. Both offer missions you can complete repetitively, and both require multiple hours of gameplay in order to progress in the game.
I’ll be brutally honest here: if it’s between Godfall and Warframe, Warframe is easily a better game. While Godfall offers beauty in the natural world, Warframe builds on a seriously sci-fi world that’s constantly expanding.
More importantly, Warframe offers its players who want that looter slasher experience something Godfall cannot: mostly free gameplay. While Warframe relies on microtransactions, the base game is free—and requires lots of hours of gameplay to advance. As much as I wanted to recommend Godfall, the fact is that Warframe does what Godfall wanted to do for better and for less of a cost (unless you really want to engage in microtransactions).
In all honesty, the game feels half-finished, as though Counterplay didn’t get a chance to put out something they really wanted to, but were forced to due to PlayStation 5 release time constraints.
Scenery doesn’t make up for lackluster gameplay.
If you’re looking for a mindless hack and slash game to play, this might be a go-to game for you, especially if you like Warframe. But as much as I loved the graphics, I can’t recommend Godfall based on the landscapes alone. If you feel obligated to try out a melee looter slasher, wait for a sale, but for most people you can find better games to play.
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