Godfall Review – Beautifully Shallow (PS5)

The much anticipated launch of Sony’s powerful next generation PlayStation 5 console is upon us, and so are some new games and new IPs. One of the biggest titles that I was looking forward to was developer Counterplay Games’ Godfall—a futuristic looter/slasher, with online co-op, set in a fantasy world, centering on unlocking new suits (called Valorplates) to enhance your gameplay and also earning better and better weapons to increase your power in combat, somewhat akin to the Destiny series.

Godfall Review – Loose Storytelling

The game opens up as two brothers, Orin and Macros, battle against each other. Orin is the good guy while Macros—who at some point betrayed Orin but we never really find out how—aspires to be a god. In the opening cutscene, Macros throws Orin into the ocean, casting him into the depths and out of his realm. Honestly, and sadly, that’s about as deep as the story goes. We know Macros did something to betray Orin, and now Macros has started a process to ascend to godhood, and if he completes the process everything is destroyed. It’s up to Orin, as the main playable character in the game, to stop his brother by fighting through his underbosses to reach him, and ultimately facing off in one final battle.

Years ago, when some developers created a new game, they would create all of the actual gameplay first and then create a story based off of the gameplay. That is what the half-written story for Godfall feels like. The actual story doesn’t drive the gameplay, but rather is secondary to whatever the next mission is. There are non-story-related missions, and with story missions requiring you to reach a certain power level or have a certain number of sigils to be able to unlock and complete them, these side missions become essential to furthering your story progress.

Godfall Review – The Three Realms of Godfall

The Godfall world is separated into three distinct realms or maps, each having their own weapon buffs and perks. The three realms—Earth, Water, and Air—have their own set of unique bad guys running around and have unique hunts awaiting you. Certain weapons are supposed to work better against certain types of enemies, but in reality I just continued to swap to whatever was the most powerful weapon I could find, regardless of the realm. The different environments really are gorgeous to look at in 4K, with incredible detail and design. The enemies, likewise, are also well detailed, with a wide variety of bad guys to hack, slash, and smash through.

At the end of each side mission, you have the option to find a beacon to activate and then complete three more subsequent objectives to unlock more loot. While the beacon will be highlighted and easy to find, I had a hard time finding the new objectives. You have a special Spirit Vision mode by pressing left on the d-pad while in a realm, and this is great for finding collectibles and chests, but finding three of these post-mission objectives seemed impossible for me. While I did manage to find one hidden chest that required me to take out a large group of bad guys, I spent the next 30 minutes running around in a methodical fashion trying to locate two more.

Godfall Review – Valorplates are Impressive Armor

There are twelve different armor sets, or Valorplates, that are unlockable in Godfall. You’ll need to gather different items to craft each one, and these items will be found in one of the three realms. You’ll also need to find fallen soldiers and gather their valor cores. Each Valorplate is tied to a specific element and each one has its own Archon Fury special attack. These attacks fall into two categories: they either summon three AI warriors to help you fight or send elemental shockwave damage, depending on your suits elemental tie-in. You also get a weapon buff for the duration of the attack. Again, in all honesty, I found little difference between the suits and tried several on the same side mission, and finished in about the same amount of time with the same amount of effort.

Cutscenes play out in the central tower, called the Sanctum, where you’ll interact with an AI or with the forge master (more on that in a minute) and depending on which Valorplate you are wearing, your character may be male or female, but always named Orin. This was a major disconnect from the story for me, and somewhat confusing the first time I watched a cutscene with the Vertigo Valorplate. The character went from sounding like the deep baritone of Optimus Prime to having this high pitched feminine voice. The AI still called her Orin, and while obviously female, she was still called the brother of Marcos. This was one of my favorite Valorplates to use, though, however off-putting those conversations were. She did seem to be a little lighter on her feet than some of the other suits.

Godfall Review – Godfall is Clearly a Looter/Slasher

While battling the many foes you’ll encounter in the realms, they’ll drop weapons and enhancements for you to pick up. There are five weapon classes to choose and include the longsword, dual blades, polearm, two handed war hammer and the two handed great sword. These will drop as one of four levels: Common, Rare, Epic, or Legendary. You’re able to have two weapons active that you can fast-switch between, and your secondary weapon gains a charge while you kill folks with your primary weapon. Once full you can fast-switch for a quick boost of short term power with that weapon. This is a nifty little combat feature that, when used properly, can break up the repetitiveness of the encounters somewhat.

Loot drops are surprisingly not linked to game difficulty, and this makes the loot fairly easy to acquire. Doing the same hunt side mission over and over is really the best way to build up your arsenal and farm for resources, even though I salvaged just about everything that dropped so I could build up my favorite weapon types in the Forge. The Forge is an area within the Sanctum that allows you to power up your weapons and enhance them, or raise their rarity level, making them more effective in combat. The forge requires differing resources, and this is where farming that same hunt over and over comes into play. The Forge is one of the best things in the game because if you find a weapon you really enjoy using, say a nice shiny polearm, you can  build it up and enhance it until another one of its kind drops at a higher level.

Godfall Review – Not Much of an Endgame

Once you’ve finished the storyline and vanquished Macros, you’ll unlock Dreamstones. This mode is filled with previously completed missions at a higher power level that will give you guaranteed better drops and items you may still need to craft the remaining Valorplates. I had all but one crafted at this point and just needed some Orbs of Oblivion to craft the remaining one. After 18+ hours of grinding through the game, I may come back for that later, but maybe not.

Godfall had issues not only with framerate drops and stuttering when there were a lot of enemies on the screen, but it also crashed on me several times. Sometimes when loading into a realm, the game would end abruptly and head straight to the PS5’s “report” screen. (Editor’s Note: Given other reported issues players are having with the PS5, this may be a console-related issue, and not game specific.) The PS5 is a powerful machine, so framerate drops and stuttering are disappointing to say the least, and game crashing on a shiny new console is disheartening. The crashes were few and far between, and the game is far from unplayable, so there’s that at least.

Godfall is a beautiful game with a shallow story, but could have been so much more had someone taken the time to really hash it out and tie each Valorplate into a different character and expand on the realms. Instead we are given a confusing story that doesn’t fit the equipment and realms that really don’t care which suit you are wearing. While the weapons and armor gave the game a serious chance at success, I’m afraid the storyline and repetitive gameplay will doom this game to the bargain bin. It is beautiful, though, and that is its greatest achievement as a launch day PS5 title.

Godfall review code provided by publisher. Reviewed on PS5. For more information, please read our Review Policy.

6.0

Impressive 4K graphics and well detailed realms Highly detailed Valorplates Cool weapons Fun gameplayFramerate stutter when there’s a lot going on Occasional crashing Irrelevant story that doesn’t fit Repetitive gameplay Loot drops the same regardless of difficulty.

[Source: playstationlifestyle]

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