Godfall does the wrong things right and the key parts wrong to bring a forgettable experience to PS5, but there’s hope if they make a second title.
Godfall’s opening cinematic is a stylish dive into the relationship between someone and their brother in a war torn world. The combat that is shown of looks brilliant giving you a sense of what is yet to come.
You wouldn’t believe that this is only one of two cinematics in the game. Looters aren’t known for their game changing stories but this one forget to put a story into the game at all.
The God in Godfall.
I don’t want to focus on what frustrates me most in this game yet, so let’s talk about what it did best.
Godfall truly makes you believe you’re playing a ‘next generation’ game through it’s excellent graphics, 60 FPS performance mode and haptic feedback. It’s an incredibly nice to look at game. When you visit the different areas of the game you can see the work that was put in to making this game look truly amazing.
The character models, the weapons, armour and everything else have a lot of thought and design into them. As you move traverse through the open like worlds the 60 fps performance ensures that there is no glitchy areas or enough blur to make a Song 3.
Along side the graphics looking and performing well I came across relatively few bugs. the final product that was released seemed to be well polished so at least you couldn’t say anything against that ruining your experience.
Another strength of Godfall is the player combat. There is a lot of variation in the way you can play this ‘slasher’. The work that went into making sure each weapon class played in a style different to the next paid off. The combinations you can weave as you carve through enemies feel good.
If you choose to use a hammer that wouldn’t be misplaced in a Final Fantasy game it feels heavy and each hit knocks you away. If you go for the speedy dual blade you get a sense of mindless swinging as though you’re going to kill them with 1000 cuts.
You also have a shield for deflecting and slamming into foes. It can be thrown in Captain America style to give you your only ranged option in the game.
It felt curious as to how I could bring these together, I aimed for a dual blade/ bleed build. Kind of a get in, get out build. The early signs were promising as the perks were there and the skill tree offered things to back me up, but I was never really able to make that build a reality.
The Fall in Godfall.
I’d grab some water here, cause it could take a while. I’ll try to keep it short.
Continuing with the strength of Godfall the builds that are offered are hindered heavily by the combat AI that was chosen in this game. Godfall aims to put you somewhere between Devil May Cry and Dark Souls. It offers quick combos and techniques but wants to punish you for getting greedy.
The end result was that the combat is too much brute force and not enough finesse. The enemies, in particular the tougher ones would have no way of staggering them (bar 1 quite rare ‘blue’ attack). They would have quick attacks that would combo together to stagger you or knock you down. A lot of the tougher melee enemies were relentless.
I felt that I was playing the game well (hard mode with only struggles at boss battles) as I would dodge into good positions but then the enemy would let out a delayed shockwave that would knock me down to prevent me taking advantage of my well timed doge.
So I went with the parrying instead. I’ve always been pretty naff at parrying but Godfall is pretty generous with it if you spec right. A perfect parry at best will offer a seconds grace, which if the parry doesn’t stun you, there’s a chance you can attack but most of the time it was unlikely as the enemy would recover in time.
Then you have the majority of the other enemies, ranged types or spellcasters that would do a good job of running away from you. As Godfall doesn’t really offer any good ranged options apart from a slow cooling shield throw this was a nightmare. Some weapons had a gap closer on cooldown to help but for a hack and slash game they made a lot of enemies fight at range.
I liked some of the big boss designs but again, poor choices made them feel gimmick-y. One boss near the end of the game is often surrounded by damaging fire, that adds a 15 second damage of time. Melee range was almost always a trade of. All boss range moves will typically track and track well at that. This boss in particular opened with a move that I must have seen 50 times (I purposely started again after getting hit by it) that would almost guarantee you start the fight with 50% health. I still don’t know how you actually avoid it. I tried running, dodge, block, parry with all different timing but no luck.
So yeah the combat you’re offered as a player feels good, but when you get in the later stages of the game there is a lack of reward for learning and executing the combat well. The game is just out to punish you at every single opportunity. This makes it frustrating and quickly not fun.
Another effort that I don’t think hits the right notes is the loot. I realised after about 1 or so hours I had seen most of the loot bar some legendary items. Apart from 1 or two stats, there aren’t that many assets in the game. Every item can be made legendary (so is there really any legendaries?) The 12 Valorplates (static sets of armour) ensure that the amount of loot offered is actually a small pool.
It also just never felt great as typically for the campaign you’ll be over-leveled until the last mission in the game (or at least I was and I didn’t grind). So the loot you end up finding is based on the level of the mission which is often 3-5 behind and therefore not relevant.
Finally, the campaign/ story is paper thin. You get an opening cinematic and then you have to rescue two other characters. The rest of the story is played out in lines of dialogue between these two in a small room (your base essentially).
The missions based on the story are VERY repetative. There was boss fights or ‘break the seals to proceed’. That’s it, that was the mission variation. So it was just hopping between them. Then endgame comes along and it’s just replaying old missions until you take on the tower of trials that is just a horde like mode to see how far you can get.
Anything else? Oh yeah, there’s no animation cancelling and missions will have you run 1000 meters just to start.
Truth is there are some small changes they can make to have the game feel ever so slightly better. Adding a notification to the slots you have new pieces in (and get rid of the armoury), mass salvage, unbinding items from Valourplates, mini-maps and get rid of the hidden stamina mechanic when running ( or spawn me closer than 1000m from my first objective),
But a second game could work extremely well. If they are ale to flesh out the story/ campaign more to keep you invested that would be a good start. Mission variety would naturally come when they do that and potential level variety.
Small tweaks to the combat AI would bring the combat to a level that would rival the greatest out there (God of War. Bloodborne for example). Adding more ranged options or ways to close the gaps is sorely needed.
Having more loot or scrapping the static Valourplates to give even more cosmetic freedom. I chose a plate that looked like Artorias that offered a weak-point buff because it looks like Artorias but weak-points was a good feature and allowed me to maximise one of hits.
Overall I want to feel like I’m still optimistic for Counterplays’s efforts and that they have some good things to build on and I’ll keep an eye out for the future of the game. For now this one will be forgotten it ever released with the best console I’ve played on.