Not quite a God after all

Oh Godfall, I remember when I first saw this game announced. I was extremely excited, as melee combat is my jam and this self-described “looter-slasher” had me hopeful at what this could be. Launching in 2020 solely on the PC and PS5 with the latter it was said “Godfall was only possible on the PS5 console. Well, let’s fast forward to 2022 and survey says “That’s a lie”. Not only did developer Counterplay Games release the game for the PS4 family of consoles in 2021 but this review sees the game launching on the entire Xbox family of consoles including the aging Xbox One hardware as the complete Godfall Only possible on PlayStation 5 indeed, huh.

I do not know what I can add about the narrative of Godfall that hasn’t already been said. Is it lacking? Yes. Is it all over the place? Oh my GOD yes! But I will commend Counterplay Games, because they clearly heard all the complaints about this wafer-thin story, and they actually did something about it. In Godfall, players take on the mantle of Orin who must stop his brother from becoming a God and controlling the matrix of leadership or something. And players will do this by defeating his lieutenants first who are all powering him up with magic dust, thus making him weak enough to be stopped. Seriously, it is about as cookie-cutter as you can get, and I walked away wholly unimpressed when I played it on PC at launch.

MSRP: $39.99
Platforms: Xbox (reviewed), PlayStation, PC
Price I’d Pay: $29.99

Well with the Ultimate Edition (the originals will get this update for free) the developers have added cutscenes, and even some NPC’s to talk to that will expand on the story of Orin and Macros. Did they help at all though, well kind of? Yes, the interactions help to flesh out some things and help to make the world feel more populated at times (more on that in a minute) but the overall story is still bland and basic. Adding to this as Orin the player will switch from a male to a female voice depending on the Valorplate equipped which is odd. For instance, if players have played through the story for a while using the starter Silvermane Valorplate which has a male voice but then switch to say the Phoenix ‘plate you will be treated to a female voice with no explanation as to why. It was odd then and it is still odd now two years later.

Another odd design choice for this multiplayer, looter slasher game is the absolute absence of any form of quick matching. Yes, you in fact did read that correctly; currently we have games that are built around multiplayer and playing in coop but then omit the easiest way for most of us to play with others, unless you have a dedicated group of friends. Which speaking for us some men are hard to do with regularity with kids, spouses, and the overall randomness of this thing we call life. There are exceptions to every situation sure, but I am saying this could all just be so simple if they added a quick match function that will randomly place people together.

Now why would I be advocating so hard for a quick match after all the negativity about the narrative in Godfall? That is because the story might not rise to the heavens but let me tell YOU, when this combat fires on all cylinders it is truly divine. Combat has a ‘Monster Hunter’ feel to it, it is a heavier feeling combat that allows players to move around more fluidly when evading attacks. Weapons range from Swords and Dual Blades for those that wanna be fast, or Hammers for folks who like to bring the pain, but there are also polearms for players who like to attack for a safer range. Godfall allows players to equip two of these weapons and encourages them to switch between them frequently. In the skill tree players will find a node for ‘polarity’ and what this does is as you dish out pain with your primary weapon, your secondary will charge up. Once fully charged, swapping to the charged weapon will emit a shockwave that will damage and can inflict ailments (poison, curse, bleed etc) on any unfortunate enemies in its wake. Now begin attacking with this weapon and charge the primary and bring the pain again.

As players cut down swarths of enemies and explore the various elemental realms they will of course finds tons and tons of loot. Or their enemies and chests will explode in a shower of sparkly bits and bobs of various uses. Larger orbs indicate loot and come in the standard rarities of common to legendary denoted by their color with grey being common and orange being the stuff of legends. There is of course an underlying currency and various other materials that will be needed to craft and upgrade weapons and Valorplates. You are asking what a ‘Valorplate’ is, well it’s the armor that the Knights wear. Each Valorplate varies as far as usefulness and abilities, with some being more for tanking damage and others for dishing it out. My only issue with the suits themselves is while there are lots of different weapons, each with various looks the suits themselves cannot be changed. There are skins that can be earned which will change the color or if you are truly goated make you shine like a diamond for completing some of the game’s tougher challenges.

These games live and die by their gameplay loop, and while the combat is solid in Godfall the biggest problem is going to come from being able to enjoy Endgame. If you have a dedicated group like I said you will not have any issues, but for everyone else either you will have to attempt things solo or you will have to use Discord or the Xbox Group Finding tool to find others to tackle the games hardest content. With the Ultimate Edition another one of the many extras that come with it is the new Spirit Realm events which I think will be a hit with folks. In this new game mode six players will work together to clear levels in an attempt to unlock a gate to face off against a boss for epic loot. It is the sub-systems at play that I think will really attract people, as this essentially works like a traditional roguelike game. During each run players can find colored orbs that corollate to their damage, health, and mana. These can be deposited in alters that will make the combat challenge more difficult but will reward players with better loot when its complete. Once the boss is vanquished, players are free to start over with their boons intact and try for even better gear. This will add to the overall replayability of Godfall I think, but the addition of I do not know some sort of quickmatch system would have done this mode wonders.

One thing that Godfall absolutely has going for it, then and now is it is a beautiful game graphicly. Each of the realms are beautiful in their own rite but for me the Water realm is by far the most attractive. The turquoise water, to the distant waterfalls and colorful vegetation no one can say that Godfall has a one note color palette. But it goes beyond that, the metal from armor, the steel of a sword, all the metallic surfaces reflect light realistically. Which is another good thing about Godfall, and that is it’s a very bright game. I know we see games using a lot of drab colors, but Godfall is the total opposite. Battles will be a flurry of effects, and flashes from swords crossing, and abilities being triggered but even with all the chaos the framerate remained solid (I played in 120hz mode for most of my time with Godfall); which is a remarkable sight when battles get going.

So why should anyone pick this up on Xbox 2 years after release and middling reviews later? Because despite the weak narrative, and the severe and UTTER LACK of a proper Quick-Match function Godfall’s combat is the star of this show. People will come for the flashy and extremely attractive graphics, but I guarantee if players enjoy melee combat games that they will stay for the combat. And something that the game does really tell players is that it is entirely possible to boost your character to level 50 and unlock all the end game fun. It is still possible to play through the story if you do this, but it will be a tad harder since you are level 50 and thus all the tutorial type difficulty will be gone. The game warns against this before committing but unless you really want to experience going from 1 to 50; id advise to take the leap and join us in the endgame. With all the improvements, Godfall Ultimate Edition feels like just that; with all the previously released DLC and expansions this is truly the ultimate experience for anyone who desires to take down a would-be God.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Combat is King
  • Graphically beautiful
  • Spirit Realm is a good addition
  • Narrative is still the weakest part of the experience
  • No Quick Match option in 2022
  • Cant customize the look of Valorplates
Written by
Terrence spends his time going where no one has gone before mostly. But when not planning to take over the galaxy, he spends his time raising Chocobo and trying to figure out just how the sarlaac could pull Boba Fett’s ship with its engines firing FULL BLAST into it’s maw with relative ease; yet it struggled with Han Solo who was gripping *checks notes* SAND!