It’s that time of year! Well, time of decade, really. Y’know, the time when new consoles start launching. If you find yourself picking up a PlayStation 5, you’re probably going to want some games to play on it as well. With that in mind, you’ve got a few options, such as the stellar Spider-Man: Miles Morales and a remade entry in the long-running Souls series. How about Godfall, though, the latest hack-and-slasher from Borderlands vets Gearbox? Well…
Sibling rivalry’s tough, huh? Orin knows all about that. Their brother Macros has turned evil and they’re trying to conquer the world! Orin’s only hope is to power up the Seventh Sanctum, an AI-controlled fortress, and take the fight to Macros. There’s several magical realms separating the two, though, and there’s plenty of baddies in those realms, so you can guess where this is going: lots of murder, courtesy of Orin.
Orin will go about their quest by exploring modular dungeons, killing everything in sight and solving simple puzzles. If you run across an enemy you’ll probably want to beat them up! Use light and and heavy attacks to do this; light attacks deal additional Soulshatter damage that doesn’t actually count until the enemy is “popped” with a heavy attack, which is a neat idea and possibly the most creative thing Godfall does. Orin can also parry and dodge attacks, with the game encouraging a brawling-focused style where the player stays up close thanks to the default dodge being a very short-ranged shuffle.
Puzzles, meanwhile, are largely simple affairs where Orin needs to use Eagle Vision from Assassin’s Creed to look for stuff that they’ll then go kill or activate in exchange for rewards.
Doing this results in piles and piles of randomly-generated loot. That might sound interesting, but in reality it’s mostly non-visible accessories like rings and amulets that add to one of three primary stats as well as the typical percentage-based bonuses. You can find randomly-generated weapons as well, but these boil down to several classes – longswords, greatswords, dual daggers, hammers and polearms – and each weapon within a class plays pretty much like the others of its class. Gear can be upgraded and, to a minor extent, customized, with this mostly turning out to be adding higher numbers or tiny percentages to different stats rather than doing a lot to change how you play.
Along with your gear and a pair of swappable weapons, you can customize your character by choosing one of several Valorplates, which determine Orin’s appearance and voice as well as offering a minor passive buff and a super mode available on a very long cooldown. Unlike Warframe, the clear inspiration for this aspect of Godfall, Valorplates don’t do much to change the way that you play the game. There’s no active powers or anything associated with them aside from that super mode, and while you can add in some mods from your endless mountain of randomly-generated loot, these are just further +3% Girthiness-type buffs that have been failing to impress since the early days of World of Warcraft.
Really, if you’re being ideal, you just want to pick the Valorplate that best matches your current gear. If you’ve got weapons and accessories that add Shock, use the Shock Valorplate; if they add Burning, use the Burning one and so on. One unintended benefit to this is that you can also largely just choose whichever Valorplate you think looks cool and use that one without feeling like you’re missing out on too much.
The primary choice that determines how your character plays is your selection of weapon. Your options range from fast-but-weak, the dual daggers, to slow-but-powerful, the hammer, and the nonstop intake of loot means that you’ll probably end up swapping between them fairly often. You can add additional combat options using a skill tree as well, and some of the options there are actually more exciting than +5% Swoleness, like a life drain attack or special shield-slamming abilities. In a nice touch, you can respec at any time, but this mostly encourages the player to respec early and often to match their skills up to the weapons they’re finding or the Valorplate they’re currently using. Likewise, while Godfall features a full suite of multiplayer options, you’re basically just getting some friends together to do the same things as one another. It’s better than playing alone, but not exactly a game-changer.
Along with looking like Warframe, Godfall…well, looks a lot like Warframe. There’s no other way around it. You fight enemies that look like they’re from Warframe in Warframe-esque environments while piloting a character that looks like they’re in a Warframe. At least Warframe looks nice, and so does Godfall, though the former does tend to run a little bit better. It’s also got fewer bugs. Godfall, meanwhile, likes to get the character caught on treasure chests – something that still happens every so often despite a patch to address it – and has goofy animation issues here and there. Godfall probably could have used a couple more months in the oven, really.
The bottom line here is that Godfall finds itself in the unenviable position of being just an okay game in a market where it’s surrounded by fantastic games. Despite the bugs, the repetitive combat and the extremely underwhelming loot, it’s difficult to say that Godfall is entirely not worth playing. It’s much easier, however, to say that it’s hard to weigh the time you’d spend playing Godfall against similar and superior titles like Borderlands 3, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla or even the free-to-play Genshin Impact. Some patching might help, but as it stands, Godfall falls behind the rest of the industry.