Godfall has pretty much dropped off the radar since it released last year. It was this shiny new PS5 launch title that was promptly panned by both critics and players alike. Well, when I got my PS5 back in February, it was actually the first game I got for it. Is it really that bad? Well, that’s debatable.
So, I’m going to be blunt. Godfall is yet another one of those games that tries to do a lot of things, but never really succeeds at any of them. This doesn’t necessarily make it an outright terrible game, but its barely going to be scraping by as an average one, let alone a good one.
The combat for example. It’s good in that hits have proper feedback and you can really feel it when you get hit or land a hit – the PS5 controller definitely helps out there too. However, it’s bad in that there isn’t really a lot of depth here. Yes, there’s a good amount of weapons to choose from and the variety offered by different suits and upgrades is nice, but when it comes down to it, all you’re really doing is repeating the same basic combo over and over.
This is no Nioh, it plays more like a Musou game but with even fewer combo strings. Musou games aren’t exactly known for their combat depth, so you can imagine how that feels here. And while I’m on the topic of Musou games – Godfall happens to borrow my least favorite thing from them: insanely structured and repetitive missions.
The missions mostly have you going through an area to meet up with a boss and promptly cut him down, killing numerous groups of enemies along the way. There’s a bit of optional exploration thrown in there, but the mission objective remains the same for most of the game. I won’t deny the boss fights can be pretty fun and some of them have some cool designs, but it’s not enough to carry the experience.
What you are left with is a series of levels that just come across as outright repetitive. And that’s before you consider the fact that the game literally has you run these same missions over and over to farm for material just to advance the main story. Yes, in order to actually open the gates to get to the major bosses, you need material not just from that boss’ area, but any previous area too. So, when I got to the third area’s boss, I had to go back to the first area, repeat a couple missions there to get material, go the second area and complete a couple missions there, and then finally to the third area to get material there.
The missions in each of these areas take place on the same level, so it’s essentially the game’s way of inflating its own playtime by recycling content you’ve already played through. In a way, the game is trying to encourage you to grind out materials so you can mess around with equipment and minmax, but if you’re not into that and just want to play a fun and NOT grindy action RPG, then Godfall isn’t it. Honestly, to me, it felt like it was trying to be something like Nioh, but without realizing what makes Nioh so good – Nioh doesn’t require you to repeat the same levels over and over, for example.
I will give the game some credit though – the levels themselves actually look great. The overall aesthetic goes a bit too hard on the color saturation, but there’s a nice amount of world detail, lighting, atmospheric effects, and the enemy variety isn’t that bad either. The soundtrack is also fine, but probably not something I’ll come back to.
The downside to this aesthetic though is performance – and if you’re playing on PS5, it’s enough of a reason in itself to avoid the game. This was supposed to be a launch title – something to showcase the new hardware and all of its capabilities. So yes, while it does look good, does that really count when it’s constantly dipping down to 30 fps or so? I’ll be in the middle of a fight or entering a new area and suddenly – BAM – 20 fps. For an action-heavy game like this, that is simply a no-go. And this is with the game running in performance mode – I can only imagine how terrible it would be at higher resolutions or on the upcoming PS4 release.
Another thing I noticed was that the game appears to always be online. I wouldn’t have noticed if it wasn’t for the numerous disconnect messages I would get in the middle of playing – which cover almost the entire screen, do NOT pause the game, and cannot be dismissed until connection is restored. So yes, that means you can take hits while these messages are displayed and can’t do anything about it. Why the devs decided to force the singleplayer content to be online is beyond me – it’s a growing trend in recent games that I hate to see.
And before I close out this review, I will give a mention to the story. It is on the lighter side, but what is there isn’t really that good. I was dumped into this world and thrown into this plot where it felt like I had missed hours of lore beforehand. The villain’s goal is the most straightforward thing possible, but hardly anything is explained about who these characters are, what this world is, and how anything works. It just kinda goes and you’re along for the ride.
Granted, this is a gameplay-first kinda game, so it’s not too big of a problem, but still felt like something I should note regardless. Once you beat that main story – around ten hours long – you get introduced to the endgame content. However, this content goes all out on the grinding and repetition, so that’s definitely not something to play the game for either.
Godfall is a mess of ideas thrown together – some of which work, but most of which do not. The combat, while fun at times, does not offer the depth necessary to really carry the experience through its repetitive missions. It may look good and have some decent music to back it up, but the gameplay loop is just not there – you can find far better in the genre for far less the price.
Quote: Godfall is a mess of ideas thrown together – some of which work, but most of which do not. The combat, while fun at times, does not offer the depth necessary to carry the game through its repetition
Godfall retails for $70 USD on the PlayStation Store. It is also available on PS4.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.