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Godfall Review

Godfall is a new loot-driven RPG from Counterplay Games. Acting as a major launch title for the PS5, it aims to offer players an experience filled with action, loot and satisfying RPG mechanics.

Verdict

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If you’re a diehard action RPG fan looking to kill some time with a game that doesn’t require a lot of thinking, then Godfall is a solid investment. Its core combat mechanics and familiar structure make it an easy game to dive in and out of without too much difficulty.

Pros

  • Solid and satisfying combat mechanics
  • Wealth of customisation options for your character
  • Huge potential for improvements in the months to come
  • A gorgeous visual showcase for the PS5

Cons

  • Story and exploration simply aren't very engaging
  • Far too forgiving and lacking in challenge

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £49.99
  • Platforms: PS5, PC (version tested)
  • Release Date: November 12, 2020
  • Genre: Action
  • Developer: Counterplay Games

Godfall is a new loot-driven RPG from Counterplay Games. Acting as a major launch title for the PS5, it aims to offer players an experience filled with action, loot and satisfying RPG mechanics.

But, unlike its clear inspiration, there’s a crucial difference: Godfall trades the genre’s standard sci-fi setting and arsenal of blasters for one of high fantasy and oversized swords. 

Intrigued? It’s certainly an interesting concept who wouldn’t want an RPG which trades the shooting mechanics of Destiny or Borderlands for Souls-like combat? On paper, Godfall has plenty of potential. 

And for the diehard fans of the genre who belligerently powered their way through the likes of Too Human, Lords of the Fallen and Kingdoms of Amalur, there is enough on show in Godfall to keep you entertained. But, make no mistake, while Godfall is a perfectly serviceable game, and more than pretty enough to justify being a PS5 launch title, it lacks the wow factor needed to label it as anything other than passable.

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Godfall

Let’s start with the positives. At its heart, Godfall is an action RPG in the same vein as Marvel’s Avengers. It places you in the shoes of a gloriously over-the-top hero, known in game as an Archon, called Orin who’s been kicked off the realm’s ivory tower, literally, and is on a quest to reclaim his former glory.

After a brief cutscene setting up the premise you’re sent on your merry way to slash, bash, tear and slice your way through a horde of enemies with the vague hope of getting some better gear in a series of missions that link together a fairly barebones storyline.

The combat mechanics feel like a carbon copy of a Souls game, but with a few additional changes to make the experience more accessible to casual players. Once you’ve picked which two weapons you want to use, core combat boils down to linking combos of light and heavy attacks, while blocking or dodging incoming threats. 

Variety comes from changing the type of weapon you use and activating one of a select few special attacks.These include weapon-specific special attacks, the ability to throw your shield at enemies and brutal takedowns.

Special attacks are super powerful weapon specific strikes that you activate by landing a series of concurrent attacks on your foes. Takedowns are special executions you can enact on foes that have been “breached”. This occurs when you land enough heavy blows to fill a yellow bar under their health, at which point they become vulnerable to a deadly attack. 

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Godfall

Early on the mechanics work well enough as Godfall does a decent job littering the levels with secret areas and treasure chests full of valuable Morphstones which offer new gear when you pick them up. Gear rarity is colour coded starting at grey as the least rare and going up to blues, purples and oranges, etc, after that. Each bit of gear has its own stats and special abilities which inform your character’s main attributes.

Once I’d bound my way through the tutorial level and broke into “The Sanctum” there’s also a wealth of cool features to enjoy and a variety of cool ways to further customise Orin.The biggest are which Valorplate and skills you want to use. Valorplates are the main big decision to make in the hub. They’re effectively an armour set that completely changes Erin’s super ability, base stats and appearance. 

Each is based on one of the mythical world’s 12 main archons. The super abilities aren’t quite as exciting as Destiny and tend to be limited to boosting your main stats for a brief window, making giant area-of-effect attacks or summoning, quite frankly useless, NPCs to your side, but they’re still an important factor.

The Valorplates also act as the main incentive to gather resources and explore side missions. Valorplates need to be unlocked using materials you’ll find around each missions’ map in chests and hidden areas. Once forged you then can further tweak their attributes using a diverse augment map themed around constellations. These add yet another means to adjust your character’s core stats and the nature of their attacks. 

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Godfall

The final layer of depth comes from your ability to edit core skills. Skill points are earned by leveling up your character and can be used to unlock more combos, special strikes and generally boost your core stats, which are split into might, vitality and spirit categories. Might improves weapon damage, vitality boosts your health while Spirit improves Life Stone recovery and special ability damage.

As an added bonus, you can reset the stats whenever you want, making it quick and easy to create custom loadouts for different Valorplates on the fly. For example, I created a loadout emphasising health and melee power using a Valorplate designed for defense to form a tank class.

Early on these mechanics do a good job giving Godfall the illusion of depth, especially given the open-world mission format and co-op support. The open map lists missions as being broken up into Story, Boss, Hunt and Unique mission types, each of which can be played with up to two other players. 

The Hunt battles in particular scream potential. They’re pitched as Monster Hunter-esque big boss hunts that require the extra muscle offered by human controlled teammates with specific, complimentary builds. There are moments of brilliance, and plenty of fun moments playing the game, but they never sing the way Raids in Destiny or big game hunts in Monster Hunter World do. 

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Godfall

Despite being clearly influenced by Souls combat, Godfall is fairly forgiving. Life Stones, which are effectively healing potions, top up fairly regularly and most of the enemies you kill drop green orbs that fix you up upon death. Godfall also makes things even easier by colour coding the attacks from dangerous enemies. Before any big strike you’ll be able to tell what sort of attack / damage it’ll do based on its colour. For example, if they start glowing red, they’re about to launch an unblockable knockdown attack. If they turn blue, you’re about to get stunned.

Fighting most enemies feel a little like painting by numbers. Even taking on bosses, which all have a number of high damage attacks, it’s all too easy to avoid each strike just by looking at what colour it’s glowing or taking a second to learn your foe’s attack pattern before diving in. Even if you do die, on everything but the hardest setting, the game lets you get away with it, respawning you close by and keeping a portion of the damage you’ve dealt to the boss in play.

This is a serious shame as combat does so well getting the basics right. Big hammer swings feel suitably heavy and give a real sense of impact and parrying an incoming attack with your shield is wonderfully satisfying. The second, is the sheer amount of grind Godfall expects from you between fun moments. Missions are full of secret areas and treasure chests ripe for the plundering, and early on the rewards they give are enough of an incentive. 

But as time goes on meandering from one end of the map to the other hoping to get the final bit of salvage you need to upgrade your weapon or unlock a new Valorplate becomes a serious bore. The majority of story missions also follow the tried and tested “go to this waypoint and do X action” format that got stale when the PS2 was all the rage. 

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Godfall

The third and final reason is the fact that the setting and story are so middle of the road. The characters all look like generic high fantasy heroes sporting giant armour with more RGB lighting than a fancy gaming laptop and brooding attitudes that will give even the sourest of teenagers a run for their money. 

Its narrative is also too vague to ever really connect. Without giving away any spoilers, Godfall’s plot follows the same flow as every other high fantasy story pitched to teenage boys in the last 50 years, following a hero’s noble attempt to save the world from an evil overlord. 

Despite its epic aspirations, the protagonist and villain’s relationship lacks depth and throughout the entire game I never felt any sense of urgency or compulsion to dig deeper into the world’s lore as a result. This is potentially the biggest reason I can’t see any player hanging around for the endgame party after the main story has run its course. The repetition isn’t aided by the level design, which games editor Jade King rightfully described as “so generic it’s the sort of thing TV shows use to show someone playing a video game”.

If you’re a diehard action RPG fan looking to kill some time with a game that doesn’t require a lot of thinking, then Godfall is a solid investment. Its core combat mechanics and familiar structure make it an easy game to dive in and out of without too much difficulty.

But, it doesn’t have enough depth to offer any real longevity in its current format, especially in the crowded market it targets. Borderlands 3 is more fun to play casually with friends and Destiny’s loot and multiplayer dynamics are infinitely more developed and fun if you’re after a game to play long term. If you want meaty melee combat then the Demon Souls Remake will also likely be a better option.

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