REVIEW | Godfall – Hack ‘n splash

17 November 2020 - 14:43
By Darryn Bonthuys
Godfall is a brand-new, next-gen looter-slasher, set in a bright fantasy universe filled with heroic knights and arcane magic.
Image: Supplied Godfall is a brand-new, next-gen looter-slasher, set in a bright fantasy universe filled with heroic knights and arcane magic.

Every console generation kicks off with that one game, that feels like a justification for curing technolust with an injection of cash. The Xbox One had Ryse: Son of Rome, The PlayStation 4 had Killzone: Shadowfall, and now its successor has Godfall. On the surface, it’s a face-melting explosion of next-gen graphical features. Towering buildings shimmering in ray-traced lights, the clash of steel on steel producing a thousand particle effects and character models boasting impossibly-rendered details.

Beneath that surface though? There’s not a whole lot to scratch away at. Godfall has a few solid ideas at its core, but it’s also the kind of game that you’d see on episode of CSI: Miami when a forensics team investigates a video game studio for murder. All style and very little substance. It’s a shame because there’s a lot to like about the game.

Godfall (1)

It bills itself as a revolutionary loot ‘n slasher while conveniently forgetting that games such as Darksiders and Diablo were perfecting that formula long before it hit the scene, looking like the bastard child of those two franchises after they spent a night forming the armoured knight with two backs. You’re thrust into a hunt for the dread villain of the tale named Macros the Betrayer, a number of his trusted lieutenants stand in your way and something something else about the lore, I can’t really say. I pretty much lost focus because I was having my eyes stabbed out with the aforementioned gorgeous visuals.

Godfall (4)

What Godfall does get right though, is its action focus. As the armoured lion of the game, you’re able to hack ‘n slash through a variety of enemies, juggle overt offense with subtle parries, and dip into your inner Captain America by hurling your shield between opponents when you’re not using it to defend yourself at the very last second.

Godfall (3)

There’s a lot to like here, with the combat feeling as decadent as the décor around you and experimenting with styles of play through your acquired skills, Valorplates, and arsenal of weapons that can reduce enemies into a pile of bloody giblets is a fantastic foundation on which to which to do some trial and terror in your old-school journey.

Godfall (2)

Unfortunately what’s built on top of that foundation isn’t nearly as well-thought out as the action setpieces that define Godfall. For starters there’s a clumsy user interface pulled straight from the early 2000s, regularly disrupting the flow of gameplay with a myriad of sub-menus that are haphazardly thrown together.

Godfall (5)

And for a game which has you grinding away for more weapons, armour sets with a zoo animal theme, and more skills, Godfall’s focus on mindless push-forward action leaves little room for digging into the stats of its gear and working out the perfect min-max setup for an encounter. It all comes together to form a game’s just frightfully dull after the first hour has rolled by and the vacuous appeal has outstayed its welcome.

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