Whenever the new generation of consoles comes out, all the early games tend to follow the same aesthetic. PlayStation 2 had the full-matte vibe, PlayStation 3 had the wet-clay Unreal Engine look, and PlayStation 4 had the painful overdone motion blur, chromatic aberration, and glare. And now, as we are stepping into the quote-on-quote next gen, a new challenger has stepped up – in the form of the ultra-shiny, baby oil coating. And Godfall, one of PlayStation 5’s launch titles, follows that aesthetic to a T – which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Godfall, which is Counterplay’s newest and first creation, is incredibly shiny and that is not necessarily due to the engine which the studio has used, like it was back in the day with Unreal Engine, but more so because of the art direction. Most games tend to use realistic art directions set within pre-created universes, IPs, or genres – hence why many games appear to be familiar, or in some cases even realistic. However, Counterplay has chosen to step away from the norm, and went for a setting, which has allowed the studio to utilise a combination of environments, art, and character modelling, which is rather unique – to say the least.
Throughout, Godfall is based around two main materials. Metal, which comes in all different colours, textures, and shines; and stone, which just like metal, varies from location to location. While there is a fair amount of variety for all of the above, then they all have one thing in common, which is that they give out more shine than Tyson Fury’s head in the middle of Nevada desert. Counterplay has done its best to break up metal and marble laden adventure with greenery, and other shrubs, but no matter how you spin it, the shine is always there.
I for one have enjoyed Godfall’s aesthetic. It is both fairly unique, and features more interesting and captivating ideas than all of the games which Ubisoft has put out in the last 10 years. But just like Marmite, or crystal meth, it is not for everybody. So, if you are one of those rats picky customers, then perhaps Godfall may not be right up your street. But if you are not the one to whine, and shake your fist at the sky whenever something isn’t done exactly your way, then I am more than confident in saying that you are going to have a swell time with Godfall.
In recent years, I have somewhat fallen out of love with the Soulslikes. NIOH, felt to me like a fan made project with no heart or soul. Sekiro, while being great, was incredibly predictable, and in turn immensely easy. The Surge 2 alongside with Mortal Shell, were so incredibly boring, that I wish I could bin them completely off of my PlayStation library. And when I heard the internet mugs, or rather ‘games media’ calling Godfall soulslike, I was ready to punt it into a nearest skip. But now after spending some time with it, I’m disappointed that I didn’t get it day one.
In some aspects, Godfall is fairly similar to games like Sekiro, as it is centred around blistering pace, and punishing difficulty. But unlike From’s last venture, Godfall features levels of customizability unprecedented for the subgenre. From skills, through abilities, all the way down to weapons, trinkets, and amulets, everything can be customized. And even a slightest change can completely alter your playstyle, and effectiveness. And an alteration as small as a change of an ability, or an amulet, can make or break you. As past the prologue, Godfall ramps things up to 10, and proceeds to ramp them up to 100 as you make your way to the final credits.
In Dark Souls, you’d be lucky to fight four enemies at the same time, whereas in Godfall you’d be considered lucky if you came across a group of hostiles lesser than 10. Because from start to finish, this particular title throws at you everything, even a kitchen sink. But what is great about it, is that it doesn’t do that mindlessly. As every encounter features numerous enemies, of many types, who all act differently.
Some groups will feature just melee combatants, but they will all exhibit different behaviours. Some will act as tanks, which will just get in your face, and take everything you give them, just to give the more agile hostiles a chance to flank you, and stab you in the back. That alone may not be that impressive, then as you go along, the number of hostiles and their types will continue to grow. So initial melee only skirmishes will lead to melee and ranged, then into melee, ranged, and magical, then the game will throw in hostile buffs and debuffs, necromancers, and so on and so forth.
The variety in combat alone is great, but what elevates it to another level, is that hostile AI also differs from one enemy race to another. Some ranged enemies will give you some breathing room by only taking sure shots from static positions, others on the other hand will swarm you with projectiles, and move with you while tracking your every step. And this puts you in a rather exciting spot, where you do not just have to learn the core combat against all enemies, but also their movement, and how to counter it.
If I had the time, I could talk about Godfall’s combat for hours on end. It is not necessarily ground-breaking, as it doesn’t reinvent the wheel in any way, shape, or form. But it takes what’s great about the so-called Soulslikes, and improves upon it sixfold. In all honesty, I’ve enjoyed Godfall much more than the vast majority of Soulslikes which I have played in the last three years or so and I was able to do so in stable 60FPS without any crashing, because unlike some games – namely DIRT 5, and Cyberpunk 2077 – Godfall is smooth as glass, at least now that it has been patched a couple of times.
When it comes to negatives, or rather a negative, then all that can really be said, is that the story of Godfall is not exactly a page turner. Sure it’s there, and the game is constantly peppering in some dialogue and cutscenes, but if I were to describe the story of Godfall to save my life, I would just have to tell them to just pull the trigger, because for the life of me, I can barely remember a thing. But in my defence, I can say the same thing about every single post-Demon’s Souls FromSoftware game, which for me at least, levels the playing field massively.
To summarise, all that really has to be said about Godfall, is that just like Killzone: Shadow Fall, it is likely going to be forgotten, once next-gen, or rather current-gen titles will start coming out thick and fast. And if you happen to own a PlayStation 5, I highly recommend this rather hidden gem, which has unfairly flown under many people’s radar. And before you ask, yes, I would choose Godfall over Demon’s Souls any day. Because for one, I’m not a pretentious mug games journalist, and unlike Demon’s Souls, Godfall is actually a fun and engaging game. And if I could turn back time, just like Cher, I would have purchased Godfall over Demon’s Souls at launch, which unlike Counterplay’s epic, I haven’t touched since day one.
Game Review: Godfall was last modified: January 14th, 2021 by Kamil
+ Great and Engaging Combat
+ Fantastic, Every Increasing Difficulty Curve
+ Performance is Smooth as Glass
+ Visually Impressive
- If You Enjoy a Story Heavy Games, Godfall is Not For You
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