Godfall Makes Me Question My Life Choices

I was about half an hour into Godfall when Seventh Sanctum, the mysterious floating head that advises you throughout the game, said “the high lord has teleported.” It was a line written and delivered so poorly that it hit home something about the entire experience — Godfall feels like a fictitious game you’d see someone playing in a show like Black Mirror. It’s so aggressively mediocre that it made me question not just my decision to continue playing, but the entire medium of video games and how I ever got caught up in working with them.

Godfall is a looter shooter, a genre of video game in which players shoot and kill enemies and then receive better guns with which to shoot and kill enemies. Here, however, your implements of destruction are melee weapons rather than firearms. Looter shooters are all about two things: the feel of the basic actions of the game and the fantasy of creating and outfitting your character. Godfall fails in both of these aspects.

A game like Destiny, for all its flaws, feels good to play. The basic actions of shooting and maneuvering around the space are satisfying and enjoyable whether you’re carrying out casual missions on your own or coordinating with your friends to take on a Raid. In Godfall, moving around the world feels like a chore. Your character is slow and clunky, dependent on context-sensitive commands to climb walls or leap across cross platforms. Combat itself feels like an awkward mix of a Souls game with long windups and input commitments and a more fluid character action game. In the place of a traditional dodge roll, you get a puny little dash that inexplicably sends your character spinning around like a top. It looks ridiculous and it feels all wrong.

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When you do manage to best some generic fantasy enemies, you’ll collect some loot. But Godfall manages to screw this up too, opting for the Borderlands approach of throwing a million different weapons at you with slightly different stats. That would be fine, except Godfall fumbles here too. Rather than letting you create a custom character or choose between a few different options, the game places you in the role of a faceless character named Orin trying to fight back against his evil brother. Again, that might be ok if he had any personality so that you developed an emotional connection to him. He doesn’t. The most interesting thing about him is that his voice changes when you equip the game’s different Valorplates, making him a kind of magical genderless entity.

Oh, and the Valorplates. These are different suits of magical armor you can equip to give Orin different abilities. They’re fantasy Warframes, from Warframe, except they’re generic medieval armors. The only design that sticks out at all in my memory is the one that looks like a moth. And whereas in Warframe equipping a different frame can radically change how you play the game — giving you powers over time, letting you heal your allies, letting you summon pets and so on — here the Valorplates feel more or less identical.

The Valorplates, the weapons, the world —  everything about the game feels almost antagonistic to me. It’s boring, annoying, and insulting to my intelligence. I don’t care about my character or the loot he’s amassing. None of it feels meaningful or compelling. Every time I go to load the game up again, I make it through another hour or so before quitting in disgust.

Godfall feels like a so-so action game that was forced into being a loot-based title at some point in development. It’s a fantasy game that wants to trade on its lore but seemingly couldn’t find room in the budget to pay anyone to write dialogue. It’s a looter shooter that doesn’t understand the core of the genre. It’s a launch title for a new console that doesn’t make a case for dropping several hundred dollars on it. It’s an on-rails, repetitive experience that feels like a bad joke.

In conclusion, Godfall is Knack 3.

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merritt k

Managing Editor, Podcasts

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