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As you'd expect from a launch title of a new console generation, Godfall is stunning. I mean just utterly stunning to look at. It embraces and unleashes the graphical capabilities of the PlayStation 5 to create an, at times, overwhelming peek into what the next generation of gaming can, and will, look like.
Godfall is also quite dull. While it's certainly pretty, that does not mean it's interesting, with a ho-hum story and monotonous combat. Worn quite brazenly on its sleeve are ideas lifted from Destiny, from Warframe, from Dark Souls and from God Of War.
On paper, that all sounds pretty neat. I'd love to play a game that mixes the best elements from all those titles into a big, genre-bending melting pot - because who wouldn't? What it does with these inspirations (as we'll call them) though is not particularly exciting, and that kinda sucks.
Godfall positions itself as a looter-slasher. You loot, you slash. Simple enough. But where it trips up is in making the looting more fun than the slashing. We've seen this idea of finding shiny things being more important than gameplay before, of course - especially towards the tail end of the current generation, with games like Anthem and Marvel's Avengers. All style and no real substance.
What Godfall really reminds me of is Ryse: Son Of Rome - a hack-and-slash launch title for the Xbox One that was everybody's favourite game for about a week until literally anything else was available to play. Was it inherently bad? No, it had some nice ideas and made the Romans cool again. That is since Year 8 History taught us about the Barbarian tribes absolutely bodying Rome. I'm sure many people remember it quite fondly (Ryse that is, not the fall of the Roman Empire), but it certainly didn't live up to the lofty expectations of a first-party launch title.
Before I go any further, I should point out that Godfall isn't a first-party exclusive - it is also available for PC, where it similarly looks gorgeous, but carries the same problems with dull gameplay. But let's not also forget that it was quite heavily marketed as the first PlayStation 5 title, so I think we can afford to be lenient with the term.
So is this a curse destined to be carried by all first-born console games, to be remembered by the history books for their utter mediocrity? Well, maybe. But, they also represent the first step on a journey towards eventual greatness.
What Godfall is, then, is a conduit for gamers to travel through in order to understand the potential of the PlayStation 5. Look past the tired and repetitive gameplay and non-existent story (though this seems to be by design, to speed the gameplay along) and instead realise the potential of the world that's been created.
And this is only the start of what we're going to see this generation. Imagine what Sony's own first-party games will look and play like in a year from now, two years, five. When developers have fully learned the inner workings of the technology they've been given and know how to bend it to their will, we'll begin to see what's really possible.
While it undoubtedly stumbles in its own performance, providing an experience that's just good but not great, Godfall has laid the foundations for the games being made by developers right now.
In the end, Godfall is a launch game that feels designed by a committee. A series of check boxes for 'things gamers like' and rushed out of the door to give people something to play on launch day. But we'd do well to remember that it walked so future games can run, and for that, I think it can be commended.
Featured Image Credit: Gearbox
Topics: PlayStation 5
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