It's been fascinating watching the saga of Gearbox's "looter-slasher" Godfall unfold. This multiplayer-focused action RPG was initially positioned as a premiere launch exclusive for PlayStation 5. Counterplay CEO Keith Lee even specifically cited the advantages of developing solely for PlayStation's latest hardware. Unfortunately, despite being a technical showcase of the possibilities of "next-gen" technology, the less-than-glowing launch and mediocre critical reception damaged the widespread appeal of Godfall.
To bolster the audience and correct the negative perceptions of the game, Counterplay and Gearbox Games have worked to deliver meaningful updates and bring this struggling title to a host of other platforms, including PS4 and, most recently, Xbox and Steam. Godfall Ultimate Edition includes the base game and the Fire & Darkness expansion for a drastically lower price than its launch on PS5. Ultimately, many players wonder whether aggressive pricing and new platform launches are enough to reinvigorate this multiplayer action game.
After some initial skepticism and an incredibly underwhelming experience with the baffling Godfall Challenger's Edition offered with PlayStation Plus a few months back, I've spent the last several days really sinking my teeth into the game's campaign. With roughly 12 hours of playtime so far, there's still a great deal I need to see and discover, and there are some apparent issues I'm hoping are addressed as I get deeper into the core loop. Still, my time with some friends in Godfall Ultimate Edition on Xbox has been genuinely more enjoyable than I expected.
What Godfall Ultimate Edition gets right
From a visual standpoint, Godfall is absolutely stunning. The lush environments are dripping with detail and vibrant, eye-catching colors. Falling leaves and other ambient flourishes add intoxicating elements to every moment of gameplay. While there are some cliché RPG tropes when it comes to enemy and character designs, like wieldy armor and goblin-esque creatures, it's clear the team at Counterplay put in the work to ensure the graphical quality of Godfall delivered on its "next-gen" promises.
So far, I've only seen a handful of the seemingly diverse biomes in Godfall, but each one has been a feast for the eyes. The Earth area is filled with cherry blossom-inspired trees and lush foliage. In contrast, the Water zone features towering coral structures and other aquatic niceties. This action RPG also introduces an interesting dimensional dynamic that allows players to exist between two planes, each with vastly different color palettes. Discovering the distinct and wildly stylized locales in Godfall has been one of my favorite aspects of playing the game.
For fans of hack 'n' slash titles like Devil May Cry or even God of War, Godfall provides consistently satisfying combat. The moment-to-moment gameplay is fun, flashy, and responsive. Skill trees also allow players to unlock new abilities and enhance their combos, which helps enrich the depth of combat progression. The satisfying explosions of particle effects, carefully crafted controller vibration patterns, and over-the-top finishing moves supply plenty of engaging combat encounters.
Another area Godfall succeeds, where other genre counterparts like Anthem failed, is the "loot" component of the looter equation. This self-proclaimed looter-slasher offers a tremendous and, more importantly, consistent amount of gear and rewards. Enemies randomly drop loot, there are numerous chests scattered around environments, and completing missions guarantees an assortment of specific goodies. Godfall does a fantastic job feeding my lizard brain shiny objects, and that delivers a satisfying and tangible sense of progression every time you play. I might not use 80% of the gear I collect, but I never felt like my time playing the game was wasted.
What Godfall Ultimate Edition gets wrong
While I've been thoroughly impressed by the gorgeous visuals, compelling combat, and shiny loot of Godfall, there are certainly some fundamental problems with the game's design. The first and most egregious stems from Godfall's gameplay feeling overwhelmingly formulaic. It's a video game-ass video game where so many gameplay decisions seem entirely dictated by the ideas established by other video games. Godfall has considered the failings of some of the looters that came before it, but doesn't bring anything obviously original to the table.
The stages, while undeniably beautiful, are mechanically dull and somewhat repetitive. Much of the exploration involves sprinting from one sprawling corridor to another, with the end objective involving killing a group of enemies. Many of the more significant moments in the campaign missions also act as glorified horde mini-games, where you're tasked with collecting resources while killing waves of incoming creatures. None of these systems is inherently offensive, but even early on, they seem unnecessarily redundant.
Another unfortunate issue I have with Godfall stems from character customization. Players can unlock 12 unique Valorplates, which fundamentally alter the look of your character. Unfortunately, you have limited options for expressing yourself with those Valorplates. Outside of an assortment of varying color palates, you don't have the opportunity to swap armor pieces or add accessories to these Valorplates. This restrictive system for player expression has made my friends and me look remarkably similar for the first 12 hours of the game. There are also no emotes in Godfall Ultimate Edition, which should be a cardinal sin in modern multiplayer titles.
Is Godfall Ultimate Edition worth your time?
Your interest in Godfall Ultimate Edition will likely hinge on whether or not you're currently absorbed by any of the other major looters in the space right now. If you're someone who's been diving headfirst into Destiny 2: The Witch Queen or even the latest updates to Marvel's Avengers, I would probably recommend you simply keep playing those titles. However, if you're looking for something fresh to play with a couple friends on Xbox, there are definitely some nuggets of greatness to uncover with Godfall Ultimate Edition.
When I first decided to give Godfall another try, I wasn't sure how far I'd make it. I half-expected to play the game for a few days and never come back to it. But after several 2-3 hour sessions with some good buddies, I think we are planning on seeing the game through. Godfall Ultimate Edition has managed to deliver enough worthwhile incentives to have compelled me to continue progressing through the campaign. The further I get, the more I'm starting to fixate on what the end-game loop could potentially look like.
Godfall Ultimate Edition doesn't break any monumental ground in the co-op multiplayer space, but it scratches a specific itch. Fans of fast, fluid content and Diablo-inspired randomized gear drops will feel very comfortable with this offering from Counterplay. It's probably not one of the best RPGs on Xbox, and I don't know that this soft relaunch of Godfall will do enough to pull in a massive audience of new players, but I'm pretty content with the current state of the game based on what I've played so far. And if you're morbidly curious, Godfall Ultimate Edition is currently discounted to $30 as part of the Microsoft Store Spring Sale.
A flashy looter-slasher
A new way to play
Godfall Ultimate Edition is now available on Xbox and Steam. The latest version of this multiplayer action RPG provides all the content so far, for one discounted price.
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Miles Dompier is a Freelance Video Producer for Windows Central, focusing on video content for Windows Central Gaming. In addition to writing or producing news, reviews, and gaming guides, Miles delivers fun, community-focused videos for the Windows Central Gaming YouTube channel. Miles also hosts Xbox Chaturdays every Saturday, which serves as the Windows Central Gaming weekly podcast.