The Scenic Route To Death

HIGH A very pretty hub world.

LOW Stiff and clunky combat.

WTF Dodging, parry, and running on the same button?!

As Arlan approaches the cave entrance with his fellow Viking survivors, a shiver runs up his spine. He has seen this stone door before, and he knows what lies beyond — because he has seen it in his nightmares. The god Carnoccus calls out to him, taunting him to enter his realm, but Arlan knows that if he walks through the archway before him, he might not walk back out.

Gods Will Fall is an isometric third-person adventure game with roguelike elements. The player controls a group of randomly-generated Vikings who are shipwrecked on an island. There has been a struggle of power between these gods and mankind, and these survivors are the last hope humanity has of defeating the gods and getting out from under their power.

Each of these survivors has their own backstories, fears, and abilities. Some can run faster than others, while some thrive in certain climates like desert or water areas. They can use a variety of weapons such as swords, spears, and hammers. They even have relationships with each other — I had a pair of lovers once, and had two brothers another time. Unfortunately, none of them survived.

The island is a large, open area for the player to explore. There isn’t anything to find in this hub world, but the sights to see are pretty. From large trees and water pools to dry grass and desert sand, each area gives a hint of what the player will encounter when they enter a god’s realm.

These realms are accessed via stone doorways that are scattered throughout the hub. Each realm is thematically different, but ultimately the player faces off against the same enemy types. Foes all wear tribal attire, adorned with face masks and large clubs or spears.

Defeating these enemies can chip away at a god’s health bar before they arrive at the fight, but if the Vikings fall in a god’s realm, they will not return to the hub world. They either die outright, or become a prisoner. If captured, the only way to save them is to send in another Viking to beat the area and the god with it. The risk here is that there is also no way of leaving a realm partway through. If entered, the Viking must finish it or fall.

The formula here looks good on paper, but the issue is that combat in Gods Will Fall feels clunky. Characters have a light and a heavy attack, but every swing feels incredibly inaccurate thanks to the lack of a lock-on mechanic. There is a parry ability available by pressing the dodge button at the perfect timing while running towards an enemy, but I found it impossible to master.

I reviewed Gods Will Fall on PC, but using a controller is an absolute necessity as the game only gives keyboard support, with no remapping to the mouse at all — without a controller, my hand got cramped and it was a frustrating experience.

I was able to reach the end of each gods’ realm and faced off against each of them, but not once did I defeat one. Eventually, after a series of losses, I would be so low on available Vikings that I would end up having to abandon the run and start the game over again from scratch, which quickly killed any desire to carry on.

Gods Will Fall has some striking visuals and the randomly-generated characters with their varied stories and abilities are great, but the frustrating, sloggy combat, repetitive nature of play, and the lack of any sort of exploration or value in the hub area is disappointing. The developers have already released a road map for more content in the future, but let’s hope they polish the combat first. 

Rating: 4 out of 10

— Cody Bolster

Disclosures: This game is developed by Clever Beans and published by Deep Silver. It is currently available on XBO/X/S, PS4/5, Switch, and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PC. Approximately 7 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was not completed. There are no multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated T and contains Blood and Violence. The official description reads as follows: This is an action game in which players control eight Celtic warriors as they explore dungeons and battle evil gods. From a ¾ overhead perspective, players explore cave-like dungeons while battling human-like enemies and fantastical creatures in melee combat. Characters use swords, spears, clubs, and special attacks to kill enemies and giant boss creatures. Some weapons can be thrown at enemies, resulting in impalements. Combat can be fast-paced and is highlighted by cries of pain, impact sounds, and blood-splatter effects.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game offers subtitles. The subtitles cannot be altered or resized.

Remappable Controls: Yes, this game offers remappable controls, but on PC there is no basic mouse support. On a controller, it is fully remappable.

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