Review: Gods Will Fall
Gods Will Gall, the single-player hack and slash, dungeon crawler, dark fantasy action-RPG developed by Clever Beans, was first brought to my attention at an event I attended in late 2020. At that time, I remember thinking that if the game could deliver on the promises made by its creators, it would be a very fun experience.
Now that I have gotten a chance to play it, I feel that I was correct. Gods Will Fall has a lot of entertaining features to offer fans of the genre, but whether or not those offerings are presented in the best way is what I would like to explore.
Developed by Clever Beans and published by Deep Silver, Gods Will Fall was released on January 29th, 2021, for PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and Stadia. The PS4 version was played for this review.
The premise of Gods Will Fall is very reminiscent of God of War, except this time, it’s eight warriors thirsting for revenge against their abusive gods. The opening cinematic showcases some of these abusive behaviors and how they led to a call to action by the oppressed. Unfortunately, by the time we gain control of our protagonists, we learn that a terrible storm generated by the angry gods destroyed their ships and killed most of their friends.
It’s worth noting that as a history buff, it’s easy to love this game’s premise. All of the characters, backgrounds, and dungeons were inspired by Celtic mythology, a detail that Clever Beans was very successful in weaving in. Supplemental information is sprinkled throughout the dungeons in the form of skeletons with notes attached to them, making it a worthwhile endeavor to check every nook and cranny. I definitely had my share of fun trying to learn as much as I could about the world’s lore.
Finally, let’s talk about Gods will fall and its story’s twist. Your protagonists, their stats, weapons, and background are all randomly generated, a trend that continues throughout the game, including resets. So, not only do you never start out with the same eight characters, but each character comes with changing personal stories and relationships.
Some characters can bond and become close while waiting for one of their friends to come out of a dungeon, or they can already know each other from before the shipwreck. They can even have a personal vendetta against a specific god and vice versa. I found that this made me feel more OK with having to start over from scratch whenever I lost all my warriors. It also made me want to keep going to learn more about their stories. It is a well implemented feature and, while there is some crossover on the scenarios (some story elements do repeat but not on the same character), it didn’t happen often enough where I felt bored by the repetitiveness.
Gods Will Fall is a difficult game. I remember during the live-stream event in 2020, Clever Beans’ lead designer, Mark Wherrett, mentioned that the game is meant to get easier as the player gets more comfortable with the controls and fights, and this was certainly the case for me. Still, even with hours under my belt, I found myself being forced to start over quite a few times.
How the game is played is pretty straightforward. You start by deciding which warrior will be sent in to the dungeon and, once inside, you fight through enemies until you reach the boss room. Offensive loadout is pretty standard, with regular and heavy attacks, dodges, and parries. The most important of the four is parry, as the key to survival is to get hit as little as possible. Not only do enemies hit hard, but the only way to recover HP is to generate bloodlust from hitting them, so being able to dodge their attacks will ensure you complete the dungeon in one piece.
In the event that your first warrior falls in battle, you can rescue them by sending a different character in to defeat the boss. There is no time limit, so this process can be repeated until you run out of characters, or you can move on and come back later when you’re stronger. Meals for HP recovery and other useful items are scattered throughout the dungeons and given as rewards for defeating bosses, but these are not guaranteed.
You can also have some fun with the combat by picking up weapons thrown or dropped by enemies and hurling them back at them to catch them off guard. This requires some aim though so it’s kind of hard to do in a pinch.
Gods Will Fall does the dungeon crawler genre justice. Each hand-crafted dungeon is unique and has its own set of features to keep you entertained. For example, Boadannu’s lair features a fight against enemies on a raft, while Morrigan’s has a forge mechanic that can either strengthen or break your weapon depending on RNG. The catch is that you have no idea how hard a dungeon is unless you enter it, so you can easily lose a character just for making the wrong choice.
One of the only things I don’t like about the combat system is that it can feel like it drags on at times. The enemies don’t have a lot of variety, so you often find yourself fighting the same creatures and it can get repetitive. It doesn’t help that most of the areas are linear. Luckily, this is saved by the interesting and often gorgeous dungeon designs.
Also, I hate the fact that you can fall off of ledges or into water and this counts as an automatic death and your warrior is lost. I have clumsy fingers. It isn’t fair!
I was actually quite surprised at how beautiful Gods Will Fall is. It was not something that I expected because when I was first introduced to the game the character designs seemed a bit rough. While my opinion on what the warriors look like hasn’t changed, the world itself is colored beautifully and the dungeons are gorgeous. I can appreciate how much effort Clever Beans put into sticking with each god’s theme.
The impressiveness of the art style was captured in some dungeons more than others. For example, Belenos’ dungeon had a really cool visual of a burning village that you could see from a cliff. As you progress through the dungeon, you end up walking through the same area to face the boss. It felt really cool to experience. Other dungeons, while not having their own trademark areas, take your breath away with how beautiful they are. Methir-Shirraidh’s dungeon is one of my favorites because of its red and white theme and I found myself walking through it for leisure before facing the boss.
The music in Gods Will Fall is also pretty good. One of my favorite tracks can be found in Belenos’ dungeon. It has rock undertones and did a good job of hyping me up to fight the boss. I also really enjoyed the narrator, and the fact that he spoke a different language added an additional sense of realism to the story. Overall, I was a fan of both the voice acting and soundtrack in this game.
My Journey Ends Here
Gods Will Fall does a lot of things right, so if you’re looking for a game that has high replayability and offers success through personal growth rather than arbitrary difficulty, then look no further. The lead developer at Clever Beans mentioned that their inspiration when creating this game was Demon’s Souls and I’d say they did an excellent job creating an indie version of their muse.
It is also just a fun experience. I never felt bored while playing it, at least. In fact, despite completing this review, I am still glued to my TV trying to deal with some of those pesky gods.
Review copy provided by Deep Silver for PS4. Screenshots taken by reviewer. Featured image courtesy of Deep Silver.