With the recent releases of Immortals: Fenyx Rising and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, it’s starting to feel like the industry needs some new ideas when it comes to ancient mythological settings. It’s either Greek this or Norse that, and they just keep coming. There’s plenty of potential for strong stories and interesting games within the plethora of mythoses that cultures of the past have to offer. This is partially why Gods Will Fall, the new game from the studio Clever Beans, looks like such a treat. Set within a realm that’s heavily inspired by Celtic mythology, this action-based roguelike is looking to offer a bevy of original ideas.
We were fortunate enough to view an extended demo of the game in a hands-off developer presentation, and now I can’t wait to get my hands on the finished product.
In a realm where the gods have been abusing their power, you take control of a band of warriors in an attempt to rid humanity of these megalomaniacal deities. At the start of the game, you’ll find your group of eight, randomly generated, clansmen surviving a shipwreck. As they’re washed upon the shore of the Overworld, you’ll be able to venture through a short tutorial to get a feel for the combat. As is the trend for sword-based melee combat, you have a light and heavy attack, a dodge roll, and the ability to parry attacks. Par for the course, sure, but the game’s animations, sound effects, and timing all make the combat deliciously satisfying. Swinging into enemies has a nice “thwump” to it, and there are five different weapon types to take advantage of. In fact, one of the primary design choices behind the game was for the combat to be simple to pick up, but difficult to master.
Upon finishing the tutorial, you and your group of heroes must explore the Overworld to find and kill all ten of the game’s evil gods. Each one resides within their own realm that you enter through a door. Despite the size of your party, however, only one character may enter into a god’s domain at a time. Being randomly generated, it’s up to you to find the guy or gal best suited to the task. Some characters are quicker than others, some do a bit more damage, and, most interesting of all, some may have personal vendettas against or fears of certain gods. If your celtic crusader really hates Belenos, the wicker god, then they’ll receive a nice boost to some of their stats upon finding their domicile. However, if they’re fearful of god of war, Morrigan, you’ll see stats taking a hit instead.
Sounds pretty cool, right? It only gets better. Let’s say you charge into a god’s dungeon, and your character doesn’t make it out. That can mean your character dies in battle permanently, or they become trapped somewhere within the level. If that particular warrior happened to be the best friend of another one of your warriors, that loyal companion will now have a boost to their stats in order to try to avenge their lost amigo. This mechanic of relationships and personalities is another driving force behind Clever Beans’ intentions with the game. Though the game is similar to an action-RPG, most of its RPG elements are carried out by the game itself. What that means is that in your typical RPG, you would adjust the stats of your characters yourself. However, by having your characters react, grow, and change based on the events of your actions within the game, it gives the player the opportunity for unique stories that couldn’t be experienced in a linear, written way.
This is also where the game’s roguelike element comes in. If all eight of your god-hating folks are defeated in battle, the game will reset. You will, once again, wash up on the shore with an entirely new band of brothers and sisters. Additionally, any gods that you managed to defeat will be revived.
Other than that, the only other roguelike-ish bit of the game is what types of enemies are found in what places in each dungeon. In many games within the genre, the levels themselves are often rearranged in order to bolster replayability. That isn’t the case here and I, for one, prefer it that way. Each one of the ten godly realms that you’ll brave are hand-crafted and built a specific way. It lends a huge amount of authenticity to the game’s action and story.
Adding on to the list of original ideas that Gods Will Fall brings to the table, venturing inside dungeons can feel fresh thanks to some clever designs with enemies. In the area that belongs to the giant, terrifying crow that is Morrigan, for example, there are smoldering enemies that resemble dying embers. There are also blowing winds, however, and if said baddies walk within those winds they’ll reignite and be much more likely to burn you. Where and when those enemies show up can vary from run to run, which means you’ll always have to be on your toes in order to make it out with as few bruises as possible.
If you do manage to get scratched or scuffed, there is an ability that every single one of your warriors is able to use. Dealing damage to enemies after being damaged yourself causes your health bar to refill – kinda. The refueled vitality is only permanent if you activate a rage-induced roar at the same time. The necessity to use this roar at the proper moment in order to maximize your healing is yet another thing to keep your eye on as you explore dangerous environments and fight hordes of foes, but it helps greatly in bringing any character back from the brink of death.
As briefly stated above, when you aren’t fighting in one of the ten different levels you’ll be exploring the Overworld. Here you can search for goodies, plan your next excursion, or just enjoy the game’s absolutely lovely art direction. Each scene within the game feels as if it comes straight out of oil painting. In some pieces of scenery like the grass, mountain ranges, or an especially gorgeous beach, you can see the brush-like strokes that bring the world to life.
Honestly, Gods Will Fall looks like a brutal delight. It’s bevy of original ideas look like they’ll inject the roguelike genre with some much-needed variety. Additionally, the game’s focus on generating unique, personal stories looks to be incredibly satisfying. Early 2021 can’t get here soon enough.
The game will be coming to Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Stadia, so there are plenty of ways you’ll be able to get your hands on it. What do you think? Ready for some Celitc, roguelike action? How attached are you going to get to that specific warrior that’s helped you out in the toughest of times? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
And of course, huge thanks go out to Deep Silver and Clever Beans for giving us a little more insight into how Gods Will Fall looks and plays.