With each update, Counterplay Games has made improvements to its melee action RPG Godfall to address the feedback, both positive and negative, of the fans and naysayers since its release. With the Primal Update, we were able to tap into new powers and bonuses through Ascension Levels and Primal Items. Lightbringer gave us a new game mode and we saw a new realm and antagonist added to the story with the Fire & Darkness expansion. And with the Challenger Edition, we were given the choice to skip the story and jump right into the end game action with a level 50 character.
Now, Counterplay is back with the Exalted Update to give players more build options, an enhanced story mode, a new game mode, and plenty of quality of life improvements. Alongside the free update, Counterplay Games will also be releasing the new Godfall: Ultimate Edition. This new edition will bundle the original release and the Fire & Darkness expansion together for $39.99, and marks the first time Godfall will be available on the Xbox series of consoles and through Steam for PC.
Improving The Basics
For those unfamiliar with Godfall, it was originally released back in November 2020 exclusively for the PlayStation 5 and on the Epic Games Store for PC. Our original review (like many others) gave it kudos for its enjoyable combat, while the lackluster story and troubled user interface were a couple of our main criticisms. With each major update over the last 17 months, Counterplay Games has worked to address the shortcomings of the original release, and with the Exalted Update, they claim to have fulfilled all of the major community-requested features.
Many of the features that have been added revolve around the player’s ability to customize their Valorplates, both cosmetically and in playstyle. We still only have 12 Valorplates to choose from, but each set now has multiple skins to collect, with 123 unique skins in total. There are also new cosmetics for the rest of your gear, with additional skins for weapons, shields, and banners.
As for skills and builds, Counterplay has tried to create a “tinkerer’s dream.” With the new Valorplate Shards, each of the 12 Valorplates has an even more unique playstyle associated with it. Each Plate has four shards to collect, giving players slightly different ways to enhance the primary attributes and unique abilities that were already baked into each Valorplate.
The user interface has also received its fair share of improvements with the Exalted Update. Additional sorting options will allow players to more easily filter and locate gear based upon criteria such as DPS, rarity, mutation, and other important stats. Skill sets will also be Valorplate specific instead of a global set that has to be adjusted each time you equip a new armor. And with three loadout slots per Valorplate, you’ll be able to quickly change your loadout depending on your current needs quickly and efficiently.
An Enhanced Story
As I already mentioned, one point of criticism from my original review was the lackluster story campaign. I know that for looter games in general the story is merely a means to an end, a way to connect one mission to the next. That doesn’t make it right, though. And Godfall did the story all wrong. There was a fair amount of lore, but it was told through the collection of Codexes, not through the main story. The majority of time during missions was spent in silence, with interactions with the Seventh Sanctum providing very little in the way of substance.
With the Exalted Update, Counterplay has finally made improvements in relaying the story. The main storyline remains unchanged. You are still defeated by Macros in the opening cutscene, and missions will still start and end with conversations with the Seventh Sanctum. With the Exalted Update, there is now more dialogue and additional cutscenes to help relay a richer story. At first, this is very subtle and includes minor conversations with a couple of new NPCs. The additional cutscenes serve to better convey an overall picture of the war between Orin and Macros and how it affects the other Valorians. As the story progresses, the personal battle between Orin and Macros is further fleshed out, and players even have the opportunity to discover lore that tells the tale from Macros’ point of view.
The additional story elements never become overbearing, though. Counterplay still keeps everything tidy and we aren’t required to sit through hours of conversations that aren’t necessary. What we end up with is a good balance of additional story content that helps immerse the player in the war between good and evil without drastically slowing the pace at which players can get back into a new mission.
The Spirit Realm
The biggest change (and my personal favorite) for this update is an adjustment to spirit vision and the addition of Spirit Realms. Previously, spirit vision was limited and used for finding nearby treasure and collectibles. When you turned it on, the rest of the world would get all dark and shadowy with shiny beacons of colored lights to point you towards loot. It was of limited use, as your vision would return to normal shortly after you began moving. Now, instead of shrouding the screen in darkness, spirit vision renders the world in a ghostly visage that replaces the world’s normally vibrant colors with a more muted palette. As an added kicker, spirit vision now lasts indefinitely and no longer reverts to normal vision when you start moving. This simple change means you aren’t constantly stopping to turn on spirit vision and survey your surroundings. Being able to continue moving, and even fighting, while using spirit vision makes exploration a much more fluid experience.
Regular vision on the left, Spirit vision on the right.
The changes to spirit vision are a nice quality of life improvement while you are playing through the story or gathering resources in any of the end game modes, but the changes really shine when you enter the new Spirit Realms that are being added as part of the Exalted Update. Each of the material realms now has its own Spirit Realm experience that unlocks in succession as you defeat each of the material realm bosses (or by boosting straight to level 50 at character creation). Each spirit realm gives a group of up to six players an expansive playground to explore as they work towards powering up an Elder Gate to gain access to the Spirit Realm boss fights.
To unlock the Elder Gate, players begin by doing what they’ve always done – defeating enemies. To add some complexity to the fights, enemies you encounter in this mode can exist in either material or spirit form. Players can only attack enemies of one form at a time and must use their spirit vision to switch between planes based on the enemies they are facing. Although a group of players can split duties by having individual players focus on a single plane, a solo player that must switch back and forth between forms will find fighting in the spirit realm only slightly harder than regular fights.
As you battle your way through the spirit realm, fallen enemies have a chance to drop Souls. Once collected, players can use the Souls to activate special events at various locations around the map. There are three types of events, all of which are minor variations of killing multiple enemies. Once the players have eliminated all of their foes, they will earn an Elder Soul, with more difficult fights rewarding Souls with a higher magnitude of power.
It takes three Elder Souls to unlock the final fight, and using higher magnitude Souls makes the end fight more difficult. With greater risk comes greater rewards, though, assuming players are up to the challenge. And similar to Lightbringer mode, players can stop after the first boss fight or continue on for even greater rewards.
Just like the previous updates and the Fire & Darkness expansion, Counterplay Games has once again made some significant changes to Godfall with the Exalted Update. There is now a wealth of end game modes to plow through, and they’ve even given players the option to play through an enhanced story (or skip straight to level 50 if they so choose). All of the quality of life improvements and tweaks, from something as simple as additional cosmetic items to new ways to enhance and progress your skills, have strengthened the core gameplay. The addition of the Spirit Realm and up to 6-player co-op have not only given you the choice to play with friends, but you now have an actual reason to group up for more challenging fights.
For original fans that have stayed the course and waited for Godfall to be all it could be, well, the Exalted Update has finally made that wish come true. And for those potential new players that can now join the fray on their Xbox or through Steam, well, they’ll be getting the same great combat we’ve had since day one with all of the extra trimmings that come with the Godfall: Ultimate Edition.