Gods Will Fall preview (multi)

In what was most likely our last developer-led demo of the year, we recently got to take a look at Gods Will Fall, the upcoming game from Clever Beans that is being published by Deep Silver. Here’s what we thought of this upcoming console and PC release.

What we know

For those who are unfamiliar with Clever Beans – they’re the studio responsible for the WipEout Omega Collection for Sony, a favorite among PSVR users. Gods Will Fall is their own IP and was inspired by Celtic warriors and their lore. In the game, you get shipwrecked on an island with a crew of 8 (randomly generated) warriors, in a world where humankind is suffering under the rule of ancient gods.

The island you’re on contains portals to the domains of the various gods, which is your opportunity to take them out once and for all – one at a time. There are ten gods in total, so the odds are stacked against you and your band of warriors can quickly shrink in size if you fall in battle. Only one warrior at a time can enter a realm, and failure means he’s either dead for good or trapped in the other realm until another warrior goes in and defeats the realm’s god.

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Lose all eight of your warriors, and the gig is up – you’ll have to start from scratch with eight new warriors for another attempt. Besides basic stats like strength and agility in combat, each warrior also has their own personal backstory – which can mean they hold a grudge against a certain god, or fear them, both of which affects how your character will behave in battle. These personal backgrounds can change during the game as well, as characters can become vengeful when a fellow warrior falls or lose heart when the group gets smaller.

Playing out as an action RPG, Gods Will Fall is a single player adventure with permadeath and a unique mechanic that makes for a natural ebb and flow as your group of warriors shrinks in size, only to return to their former glory when their last surviving member finally slays a god and rescues all of his fellow warriors in the process.

What we saw

We were part of an online demo for Gods Will Fall, hosted by lead designer Mark Wherrett. A presentation outlined the core concepts in the game as well as some of the gameplay mechanics, after which we were shown roughly 40 minutes of pre-recorded gameplay. During this stream, we saw the game’s tutorial mission, along with playthroughs of three realms – showcasing three of the gods in the game.

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What we thought

Without the presentation, Gods Will Fall would have looked like another rather general hack and slash action RPG – although the level design felt excellent and there was plenty of diversity both within and in between realms. Combat felt relatively plain, and boss fights like a case of learning the right strategy to cope with a god’s unique attack patterns. Fun, but nothing we hadn’t seen before.

We got a glimpse at the game’s real magic upon failure though. When one of the warriors fell, and the doors to the realm opened without anyone coming out, the remaining Celts fell to their knees in despair – losing heart or becoming amped up about a stab at this particular god. As a player, you now face the choice of either going in after them, or moving to a more manageable realm first – but with a smaller group of warriors.

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Learning how to defeat each god and get through each realm will take practice, but the price of failure can be high. Sending a single warrior in each time can quickly dwindle your numbers, and you’ll eventually have to send others in to stand a chance of getting your numbers back up. And do you abandon that warrior you’ve grown so fond of, or do you risk sacrificing it all in your attempts to bring him back?

How difficult a realm is to conquer differs per playthrough, even though the level designs are always the same. More plentiful and challenging opponents make the difference here, and you don’t know what the level of challenge is going to be when you head in the first time. So even if you’re already seen a realm in a previous playthrough, you’re not guaranteed that you’ll make it out again just as easily.

How exciting things will be once you finally emerge victorious and defeat all of the 10 gods remains to be seen, but we can’t wait to plough through this partially self-crafted and dynamic tale of warriors and gods when it comes out early next year.

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