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Godfall is Almost Impossible to Avoid Comparing to Warframe

 There was a period of my life where I sank hundreds of hours into the fremium game, Warframe. In it, you pilot any of a number of high tech, armored suits, each with their own unique powers, and with a mix of guns and melee weapons, you hack and shoot your way across the solar system. Warframe does a lot of things very right, it has a very unique and consistent style, such that my friend and I took to calling it "wetsuit space ninjas". Each of the suits of armor, called Warframes have this really rubbery look to them, kind of like dolphin skin, and since none of them show any sign of an interior person, they all kind of half a marine mammal feel to them. Despite putting more than a hundred hours into it, I never really got very far in Warframe, because while it's possible to complete everything solo, it's really meant to be played with groups of 4 players, and I'm just too damned asocial to play with random people on the internet.

So I was very interested when Godfall was announced. It's an action RPG, like Warframe, with a pseudo scifi setting, where you fight tons of baddies wearing high tech suits of armor called "Valorplates". The aesthetic is more heraldic knight armor suits meets Iron Man, than "wet suit space ninja" but being that it is a full priced game, it would likely have less fremium time sink grinding, and it would hopefully be less multiplayer focused.

All of that is true, but I am surprised by how little it actually feels like Warframe. First off, there's no guns, for some reason. Enemies have guns, but you don't, the only ranged attack you seem to get is the ability to huck your shield at enemies, Captain America style. It's also more Diablo-style loot focused. You pick up weapons of various levels of rarity and power level. Don't get too attached to that great sword in the beginning of the game, because you're just going to find a level 20 version that does twice as much damage eventually. I'm not bringing that up as a criticism, I quite like that style of equipment, it's always nice to think that while you may be having a hard time at the moment, you might just raise a level and get a better hammer and be able to handle that thing that was giving you trouble. It's just a far cry from Warframe's approach to weapons, where a particular weapon has stats, and the more you use it, the more potential it has to be customized. Both systems are perfectly viable, but they make the approach to making your character stronger feel like a much different game.

Combat is a lot slower and more technical in Godfall, which isn't really my preference, but it's thankfully easy enough on the normal difficulty that I don't get too frustrated with it. In Godfall you run EVERYWHERE (there isn't a jump button), and then beat on enemies, applying status effects and building up a charge with your light attacks before slamming down with a heavy attack to deliver on all of that stored up damage. The charge build up is kind of a fun mechanic. In Warframe you are a nimble space ninja, running on walls, double jumping in the area, sniping enemies before getting to higher ground so you can literally get the drop on them with your staff. 

I've covered a lot of the ways that the two games are different, but it's the way that they're similar that feels the most disappointing: Your armor suits. Each Warframe has a passive ability, and 4 unique active abilities, each ability is completely unique, and combined, each Warframe makes it feel like you're really playing a different character, almost a different game, and there are dozens of them. Valorplates in Godfall, conversely, feel almost completely cosmetic. Each one has a passive ability, but they all feel both minor, and similar. Phoenix gives a 10% bonus to inflict the ignite effect on enemies, Mesa gives you a 10% bonus to poison, and Silverman makes your charge up attacks 10% faster. On top of that, each Valorplate has ONE ability that you can activate when a bar fills up. Most of which can be summed up as: inflicts the status effect you have a bonus to on nearby enemies, up your chance to inflict that status effect with attacks, and deal more damage to enemies suffering from that status effect. What does it matter if I'm setting enemies on fire or poisoning them if the effect is that they take damage over time, and I deal double damage to them?

It's quite frustrating, I feel like Godfall had a lot of promise, but they really dropped the ball on making each Valorplate feel unique. They certainly look unique.


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