[Full Review with actual play here: http://daystarchronicles.blogspot.com.ar)
I want to start this review by saying I genuinely love this game. I haven't been so hooked and in love with an RPG in a long while, probably not since I played Exalted 1st Edition for the first time a little over 10 years ago.
The setting goes like this: over a thousand years ago, mortals stormed the halls of Heaven in search for the One God, battling the Angelic Host along the way, so that they may know the truths of the universe. That didn't end up well, though, since the Throne was empty. Furious, mortals looted the Celestial Engines to build their own divinities, the Made Gods, according to each people's philosophies and dogma. It wouldn’t be long before Made Gods clash in the blattlefield, with each conflict tearing the fabric of the universe a little more. In the end, the Last War produced the Shattering, a cosmic cataclysm that broke and scattered the world into many Realms, each one floating alone among the Uncreated Night. Meanwhile, the Angels were forced to withdraw to Hell, a safe heaven from where they could plot to destroy the world in order to recreate it anew.
With the Made Gods dead or weakened, and the Celestial Engines at the blink of collapse, hope was all but lost. But then, the divine energy contained in Heaven's dead Made Gods poured into the world below, gifting ordinary men and women with divine might. These are the Godbound. Whether the world is to be saved or doomed, it's their fate to carve its ultimate destiny.
Like I said before, the core engine is recognizable to anyone who has played classic D&D before. You have six attributes (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Wisdom, Intelligence and Charisma) rated 1 to 18 to measure how good you are on a particular field. If you need to make a check to see if you succeed or fail, you roll a 20-sided die. High is good, low is bad. The usual stuff.
What sets Godbound apart? For once, no skills. Instead, players have Facts, which work in a lot of ways similar to Fate's Aspects. If you have a Fact applicable to a non-combat die roll, you add a +4 bonus to the roll. Quick, simple, and customizable to each PC's backstory and deeds. Players may also use Facts to get a general idea of a character's resources, and it's possible to gain stuff like Lesser Magic (wizardry used by mortals) or a Divine Artifact in lieu of the +4 bonus. You start with three Facts, gaining a new Fact with each experience Level you reach.
Of course, that alone wouldn't make for unstoppable demigods, so we have Words, the spheres of divine might that tell us what a Godbound can do. Some Words are Fire, Beasts, Command, Passion, Sword, and many more. Each character starts with three Words, although it's possible to bind to more as they level up. Just be bonding with a Word, characters get access to some related perks or Attribute increments. For example, anyone who bonds with Fire will be immune to flames, while someone who bonds with Might will automatically have Strength 19.
Once a hero’s Words are chosen, the player selects Gifts among those Words, powers his character will always have available (some are constant, while others must be activated by the Godbound). In addition, Godbound may invoke Miracles from their Words, either to emulate Gifts they didn't buy or to create their own effects (of course, doing so costs more than having purchased the right Gift for the job). That way, Godbound have both fixed powers and free-form magic they can access in times of need.
Some Gifts and powers are free to use, but most require the character to commit Effort in order to activate them for as long as the power is on. One the Godbound no longer needs the power active, he may instantly reclaim his spent Effort (for example, if a Gift enhances an attack, the Godbound can reclaim the Effort as soon as the attack is resolved). The strongest powers require the hero to leave Effort committed even after its effects have ended, either for the remainder of the scene or the whole day. A Level 1 character starts with Effort 2, and increases this score by one each time they Level up. It's incredible how much you can achieve even at first level with just two points, making bookkeeping quite easy.
How does this all play in game? Awesomely. Combat is fast and furious, with lesser enemies possessing no treat to a pantheon unless in very large numbers (luckily, Godbound has fantastic Mob rules). All Godbound have a Fray Die (1d8 by default). Every turn, regardless of their action, they get to roll their Fray Die to represent minor miracles that inflict damage on lesser foes. That way, Godbound can dispatch larger number of lesser enemies quite fast.
On top of everything else, the book itself is incredibly helpful for the GM, full of advice and techniques to design epic adventures for your players. Even if you don't like OSR, and even if the quite streamlined and polished rules in this book are not to your taste, the book is so full of rules and tips that can be easily converted to other game systems that it's worth buying it just for that anyway.
My favorite subsystem in the book is Influence and Dominion. As they gain Levels, characters increase their Influence pool, which they can commit (just like Effort) to alter the world around them off-screen based on his Words. For as long as the Influence remains committed, their divine powers sustain the change, only returning to its original state if he withdraws the points or an external force interferes. For example, let's say a Godbound finds an isolated island village that is constantly raid by pirates. He has to travel to a far place to deal with the tentacled abomination the pirates have for a deity. He fears the village is not safe until his return, so he works on a plan to defend them while he's away. Working for a few days, he crafts a metal-men army, imbuing them with life with the Artifice Word. For as long as the Influence remains committed on the task, the army will be upkeep and functional. If he ever withdraws it, though, they will start to fall apart and malfunction.
If a Godbound wants to make one of this changes permanent, he has to spend Dominion. Once he has done so, the change is permanent and he no longer is required to commit Influence to upkeep the change. Once spent, Dominion points are lost, and the character needs to earn more (usually from receiving worship, performing heroic deeds or looting Celestal Shards). Following the previous example, the Artifice Godbound could spend dominion to make his metal army a permanent addition to the village, ensuring that even after he has long gone they will still protect the village.