God Mode is built on a solid concept and provides some interesting ways to customize the game's difficulty but ultimately gets everything wrong when it comes to gameplay.
Going up against skeletons, Minotaurs, undead and numerous other residents of Hades in a co-operative shooter akin to something like Left 4 Dead should be a blast. Giving the opportunity to level up equipment, customize the game’s difficulty more than most other games will allow, as well as stages that will always play out differently should, by all accounts, make for a really enjoyable shooter. So where does God Mode go wrong? In short nearly every aspect of God Mode falls flat resulting in a mediocre and overly grindy experience.
In God Mode you play as a mortal descendant of the Gods as you find yourself fighting against waves upon waves of monsters from Hades—Or, as the game’s announcer calls it, “Hell in a Toga”. Before jumping into a game you’re given the option of choosing Bronze, Silver, or Gold difficulty as well as enabling “Oaths” that act as difficulty modifiers. This allows for a certain level of risk/reward in that you might enable an Oath that makes all enemies tougher but you’ll gain an increased percentage in experience and gold. Each of the game’s five stages opens with a rather eccentric announcer talking complete and utter nonsense while making fun of your predicament. I think the announcer is supposed to represent Hades himself but that’s mere speculation on my part. Each stage is segmented in a little over a handful of arenas in which you’ll fight against numerous hordes of enemies.
One of my favorite parts of God Mode is its attempt at drastically changing how levels play out on each playthrough. Each arena is referred to as a “Test of Fate”. These tests add one of numerous modifiers to each round. For instance in one arena you might find that that one random player on the team is granted invulnerability for a short amount of time and in other situations you’ll be up against much larger and more difficult versions of the monsters you’d normally fight. There’s quite a few different modifiers in the game and most of the time I didn’t really see them repeating all that often. After completing each stage you and all other players will be transported to a treasure room of sorts where you can collect as much money, used for weapon upgrades, as possible. In these instances friendly-fire is turned on but I never found that anyone made any sort of attempt to pick a fight. These ninety second rooms usually just amount to everyone running in circles collecting money. It’s honestly a strange way to end each round.
After each round you’ll gain experience, level up and be given the opportunity to upgrade your weapons and customize how your character appears in the game. One of my main issues with God Mode is the fact that it takes ages to level up and requires too much of a time investment to actually begin unlocking anything worthwhile. There’s some interesting weapons that are locked out at a higher level that would take ridiculous amounts of straight up grinding to actually have access to any of these. I know that I tend to be the JRPG nerd around here so I’m not typically against grinding experience but God Mode, as I’ll get into later, is just flat out boring at its best. Factor in that upgrading your weapons doesn’t provide much of a sense of an increase in power and I find it hard to even want to continue grinding for anything.
God Mode is a very basic third person shooter. You’ll go into each match with a primary and secondary weapon as well as one ability (typically a shield or health boost) equipped. Players can run around or do a dodge roll and of course shoot at oncoming enemies. When a special meter fills up you can activate the ability that you have equipped. The ability I typically used the most was an AOE health increase that would heal my teammates and I during battle. With the lack of a cover system or any other options you’ll quickly find that almost the entirety of God Mode is running backwards and shooting at enemies that have only one AI-routine. That routine of course being to simply charge at you. In addition to this the controls can be really unresponsive at times or just not really work at all.
No matter what God Mode tries when it comes to modifying the difficulty and throwing cool monsters at you it will never change the fact that the game itself is just boring and incredibly repetitive. I actually do really like how most of the environments look and I think the enemy designs can be pretty cool. Unfortunately when it comes to actually playing the game, despite the modifiers, you’re just doing the same monotonous thing over and over again. The only reason I ever really found myself having some sort of enjoyment from the game is because of the ridiculous narrator but I love awful things. The narration will turn people off of this game from the second they hear the words “WELCOME TO HADES!” at the start menu.
God Mode features a lot of interesting ideas. Aside from the game’s setup the Oaths and Tests of Fate, while nothing particularly original, are REALLY great ideas that I’d love to see used in more games. Unfortunately the actual game is just a drag to play and requires too much of a grind to actually unlock anything worthwhile. God Mode can at times be simple mindless shooting, and there’s absolutely room for games like that, but I can’t recommend this particular game to anyone. There are better cooperative shooters on PSN, PAYDAY of course being one of them, that deserve your time much more than God Mode ever will.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
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Developer:Old School Games
Release Date:April 2013