Developer: Old School Games
Review Platform: PC (Steam)
Review Copy Provided By: Atlus
Release Date: April 19, 2013
You are a descendant in the bloodline of a God and must slaughter demons in Hades to restore your immortality and achieve glory. Luckily you have 3 compatriots suffering the same fate. Developed by Old School Games, God Mode pits you and your friends in a cooperative horde/arena style third person shooter with little fluff outside of a Call of Duty–esque progression system of unlockables and customization with hordes of demon faces to blow off. With little story outside of the setup intro and an annoying announcer running the same gags every match, God Mode has a very strong “straight to business” element.
God Mode is built around matches on 5 different levels that each have around 7 arenas to battle through. Entering each arena starts a round where enemies swarm the players and total annihilation is the only way to move on. Enemies have little AI complexity as they will just charge the players. No cover, no flanking, just straight charging you leaving you with the only option of strafing while running and gunning for a strategy. Each level ends with a boss battle in the last arena adding a little bit of variety to the match but not making up for the lack of AI found elsewhere. The biggest danger isn’t from the enemies in God Mode but from your co-op partners. You drop your gold if they kill you. Pray that your friends don’t turn out to be asses.
The theme of the levels are varied enough with strong classical aesthetic but the arenas themselves lack any defining quality to separate themselves from the same formula of big open circular areas littered with health, armor, and ammo pickups. The graphical quality of each level is actually down right gorgeous displaying a surprising amount of polish that one would only expect in AAA games. The polish isn’t limited to environmental graphics as everything from the menus and their rendered backgrounds to gameplay showcase a level of quality not experienced in the more indie titles like God Mode.
Tests of Faith add a bit of randomness to the rounds by changing up the rules. This ranges from double health to giant enemies. There are enough of the tests where it is likely that it will take a few matches before you run across the same one again. One particular test was great fun — one shot kills. Enemies were easy to take out of course but it also works against you creating an unexpected edge of the seat moment trying to avoid getting hit. The smoke filled arena test was also a nice touch and really built a demons out of the mist atmosphere. The gameplay can also be modified with oaths. Oaths are chosen before a match by each player and give them more XP and gold for modifications like taking more damage or enemies dealing poison damage. Oaths are a nice way to ramp up difficulty when the default three are not hard enough for you.
The gunplay in God Mode feels extremely polished much like the rest of the package. Weapons feel good and fire like you would expect. The game features the roadie run and dodge roll made popular by titles like Gear of War. That unfortunately makes the game feel a bit a stiff especially if all you do is run backwards. By default auto aim is turned off but turning it on in the options will make God Mode feel like an entirely different game. Just aiming in the general direction of the enemies allows you to shoot them making the game tons easier. The effect isn’t as big on PC as it is on console where precision is a bit harder to come by. Playing solo is almost too hard to attempt without auto aim.
The weapons, mods, and character customizations are unlocked through XP and gold. Level up to unlock them and buy them to use them. It takes several matches to get enough XP and cash for even the smallest upgrades creating a need for lots of grinding. Fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look it, the later weapons aren’t nearly as effective as the starter weapons once fully upgraded. I found myself constantly coming back to the SMG and shotgun.
Matchmaking is a bit tedious in God Mode when the player base is split over three difficulties. Even at launch it was taking several minutes to find a match. A match browser would have made the experience so much better rather than the click a button and wait to be randomly matched up. Of course if you have friends that own the game, playing is as simple as setting up a match and inviting them in.
God Mode is a game that is extremely likable. Outside of the annoying announcer, its presentation is spot on. Unfortunately the spotty progression system and low number of levels create a situation where the game starts feeling grindy. Add in the fact that unless you have friends to play with, God Mode will probably be dead in the water for matchmaking within a month or two. That being said, this game deserves to be played and enjoyed. It is perfect for drunken Friday night gaming, so go out and convince your friends to pay the low low price of admission and blow some demon faces off.