God Mode

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God Mode
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God Mode
Third Person Shooter
PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox Live Arcade
Review based on Xbox Live Arcade version
Publisher: Atlus
Developer: Old School Games
Release Date: April 19th, 2013
God Mode was released by Atlus, but developed by a small company called Old School Games. It’s a dark and gritty Third Person Shooter Action title that recently hit the Xbox Live Arcade Marketplace, as well as the PlayStation 3 store, and even on the PC. This is one of those very few games I just up and grabbed based solely on recomendations from friends due to starving to play something engaging after the BattleBlock Theater fiasco. Given how it looked and the concept of the title, this was a no brainer. Run and gun down hordes of enemies, what could be better than that? Oh, yeah, right, perhaps a single player mode. Yes, that’s right, this is a strictly on-line multiplayer title for up to four players only, but does it have what it takes to keep the most dedicated of solo games coming back for more “friendly” competition amongst internet strangers?

First of all, the soundtrack to God Mode is largely forgettable. The sound effects sound pretty good for the most part, largely the guns being fired and some of the noises the enemies make work for what you’re experiencing. There is some narration, such as during the cash room at the end of each map that warns you of time running out, that seems a bit eccentric in a flamboiantly gay manner similar to what Disney might depict with Roman-era royalty, which is amusing to say the least. However, the music itself, when it’s there, isn’t anything impressive. It’s largely just a generic score that is essentially not even noticeable outside the title screen. Really, you’re better off supplying your own music. For me, it was largely Symphonic bands like Dimmu Borgir and Fleshgod Apocaypse to play up the epic themes and terrain, as well as the standard Cannibal Corpse mix to cover the gun-toting
violence aspect of death against death.

The visuals definitely stick out more than the audio. While the scenery looks nice with a glossy HD sharpness, you can’t help but look at it thinking this may have been initially designed as an early current generation title, or very late last generation entry. This isn’t to say it’s bad thing at all, infact the rougher environments and some character designs work well with the gritty and dark unwerworld settings, and even the lighter environments that can appear on earlier maps. Everything is done just right to set the proper mood, establishing the concept of running through nightmarish gauntlets after death. Even some of the creature designs end up really impressive, such as the Atlas statue that chucks firey globes at you, the large winged creatures that shoot green lazers, and the various cyclops and minotaur abominations, all showing a good level of detail and living up to what you might expect these nightmarish and ancient beasts to look like.

On top of all that, there actually is a little bit of a story line. You play the role of a corpse navigating various mazes to become a god, proving you are the descendant of an ancient godlike bloodline, or at least that’s what it seems to portray. Unfortunately I can never get any sort of story when playing thanks to everyone skipping the cut-scenes and additional narration, so I’m stuck with this general understanding. Either way, it does give you a point to be fighting these creatures in the various stages, and gives your character just enough backstory to explain some of the special abilities it has, and can acquire.

There are a total of six maps. Each map has a general point of interest you race towards. Once you reach the monument, the ground rules for the battle are established. Sometimes you can just be defending it normally, or blood turns to coins, or a random player is given a god-like hammer to strike down foes with. There’s a good number of various modes that keeps each small map interesting to play as you shoot oncoming hordes of skeletons, minotaurs, large flying beasts or insects. The more you kill, the more experience and money you can earn, especially at the last part of each map which has all players running around a large room collecting coins with friendly fire turned on, a mode of play not open during the main map except when blood turns to coins.

Not only can you buy customizations for your corpse, but you can also unlock new weaponry, as well as upgrade them to increase strength, accuracy, and capacity. The more levels and gold you obtain, the better your weaponry becomes. On top of that there are six oaths you can activate. These hinder your character by doing things like making your weaponry less effective against enemies, or removing the ability to have armor. But, by turning these on, you can increase your experience and gold intake, as well as make it even more challenging, even on the simplest of modes. These happen to range from easy to hard as Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Just note that your team has a pool of lives that dwindle when someone dies, though, even at zero, you can still be resurrected if the rest of the group finishes that small battle and moves on to the next.

For the most part, God Mode is a pretty straight forward game. You start the map, advance forward in a linear path, stopping to fight hordes of enemies after you go through every portal, and then finish the map off in the money room. It can become a bit tedious, but almost every game is a different experience. The enemies can be somewhat varied, or completely different from last time, and there are the three difficulties and six oaths to change things up a bit. But, for the most part, you’ll end up just running and gunning, or staying back and firing at oncoming enemies, some of which just run right by you due to targeting your team mates.

But, the best part of all is how quickly you get a game going. You’re not stuck in a lobby for long periods of time waiting for players to join. You can start a room and let it find people, or you can just choose Quick Match and it automatically pairs you up with three other players, the longest taking twenty seconds. You do get to choose the map and have a minute to do so, but once three votes are in, if two are on the same then the game begins. There is a slight delay to sync all the players together, but at max you’re wasted maybe two minutes to play a full map. However, it seems like if someone leaves the game, you’re literally stuck in limbo. The enemies will continue to run, but more in one place, and no matter how much you shoot them, they will not die, and you cannot advance. This is a huge issue, and will have you leaving maps and searching for another party to join. The only positive side to this is that you still get to keep the gold and
experience you earn as long as you exit through the pause screen, making your time worth a little something instead of nothing like most on-line titles.

The gameplay is enhanced by the simple and highly responsive controls. The camera movement and firing buttons are the same as always, but you also get a very effective melee attack that can be executed at the push of the b button (XBLA version). Unfortunately for it to make contact you have to stand facing your enemy directly, but it basically kills the lower enemies like skeletons in one shot. You also can unlock special abilities, such as healing, which are activated with the left bumper for some quick support in harder areas.

There’s more than just special abilities to unlock though, such as weaponry and skins for your corpse. You can also upgrade all of them. The stronger the weapon, the more challenging the map becp,es, which does throw different battles your way that are worth grinding your character to get. Then you also have the many achievements, most of which will take some time. There even is an achievement for upgrading everything. But, the big plus about this title that will have you coming back is that the people who play are not your typical Call of Duty or Halo 3 kiddies. For the most part, I didn’t even really hear anyone talk, let alone talk smack or insult you, your sexual orientation, or even your mother. This is more of a mature game, and not in the sense of blood splatter and gore, but in refinement, which clearly shows in the people who play this game.

God Mode isn’t the most unique of titles, but it actually ends up being really enjoyable. The game play is simple, the story is short and to the point, and it’s essentially like a somewhat repetitive marathon that gets more difficult the closer you get to the end. Additional unlocks such as weapons, skins and abilities will have you customizing more and more as you gain experience and gold, and the varied difficulties and oaths help to make the game more of a challenge then you expected. There’s a decent amount of small things that will keep you coming back, though being largely limited to six maps can wear on you. Hopefully Old School Games will design some more levels in the future as downloadable content, and maybe some additional perks that you can unlock to change things up, such as new rules for the next battle. Either way, God Mode is a digital title that does a lot of things right. From being an economic price, a
refined system, and being a title that definitely won’t attract the smack talking kiddies who won’t shut the hell up, you’ll find yourself coming back time and again for some quick starting on-line creature destruction.

Overall Score: 8/10

Digital review copy of this title provided by personal funds.