God Mode Review
Old School Games has delivered a game that suits their name perfectly. You won't be playing as a hero trying to save the world from a madman on an island nor trying to save the woman you love nor getting revenge on the people who killed your family. You will be playing as a descendant of the mythological gods who has been banished by Hades from your home, Mount Olympus. Your objective is to simply gun your way through a type of purgatory maze Hades has placed you in. If you manage to make it to the end you will be granted your freedom, and that's it. We aren't talking about a game that plays like a movie with characters to associate with or to even care for. God Mode pits you against countless waves of Hades' creatures with no real explanation of what is going on or even how to play; a style of game that feels that it belongs in the past although it looks like a modern shooter. Not that there's anything wrong with that; I am one of those players that just wants to jump in and get started - help me as little as possible when explaining the controls and how the game is played. As I mentioned before God Mode doesn't give you the light of day, literally. Thankfully there is a guide from the main menu that will explain every aspect of the game (which is really only about four concepts), but it makes a world of difference once you grasp those concepts. My suggestion is to read up on the style of gameplay before jumping in with two feet to avoid annoying the heck out of your fellow players because God Mode is an online third person four player co-op shooter which requires at least two players to start.
You can join a global game or you can invite friends to join your party, and there is even a type of single player mode if you create your own game, but where is the fun in that? The online mode allows your party to vote on any of the five arenas or maps that you will be playing through. The only complaint I have is searching for a team does take some patience and sometimes you don't get a full four player group and have to settle with two. What makes matters worse is when people drop out in the middle of the game and leave you hanging with Hades monsters hell bent on keeping you there. You can either say your prayers or hope that you can push through, though I found myself quitting and searching for a new group. If you are one of the lucky few that do get a full group of people then you are in for a lot of mindless fun. I am not exactly sure that there is a level of difficulty associated with each arena; the difficulty is more a factor of the number of players and the difficulty selected prior to starting a search for a game to join. More players means more enemies and more HP. You can make the game more challenging by selecting from six Oaths. Each Oath is a negative modifier, such as taking more damage or less effective health pickups, but selecting an Oath provides more rewards. Take it to the extreme and enable all six and see how long you last...
To start your character is outfitted with two weapons, a SMG and a shotgun - not a bad combo to have. As you are walk around getting used to the controls and testing out all the buttons you will also find yourself oohing and aahing at the wonderful world Old School Games has created. It is a very well detailed and hugely scaled environment and would be exactly the kind of place that Hades would call home. But don't get caught staring too much at the scenery because your first challenge awaits just steps away. Just by roaming around the map you will ultimately hear the on and off again narrator announce your first Test of Faith. Each arena has a set number of these and they are basically just a modifier that is either beneficial to you and your party or to the enemy. They can include infinite ammo, temporary invulnerability, larger and tougher enemies, or bombs dropping from the sky above. One of my favorites is when the enemies are made smaller and weaker. One of the tougher ones is when you are poisoned and you slowly lose health unless you stay close to a designated statue which limits your maneuverability. Once the Test of Faith is complete a portal appears that will take you to your next challenge.
To help your party defend against the swarms of enemies there are health, armor, and ammo runes scattered throughout the arenas. In most cases ammo, health, and armor are provided in limited amounts before and after a completed Test of Faith as well. Some of them provide little help while others give you a huge boost. These runes do re-spawn randomly across the arena, however be mindful of your fellow players and their need for more health or ammo. Be warned though, when you step through a portal a countdown for your allies will begin and they have a limited time to stock up before being automatically ported to the next area.
If a player dies in battle they will re-spawn, but at a cost. Each group has a shared number of lives so keep in mind that life among the dead is precious and if your group runs out of lives the game is over. To aid players in staying alive longer each player is equipped with an ability. Some abilities such as shield help protect or heal yourself while others protect your teammates or give you an overpowered weapon. These abilities are triggered by killing enemies and filling a type of rage meter. Fill the meter, see a glowing icon in the right hand corner, unleash and profit!
In each arena you will encounter roughly 20 different enemies. Some of the skins for these enemies are recycled to give the appearance of variety, though it is really a matter of giving them a change of color and abilities. For the most part they just shoot arrows, lightning, axes, and poison at you, but some are purely melee. You name it, they got it in the Hades roster of enemies: skeletons, zombies, flying creatures called Harpies and Cupids, Minotaurs, gladiators, ... and at the end of each arena an oversized boss which really reminds me of the God of War series. For the most part the enemies are rather stupid, but are very fast compared to your character. When you see hordes of zombies coming your way your first instinct is to run, but, nope, don't even think about it - it won't help, you are too slow. Think you can just melee your way out? No, that just starts a two second animation which causes little to no damage. Basically just keep moving and shooting and avoid being trampled by a Minotaur or a bowled over by a ball of lightning you should be fine.
While mowing down the enemy each player will earn gold and experience points. However, you must be the person to get the kill in order to collect the experience for the kill. In addition, any gold that is dropped is fair game so be quick on your feet! If you do feel like you are getting cheated out of experience and gold don't fret too much because completing Tests of Faith will give each player a set reward no matter what they pick up. If you manage to get to the end boss and defeat them, the last portal will transport everyone to a gold vault. There are numerous gold runes throughout the two-story circular arena that are all up for grabs. Hades doesn't let you off that easy, though, and turns the tables by allowing a type of deathmatch round of player versus player. In my experience most players are more concerned with collecting the loot than with attempting to ward off others.
So now that you are a rich dead man, what to spend it on? Throughout the 18 level ranking system you will unlock many different weapons, skins, and abilities for your character, but they do come at a hefty price so be wise. Though players mostly assume unlocking a new weapon means it will be a better weapon, I found myself still defaulting to the original SMG and shotgun, just fully upgraded. The skins and accessories are fairly limited, and much like the enemies are recycled with a little twist that doesn't leave much to be desired. Ultimately if you spend enough time you will unlock everything with ease.
The biggest pitfall of God Mode is the keyboard and mouse layout for the controls. It's possible that I don't have a lot of experience with third person shooters on PC but my fingers were not having a good time playing Twister. Luckily the game does support a controller and once I had that in my hands everything came naturally. Aside from my initial hand cramping, God Mode was easy to get into and enjoy. Each arena takes about 15 minutes to complete so it doesn't require a lot of time. This is a plus for those with a busy schedule, although you can easily find yourself spending hours playing the game. On the other hand I wouldn't say that God Mode has the best replayability over time due to the limited number of arenas, ranking system, and unlockables. Fun for a day and then put it away.
Final Rating: 71%. God Mode is great mindless entertainment, until you start paying attention and are left wanting more...