With a majority of today’s developers obsessed with creating complicated stories surrounding enchanting characters, it’s occasionally refreshing to experience a title that allows you to have mindless fun. Old School Game’s God Mode won’t win any awards for its story, but it’s devilishly simple gameplay is enjoyable in brief burst.
As a descendant of long forgotten ancient gods, you’re banished into the pits of Hades and turned into mortals. To avoid eternal damnation, you must fight your way through hordes of hellish minions in order to attain ‘God Mode’ and reclaim your immortal godly legacy. That’s as deep as the plot gets, as God Mode is all about surviving waves of enemies as you build up your EXP and collect gold. Each of the five maps aka “Mazes” are divided by sections and you’ll have to complete a randomly selected modifier called Tests of Faith in order to progress to the next section. With over 40 Tests of Faith, the gameplay manages to stay fresh as you are faced with conditions like: smaller or larger enemies, unlimited ammo, loss of armor or instant death after a single hit. Each one ensures that your tactics for every section changes accordingly in order to survive.
Although God Mode can be played alone, teaming up with three players for some online cooperative action reminded me of a crazed version of Gears of War’s Horde mode. Three lives are granted to each player, but parties consisting of four players will share a pool of lives. This adds a strategic layer to the otherwise frantic gameplay since you’ll want to work together as a team, especially if a member lacks combat skills. But beware, lose all your lives and you’ll have to start all over again, as there are no checkpoints within any of the Mazes.
Upon creating a match, you’ll select the difficulty of your opponents–earning more EXP and coins the higher you go. Your character is armed with a SMG, a Shotgun and a Shield ability. Each weapon can be upgraded in the damage, accuracy, and magazine size department, in addition to an Olympian Upgrade that does something different depending on which firearm is being upgraded. If you wish to purchase additional weapons then you will need to subject yourself to grinding through each Maze to unlock the good stuff–Railgun, Buzzsaw, Machine Gun, and more.
You can also activate Oaths, which are personal restrictions that multiply EXP and gold earned at the end of the match. These are activated separately by each player and do not affect the other three participants. 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. Scattered around each Maze are health, armor, and ammo pickups, and obtaining those items turns into a wild race to outrun your teammates.
The five different Mazes you can choose from are fairly different from each other, but after a few rounds, you’ll
realize they all follow the same routine– complete six or seven section, followed by a boss fight. Though the bosses themselves offer some decent variety, they’re quick, easy, and not nearly enough to support the whole experience. Those five maps are nicely detailed but become tedious very quickly, and with only the one game mode, it’s difficult to avoid repetition. From crumbling temples to fiery pits of Hades, the backgrounds are more often than a beautiful site to behold.
Complete a mission and you’ll be granted a short amount of time to gather as much gold as you can possibly find. The catch is that friendly fire is turned on during this brief romp and can become frustrating if there’s someone with a very powerful weapon killing you when you simply want to collect gold.
Introducing all these novel features may be well and good, but they mean nothing if the controls are horrible. Character controls are not an issue in God Mode as they are easy to handle and fluid. There are, however, a handful of notable issues, including unresponsive reloading and clumsy dodging. Enemies AI won’t really give you much trouble once you learn the mechanics and basics and all you’ll need to do is hold down the trigger button for the most part and strafe from side to side.
Despite some shortcoming, God Mode is a lot of fun. If you’re looking for a straightforward game to turn your brain off and kill legions of skeletons, Minotaurs, the undead and numerous other residents of Hades, the arcade style gameplay is a must buy if you don’t mind grinding you way to the good stuff.
Editor’s Note: God Mode was reviewed using a Xbox 360 copy of the game. If further investigation reveals any differences between the 360 edition and the PS3 edition of the game, this review will be updated to reflect those differences.