God Mode – game review
If gunning through hordes of classic Greek creatures with modern weapons has always been your fantasy then this Painkiller alike shooter will prove to be hours of fun for you and your co-op buddies. It takes the common “horde” or “survival” mode from games and made a whole co-op orientated game out of it. The game even though supports single player play, but the game is more enjoyable as a co-op game.
The game is played from a 3rd person perspective and is all about surviving to the best of your limits against the onslaught of Greek armies of underworld, often accompanied by quirky remarks by Hades as the commentator. Even though the premises maybe simple but the game does innovate by adding some in-game modifiers which change the gameplay interestingly. These changes can bring world vs world fights in which even different creature start to fight each other rather than just you, or activate an alter which acts as a safe heaven and any enemy coming close to it will die, but it also makes you a sitting duck for ranged enemies. There is also insta-gib (one shot one kill) modifier which is pretty deadly in friendly fire mode. One mode adds a cloud around each player and if players come in contact of each others radius will get damaged. There are also some visual modifiers only which are not too interesting like the one which increase the head size of all enemies. Overall these add a great fun way to juggle between different varieties but what I liked about the game the most is that these modifiers don’t have to be selected from game main menu. Normally in other multiplayer games, the game modes are selected from outside and accordingly server lists are filtered. But here its just 1 main game mode, so every server can be joined up and then modifiers are activate inside the game using alters. So, within one session you may experience many game modes to keep things fresh on each wave.
The game also has a lot of unlocks and progression levels. These not only include visual upgrades for your character to customize their head, pants, body etc but also their weaponry. You start with a sub machine gun and a shot gun but there are a lot more fun weapons awaiting you as you progress. One of the game modes in the game changes your weapon randomly time after time, and that will give you a taste a lot of weapons to come to you in near future. Other than these permanent unlockable, game also features “Oaths”. These are indivdiual modifiers which can activate abilities like extra gold pickup or XP gain but at cost of lower health or lower ammo pickup etc. So, you can activate oaths based on your gameplay style to influence property you are weak at.
Visually the game is very pleasing for an indie game. The whole theme of the game is around Greek mythology so from creatures to levels, you will experience many familiar faces and architectural styles. You may even encounter some large colossal beings during your course which look awesome and I just wish that just like Painkiller there were more of those encounters in the game. Aesthetically all the levels felt like they are floating in air which does make it look like a lazy approach by developers to just put a sky-box around it rather than detailing around the arenas, but it also made the levels more open and visually easy on the eyes. Gameplay wise the levels are better designed than many other horde/wave games that instead of just throwing enemies again and again in same location the game sets up smaller arenas in level for you to fight in and upon completing the wave, new area is unlocked where you have to proceed to continue the fight. This gives a real sense of progression to gamers who otherwise may get quickly get bored over repetitive nature of the game. There are 5 arenas at launch time and lets hope they add around that many more as a free DLC which will make the game more worthy of its price.
The game obviously lacks much in overall amount of content it throws at you. Limited number of repetitive enemies, Limited levels, Non-imaginative weapons all point to a crude budgeted game. The game fails to take full advantage of its co-op orientation. There is no gameplay mechanism to force you to help your friends, there are no enemies that do require multiple friends to collaborate and take down; which is quite odd for a game that emphasizes co-op play only.
At $10 price of course we didn’t expect AAA level of content but still just a bit more content should have made the choice easier regarding its purchase. My favorite part of the game does remain the game modifiers and those comments by Hades; I do wish those were not limited to pre-game time only. Those could have set a unique personality tone for the game just like the commentator in Bastion had done. If you have enjoyed games like Painkiller and Serious Sam in past, and have friends who would be willing to play with you then you will have a blast playing through in the start. But game life is limited and slowly after a while you will outgrow it.