God Hand review - Edward Roivas Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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God Hand review

In God Hand, you play as Gene, a man who somehow has the arm of God. In the beginning they just throw you and Gene's sort-of friend Olivia into a village filled with enemies without any real explanation (Olivia is only there during the cutscene, just to be clear). It's filled in later through flashbacks, but the story isn't really important. It only really serves as a vehicle to move you through the game, and it's not meant to be taken seriously, opting for a plot that's 'so bad it's good'. The dialogue follows that, and it convinced me to watch the cutscenes better than many games. Here's a few gems; "Wax on wax off all you like, I'm still kicking your ass." "Bait, huh? Beware of what you hook!" "Didn't anyone tell him a fat man could never be a ninja?", or "Once I get a snack you're mine, c*bron!"

The characters are equally entertaining in their interactions with Gene, from the midget power rangers to the fat Mexican demon. I swear that Azel is a parody of Vergil from DMC and characters like him. They make fun of just about everyone in this game, so for the sake of saving my time, I'll just say that if you're human and too sensitive to not be offended by something that doesn't take itself seriously, Stop being such a little girl, you crybaby then don't buy God Hand. 

There are all kinds of little gags and references to video game cliches, like how after you save villagers they'll pull a giant treasure chest out of thin air then run away, or stand there saying "Thank you" and bowing forever. There are chihuahua races you can bet on, and they all have names like "Fission Mailed" or "Mikami's Head," and they reference Sony's infamous 2006 E3 event twice. It's a game made by gamers for gamers, and it's obvious that they really cared about the game with all the little details, like the fact you hear an audience cheering, sighing, or laughing at times depending on what''s happening.

A giant enemy crane. Protip: attack the weak point for massive damage.

Of course, all the dedication and humor in the world wouldn't be worth anything if the game wasn't good. So, it's a good thing that it is. One of the most unique features of the combat is the custom combo system; There are over a hundred moves to buy and map to your controls as you see fit, with a main combo of four to six attacks and five others that can be used at any time. There are also a number of secret moves that you'll always have (listed at the bottom of the review), for a total of about 20 attacks useable at a time. You can customize your set up at any time through the pause screen, so you don't have to worry about being stuck with a playstyle you don't like. 

Some of the moves are just more powerful versions of others, but the majority - I'd say around 70 - are distinct, well varied attacks. Some evade low attacks, some evade high attacks, others are guard breakers, others hit three or even five times with a single move, and that's all in addition to differences in speed and damage. You buy attacks from the shop between areas, and if you need cash you can even sell ones you don't use.

That's very unique, but it's actually not the most unique thing about it. That goes to the dodging system and controls in general. The left analog stick rotates you and makes you walk forward and backwards, and L1 makes you do a 180 degree turn. The right analog doesn't move the camera, but performs dodges. Forward makes you sway to avoid high attacks while letting you stay up close, left and right make you sidestep to avoid vertical attacks and move to a better position, and back causes you to do a backflip, putting distance between you and the enemy as well as avoiding low attacks. It's hands down the best dodging system I've ever used. You have to choose the right dodge corresponding to the enemy attack and you feel much more involved than in other games, and it's very satisfying to get through an area without a scratch.


The controls in general are unorthodox to say the least, but they're not remotely bad. I had the normal twenty minutes or so to adjust, then I had the controls down. The only time in the game where the controls were legitimately to blame for my death was one boss fight where you fight three enemies at once, and I couldn't get away because they had me surrounded and there's a sort of lock on; my attempts to run right past them caused me to run straight into them.

To top it all off, you've got Stun Moves, the God Hand itself, and the Roulette Wheel. After knocking an enemy around enough they'll get dizzy and you can do a stun move by pushing circle, which lets you do a high amount of damage as well as making you invulnerable to attack. The God Hand is for the most part a standard "temporary boost," it makes you invincible and unblockable, lets you punch at blinding speeds, and increases damage. The only thing that makes it different is that it can't be turned off until the time has expired, so the choice to use it carries more weight: if you're using it, you're using all of it and can't until it's refilled.

The Roulette attacks are Awesome Yet Practical moves that have effects ranging from pulling an enemy to you and stunning them to healing you or kicking enemies into orbit. You've got a limited supply though, so you're going to want to save them for when you need them or boss fights. You can get more by picking up cards that may be dropped by enemies or crates. You can have up to 10 of the 25-30 equipped at a time.

Remember what I just said about kicking an enemy into orbit? Things like that are a big part of why the combat in God Hand is so satisfying - just about every normal attack causes enemies to visibly recoil, go flying across the area, or get juggled in the air. The Roulette moves can kick enemies between the legs and cause the expected reaction, stomp them into the ground, Dragon Kick their asses into the Milky Way, or turn you into Scorpion from Mortal Kombat.

GET OVER HERE!

In your time playing God Hand, you'll fight robots, ninjas, gorillas, monks, clowns, thugs, demons, midgets, fat people, and more. There are a number of distinct fighting styles they use, with several types using different variations of the same style. 

There are many bosses with their own entertaining personalities that you'll often fight twice, but they always give them new moves on the rematch, if not make the actual boss completely different. For instance, early in the game you fight three bosses one at a time. Later, you fight them all at once. The third time you fight Elvis and the second time you fight Shannon they transform into demon form, making them completely different. When it comes to quality, all the boss battles are great, and very challenging.

That brings me to one of the best innovations in the game - dynamic difficulty. As you do better a bar in the bottom left fills, and as you do worse it empties. When it fills the level goes up, when it empties it goes down. There's levels 1, 2, 3, and Die. Rather than inflating their health bars, increasing levels makes enemies counter your attacks more effectively, attack from behind, work together, and use more complex combos. At level 1 it's slightly below 'normal', level 2 is harder than the average game, level 3 is a challenge, and on level Die you will die. Assuming you're good enough to get past level one, it ensures the game is difficult but manageable, and you're rewarded with more money the higher the level. Easy mode locks you into 1 and 2, makes you stronger in the beginning, and makes enemies stupider than they normally are on those levels. Hard locks you into Die (masochists only). For normal mode, there's a Roulette move that lets you grovel at the enemies feet and lower the difficulty to level one, which I never used but would be helpful if you're hard pressed and almost dead, or just Completely Terrible at action games.

My first playhtrough took 15 hours, but now on my second I'm halfway through and it's taken me four hours. There are 50 challenges that pit you against enemies and bosses in a controlled environment, with challenge and reward ranging from an easy 1000 G to a 50000G that only a God Hand God could get.

God Hand doesn't do much. It doesn't have platforming, puzzles, an intricate branching storyline, or any of that. It does one thing; combat, and it does it pretty damn well. So well, I'm giving it a 10/10.

Best credits ever, fact not opinion.

For those interested in a bit of Hawke review trivia, I have reviewed 23 games. I have liked all but one of them and several are in my top 10, and I've only ever considered giving two games a 10. Metroid Prime and Advance Wars Days of Ruin (I settled on a 9.5 for the latter), and only two or three games have ever gotten a 9-9.75/10.

Also, I agreed to put a theme song for me in here if anyone came up with a good one, and my friend Shoob did. So here's my new review writing theme song, Completely Terrible Consciousness. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=nc-k62EoZzA

 ♫ The unintelligible Sentence, They cannot give unbiased reviews, give up free will forever, innovation won't be played at all. Display obediance, while never questioning complaints, and blindly swear allegiance (let reviews scores control your mind, let review scores control your purchase!) Don't you worry you'll be told what to pre-order, I give my gamers the reviews they need, common sense will succeed! The hyperboles will fool the weak, so we'll make fun games obsolete MAKING WHOLE THE FABRIC OF SOCiiiiiiieeTTY! Completely Terrible controls as you will see! (let review scores control your purchase. let review scores control your purchase. let review scores control your purchase. let review scores control. your. purchase!) ♫

*This review has not been edited to address the Hawke trivia mechanics

The Secret moves: Double tap the analog stick towards your enemy and tap triangle for a dragon kick, square for a dive and x for a baseball slide that knocks your opponents to the ground.   When your opponent is on the ground hold the analog stick forward and press triangle to juggle them (its also a chargeable attack) and when they're in the air press back or forward on the analog and triangle for and uppercut or mid air kick and sometimes x for a a somersault.

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