God Mode bills itself as a retro horde shooter with RPG elements. On first glance, this appears rather needless since there are already lots of great games that do this. Then however, I noticed it was being published by Atlus which is well-known for releasing great titles including Catherine and the Persona Series. A friend decided to take the plunge and I joined him so we could check it out since it appeared a game best played with friends. We were not mistaken.
Important Note: This review is based on impressions of about two hours of play with one teammate.
At its core, God Mode is a co-op horde game with a few twists and could easily be compared to Killing Floor or Halo’s Firefight mode. A handful of players (1-4) face large waves of AI controlled enemies and they must fight their way through. Each of the five maps are broken up into arenas you travel through and kill things. This basic game style is really straightforward so I’m going to focus on what makes God Mode different from the rest.
The biggest unique feature is that each arena has a random “Test of Fate” which is a gameplay modifier which can greatly change the situation. These are basically the same as Unreal’s mutator system. Some give you unlimited ammo or cause you to get random weapons every few seconds and one even gives you allied demons to fight with you. These effects vary and I have not seen them all, however take note that many of them also help the enemy and make it more difficult as well. I’ve found this to be a huge addition that really adds variation to what would be otherwise a mostly mundane shooter.
For the hardcore players, you can also take an Oath before a match which is similar to Tests of Fate but are chosen by the players. These are fairly varied and can add an extra challenge so I do feel this game is great for really good players who want something harder.
The AI is fairly dumb but does it’s job well, lower demons mostly just bullet sponges to shoot at while you scramble around the larger, special demons. One thing that was really nailed well was the frantic, running & gunning aspect. If you don’t keep moving, you will die and I was actually impressed at how well it countered our attempts to stop moving even for a few seconds.
In terms of weapons, these are fairly boring. You have the same two weapons for the entire match and cannot pickup weapons or gain them except through a Test of Fate. You start with an SMG/Shotgun combo and it will take around an hour of gameplay to unlock your first weapon (a revolver) and of course it takes longer for higher weapons. This is a really bad grind system and while It’s always nice to have something to strive for, I feel this is where the entire game is let down in a big way. Firing the same weapons for an entire match, which can take around 30 minutes, gets dull after a few matches and I honestly don’t have the desire to grind for ages just to unlock another gun. In addition to this, you can also choose to upgrade weapons and increase specific stats. Again though, this uses the same currency that might go to better weapons and seems a huge grind.
For starters, the music is decent but repetitive and will grate on you in time. The sound effects however are good and fit with nothing out-of-place that I noticed. As for the announcer, He rarely talks and when he does there are too many off-taste jokes that should have never have been made. I realize they’re trying to be amusing, but many miss the mark and it would simply be better without them.
On release the game had always-on voice chat which as you can imagine, was fairly horrible. Thankfully however, the developers have patched this and it is no longer an issue.
I can see where this game is going and it has some really cool ideas. I’ve been fairly harsh, but the price is reasonable and this game would be a blast with a full 4 player team of your friends. The problem is, most games would be and so I’m judging it on what it actually provides. If this game has continued support from the developers, and the Steam forums seem to indicate this, then It would be a great game for a group of friends to play. If you don’t have those friends however, I wouldn’t recommend it.
Update #2: The developers have released a patch to fix the voice chat issue as well as a number of stability and performance issues. Patch notes can be found on the Steam forums.
- Solid foundation assuming dev support
- Random “Tests of Fate” game modifiers are great fun
- Frantic gameplay is great with friends and is very easy to learn
- Repetitive Gameplay
- Slow upgrade unlocks
- Technical Difficulties
- Plans to return to game? Possibly after some patches
- Total time played: 2 hours