God Hand Exclusive Preview

Capcom invites you to rediscover the joy of knocking the crap out of fools with its funky brawler. Now with surf music!

There's absolutely something to be said for a good, old-fashioned brawler. Back before games were sweating such things as high-poly visuals, epic stories, and online whatzis, there was the brawler. The lean, pick-up-and-play genre used to be one of the staples of any gaming diet, and Capcom was one of the key developers that helped it thrive. Fast forward to today, and we have been presented with God Hand for the PlayStation 2. This original game from Japanese publisher Clover Studios, maker of the upcoming gem Okami and the Viewtiful Joe series, is essentially a new type of brawler that marries the accessibility of the old-school genre with modern staples such as character progression, customization, and a story to give it a bit of depth. The funky title first caught our eye at E3 with its quirky style, sense of humor, and old-school gameplay with a new twist. Plus there was a large monkey in a wrestling outfit in the trailer for the game, which featured a Broadway-style dance number. Obviously an exclusive had to be secured, and lo, we have. Does God Hand live up to our lofty and eccentric expectations? From what we've played so far, it surely does.

First Viewtiful Joe, then Okami, and now the folks at Clover Studios are bringing us a good, old-fashioned beat 'em up with God Hand.

So how does one make all the craziness we've seen in our previous looks at the game into a coherent story? Well, one doesn't. Instead, one makes a big old epic tale that favors the bizarre. God Hand's backstory revolves around an ancient legend wherein humanity was saved from Satan by a powerful fighter. Said fighter was allegedly blessed with divine power in his arms and used his martial arts skills to defeat Satan. (This is just a flowery way to say that a dude appeared and beat the crap out of Satan. No matter how you slice it, though, we appreciate the visual.) In the wake of this victory, mankind dubbed the power "god hand," and a legend sprang up that anyone who obtained the power could become a god or a demon.

This brings us to Gene, God Hand's main character, who finds himself souped up by said power. How does a 23-year-old adventurer wind up with such awesome might? You can blame Olivia, a damsel in distress whose family was entrusted with protecting the power of the god hand. Unfortunately, a recent demon attack has done some pruning to Olivia's family tree and left the young girl running for her life. A chance encounter with Gene--and presumably not a whole lot of options--finds Olivia giving him the power and asking for some help. The fateful meeting finds the pair on the run, but Gene, being the chivalrous dude that he is, is looking to even the odds and help out the little lady.

The reasonably straightforward story is complemented by straightforward gameplay that has you beating the crap out of anything that moves and collecting all manner of items. You'll travel from area to area as Gene and Olivia get on their way. Before advancing, you'll have to deal with a certain number of enemies and watch a cutscene or two. Though this sounds pretty basic, there are a number of touches that help keep the game from being a button masher. On your journey of butt kicking you'll pick up a number of collectibles that will come in handy during battle. Besides the basics of life, like food, the pickups will include items that will tie in to the game's "roulette" wheel, which is where the really fun aspects of combat lie.

Besides having a standard array of combat moves, such as punches, kicks, and the ability to use anything lying around to beat people, Gene's big gun is the god hand, which lets him perform a number of different and outrageously powerful moves. To pull these off you'll need a full tension gauge and a stock of roulette orbs. The orbs let you cycle through the moves you have available to you via the god hand. As you progress through the game you can purchase more in shops and, best of all, customize Gene's moves to include the moves you want. This personalization is a cool addition that we were very into as we dug the flexibility it offered. The various moves you can pick up offer a range of attacks that cater to different play styles. Each move has an over-the-top touch that's ridiculous (in a good way). In addition, the level of interactivity in the environments highlights the insane moves as you take out roofs and furniture with aplomb, and there are a whole lot of flying bodies.

The visuals in the game are coming together nicely. The game sports a clean look complemented by an understated art style that's quite different than Clover's previous PS2 work. The game seems technically sound; Gene and the various characters he winds up encountering are an eclectic bunch that look good and move well. The downside is that the graphics look a bit dated and spare in spots, but the upside is that the work-in-progress game we played moves along at a pretty smooth frame rate, which bodes well for the final game.

Fighting with a huge sledgehammer. That's the kind of odds we like.

The audio is a great component of God Hand's experience thanks to a groovy soundtrack that's heavy on the jangly guitars and surfer feel. Though it can be over the top in a number of places, God Hand's soundtrack is a good accompaniment to the action. At the same time, the sound effects are very satisfying, most notably when stomping people on the head or hitting them with pipes. The voice acting is pretty out there in a number of places, but ultimately, it sells the eccentric story and characters very well.

Based on what we played so far, God Hand is shaping up to be a fun brawler with some cool perks. The game looks solid and has a definite personality that comes through. The bizarre sense of humor and quirky story are a great combo that has you playing through to see what other bizarre things will come your way. The gameplay feels very good. Once you've gotten the hang of the combat system down--not to mention have gone ahead and customized up a storm--the game is very fun. The action may a bit too simple for some, but regardless, it seems as though there's a respectable amount of fun to be had here. Anyone looking for a fun brawler in which they can take out the frustrations of their day on a pack of hoodlums and demons should keep an eye out for God Hand when it ships later this year. Look for more on the game in the coming week.

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Discussion

64 comments
zungmo
zungmo

it was best game for ME(dont know bout other ppl)

reipuerto
reipuerto

This game is going to rock!! No matter what anybody says!

powerframe8
powerframe8

I mean, capcom can't ruin games. Well the Legend of Kay was a load of crap, but its Capcom... they gave us resident evil, viewtiful joe, Okami!, etc. So, ill give this game a rent. But it looks too stupid to buy.

kells77
kells77

the review almost contradicts its self, but i will rent it. i have never heard of a simple old school game with complicated michanics.

boo_dat
boo_dat

this...game....looks....awful...'sright...I said it...sue me! Or you can even sew me...whichever works best for you!

yanks1112
yanks1112

If the Combat is anything like Devil May Cry then I'm excited.

LorenaLarue
LorenaLarue

I love these kind of games that don't require much thought, just some plain old fashion carnage. Now that's fun.

Guest_1001
Guest_1001

. . . Looks like the worst game I've ever seen. Terrible anime-inspired story, terrible anime-inspired characters, and another pile of martial arts-fuelled Japan-heavy garbage to add to Capcoms pile of festering game catalogue.

War-Tex
War-Tex

the fightin is awesome! and fast!

MogFromLeipzig
MogFromLeipzig

The fighting looks a bit slow to me. And yes at termadoyle "hope it's not another bouncer. "

jessicaevil
jessicaevil

This game looks really cool the garpics look nice and the gore looks pretty good too.

Max_Hydrogen
Max_Hydrogen

Is the beat'em-up still alive? The customization sounds like a good way of keeping the game interesting instead off always having the same moves throughout the entire game.

Cubeforever
Cubeforever

God Hand looks so so so so cool, fresh and fun, from what i saw. A game to watch closely.

PMC11
PMC11

looks good, but i hope you will be able to change the camera options more, i like the more overhead stlye instead of third person in this kinda game. but still looks like loadsa fun!

gozyaj
gozyaj

Cool Effects.... Cool Combos..... Wooo....This is gonna be FUN!!!! NEo will cry like a Baby on this one. hehehe....

lougs
lougs

looking forward in cheking it out hope its nice fun game

dazdndconfuzd
dazdndconfuzd

now....a game where you could put your own imagination into your kickass charater's combos.

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

the animations seem a little repetive but it still sounds like it will play greatly

MightyCowM
MightyCowM

"Said fighter was allegedly blessed with divine power in his arms and used his martial arts skills to defeat Satan. " - FINALLY! A Chuck Norris video game!

CapoX
CapoX

oooh... sweet * 1000 :D

lestat23l
lestat23l

oh man, its made by clover studios, oh sweet jesus yes, this will rock.

Light_Bahamut
Light_Bahamut

I love Ricardo's prose. I suspect Brad had a hand in it as well. Great writing, fellas. Oh, and Ricardo, make a profile and start posting some blogs. Your probably pretty busy with TGS coming up and all, but dude, some time you gotta get one up. You're a great writer.

Bluedog007
Bluedog007

Sounds cool, I need a new game for the PS2 so maybe this will be the one I'll get :)

kungfu23
kungfu23

im getting that for sure!!!

AnubanUT2
AnubanUT2

Sounds great ... a game for the casual gamer that is actually fun and not so damn complex. Cool ... really looking forward to this breathing some life into my PS/2 which I only bought for God of War anyway.

Paul_lucci
Paul_lucci

Who cares about visuals when a game is actually fun to play? This is why I don't have a 360 yet. There are still good games coming out for the systems we already have! God hand, God of war 2...God of , um gods...

xxxmacroxxx
xxxmacroxxx

Wow that game seems like a perfect fit for the Wii. That would be money in the bank for Capcom.

Xanog1
Xanog1

This game is going to be so much fun!

Demonbob
Demonbob

Love ya Clover Studios, you never disappoint :)

Dolacide
Dolacide

The games looks like fun, I just hope it isn't repetitive.

Gleba2388
Gleba2388

Dated visuals? I don't think the same way...

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

Posted Sep 1, 2006 6:12 am GMT spank_my_bottom What about Fist of the North Star Arcade ? Posted Sep 1, 2006 5:51 am GMT Yeah from the way they've described it it does sound like fist of the north star. Especially if there are some gory moves wear arms are pulled out of someone's sockets.

Thiago-d2
Thiago-d2

Not bad. Yep. Not bad at all.

ragrdoll21
ragrdoll21

i TOLD YOU GUYS THIS GAME WOULD BE FUN!;)

wjc04c
wjc04c

I hope it has 2 player co-op like all the good ol brawlers. ps2 is going out strong.

Deathwing13
Deathwing13

Looks pretty good. I like the style of it.

VegetaMaelstrom
VegetaMaelstrom

Looks good, I just hope the moves don't become repetitive.

vyrizzle
vyrizzle

I've had this game on my radar for awhile now, and i gotta say, each trailer max me laugh really hard. I can not wait for this game to be released! Crazy story lines there are also hilarious make my day. So bring on the GOD HAND!