No budget and no new ideas make Gods a less than enthralling action RPG, even with its Penthouse Pet star.
- Mostly competent effort based on the age-old RPG design template.
- Deeply clichéd and derivative in story, setting, and quests
- Lots of translation issues in dialogue
- Dated visuals.
Role-playing games don't come much cheaper or generic than Gods: Lands of Infinity. This by-the-numbers RPG isn't so much awful as it is afflicted by a total lack of innovation by the developers at Cypron Studios and bargain basement production values. With that said, this is still a relatively competent take on the genre that you might enjoy, depending on your tolerance for tedium, as well as some of the goofiest voice acting and dialogue ever committed to an RPG.
As is the case with a lot of these generic fantasy types, the story is sufficiently ridiculous. It may actually be a little dumber than most. The plot relies on the antiquated hero-with-amnesia gimmick. Every character and place has also been stricken with absurd names like Svatopluck or Woda Gdely. You play Vivien, a magical hero created by a fire god named Arsvaargh. Her goal is to end a war of the gods on the world of Bellarion and find the mysterious artifact needed to defeat the god of darkness, Xarax (not to be confused with his older brother Xanax, the god of "please don't take these with alcohol"). To accomplish this mighty task, Vivien is sent to another world on a quest to contact the different gods there. Of course, she manages to lose all of her Arsvaargh-granted special abilities en route to this new land. So you're the typical neophyte adventurer, gaining experience points, leveling up, and choosing a career path from fighter, mage, or alchemist options. The only thing that stands out in this insipid saga is Kyla Cole, the 2000 Penthouse pet of the year, as she supplies the face and voice of Vivien. It's not every day you get a former nude model starring in an RPG--reasonably clothed, at that.
Despite the goal of averting an apocalypse, your mission doesn't involve a lot of earth-shaking assignments. Almost every job that Vivien accepts has been scarfed from the big book of clichéd RPG quests. She escorts merchants, kills monsters for gold, fetches random junk for unfortunate travelers, and so on. The only somewhat interesting aspect of world construction here is the free market that runs through the different towns. Constant hints are given about merchants who are selling low and about others who are buying high. So if you want to put the time into playing as trader, you can make a fair bit of gold running pottery to beekeepers or buying fish from one merchant on the cheap and hiking across the way to another paying big bucks; that sort of thing.
Needless to say, medieval mercantilism isn't exactly thrilling. You have to spend a lot of time wandering from one town to the next scrounging up deals, and every single map seems to have been designed so that it takes a minute or more to get from the entrance to the guy with the goodies. Unfortunately, trading is flat-out necessary because of the paltry amount of cash on offer in quests, as well as the high price of such vital goodies as armor and weapons (800 GP for a warhammer?). You've got to run a lot of escort missions (which regenerate every few days) and flog a lot of crap to afford much of anything. This even includes a paltry piece of mail to replace the leather halter and miniskirt you wear at the start of the game.
Other aspects of the game can be just as tedious as the traveling salesman stuff. You have to scarf down meals when out in the wild. Swigging from your water bottle and chowing down on fruit or meat is a necessity every day because hunger or thirst prevents you from resting to regain hit points. You're a weak sister when it comes to carrying capacity too, which makes it tough to haul the crazy amount of food and water you need when on a quest. The game also automatically picks up every item dropped by enemies at the end of each combat, even if doing so makes you so encumbered that you can no longer move.
Speaking of combat, it's a little on the slow side as well. Battles are waged in a turn-based mode centered on action points, which is similar to the way that scraps were staged in the Fallout games of the late '90s. Basically, you pick an attack method or choose between casting a spell and quaffing a potion during each turn. Then you complete this action and endure monster attacks. Still, despite a fair bit of repetition, you can't just fall into a trance and repeatedly hit the max-damage attack option. Action points are doled out in such a way that you're stuck with no options but defending every third turn or thereabouts, which means that you have to think tactically. Enemies don't have to take any pauses, so smart choices are a must to avoid getting slaughtered during these down times. Battles can actually be oddly compelling once you start encountering serious opposition. A lot is riding on each decision that you make. It almost feels like you're solving puzzles during each battle to maximize the damage you're dealing out and minimize the damage that you're receiving.
Presentation values don't get in the way of all the above too much, at least if you've got a sense of humor. The biggest issue is with the audio. All of the voice samples seem to have been provided by a handful of people, and typically the same person handles all characters of a specific type. So you'll encounter lines of guards all voiced by the same guy, merchants all voiced by the same woman, and so on. Cole doesn't say all that much in her role as Vivien, either, and what she does contribute is spoken in a monotone with all the passion of ordering Chinese takeout. There are also a lot of odd miscues and grammatical mistakes in the dialogue, as well some really funny mangled English. Somebody you've just met introduces himself with the supremely bizarre "I'm a man, the lord of procreation." A warrior in a company of adventurers proclaims that they "wander around the world killing bastards, relieving people of their troubles." An armorer pitches his wares by telling you that "your handsome body needs to be protected." Music isn't quite so humorous. It's repetitive and often annoyingly flighty, as if a bunch of elves were mincing around just out of your sight with a Casio keyboard. Atmospheric and battle effects are virtually impossible to notice, which is probably a good thing.
Visuals aren't quite as in-your-face with their crumminess. Many locations in the game would be downright attractive if this were still 2001. Still, it's not all bad. There's a colorful medieval glow to the lushly green outdoor settings, and the first-person camera does a good job of showing off these few graphical highlights. However, there are apparently just a dozen or so character types, so you repeatedly run into the same guys and gals. This can really evoke some déjà vu in combination with hearing the same few actors speaking all of the dialogue. Character animations are universally atrocious too. Humans and humanoids stride about uncomfortably upright, as if they had pool cues shoved down their pantaloons.
Gods: Lands of Infinity shouldn't be the first game you pick off the shelf. But if you're jonesing for an RPG in a bad way and have low enough standards, you could find yourself settling for this mostly competent yet deeply clichéd game. Then again, you could also choose from any number of much, much better options as well.