God Mode Review

God Mode may not be divine, but it delivers buckets of flawed fun for a few hours.

Hades might be hell in a toga, to quote the sarcastic narrator of four-player horde shooter God Mode, but its motley rogues' gallery of demons and monsters never quite equals the hellishness of enduring multiple matches that freeze at the good parts. For PC players, at least, that's where the true torment of this trip through the underworld lies. That's a shame, because there's a good bit of fun waiting in God Mode's corpse-strewn halls, and it's especially worth suffering through if you bring along three friends.

But if you're looking for a good story, look somewhere else. The most you get out of God Mode lies in the loading screens that reveal your Olympian ancestry and in the narrator's bemused commentary on your invariably unheroic demise. Sometimes you're pegged as a poor soul who suffered a headfirst skateboarding accident; at other times, you're the guy who put on jeans that were three sizes too small. This is a game that's solely about the pleasures of killing hordes of underworld denizens with up to three other players (although you can create a private match for yourself, if you wish), and there's something refreshing about the way it all but sneers at giving meaning to the proceedings.

God Mode's aesthetic appeal instead lies in the occasionally stunning visuals of its five maps, which run the gamut from crumbling Hellenic temples to iron-laced hell pits that would look at home in any God of War release. Fitting, then, that advancement through these maps also plays out somewhat like God of War, with portals sealing off the exit to the next arena until you've slaughtered all the enemies in sight. Make it to the end, and you're treated to a treasure room that's bursting with coins you can use for new weapons, cosmetic items, or upgrades, along with a sudden shift to friendly fire that lets you turn on the three buddies who helped you reach this point.

Slaughter lies at the heart of the game and its three difficulty modes, and more often than not, it's fun. Weapons generally pack a satisfyingly meaty punch (particularly if you're playing with a controller with a rumbler), and the enemies come in enough varieties to keep you looking out for colossal challenges like minotaurs and cyclopes amid the rank-and-file armored skeletons. In addition, acid-spewing harpies and hideously deformed cupids provide ranged contrasts to the generally melee-oriented hordes, as do globe-flinging Atlas statues. Upgradable special abilities add further spice in tight spots, ranging from simple shields to spells that force your enemies to lend a helping hand.

Atlas Bugged.

The weakness of the combat lies in the movements of the avatars themselves, who walk and dodge with such nonchalance that you'd think they were playing with their dogs rather than battling the legions of the underworld. Even so, an option to sprint takes away much of the pain, and the lack of cover mechanics, apart from being able to stand behind titanic environmental elements, imbues the entire gameplay with a welcome urgency.

Thankfully, God Mode never lets itself stay too retro. For one, it breaks up the otherwise repetitive pattern of clearing rooms of demons with several random tests of faith, which toss in a new mutator every time you move to a new arena. Sometimes different weapons appear in your hands every few seconds; sometimes one massive enemy remains invincible until the rest are taken care of; and sometimes you even find your foes simply cavorting about in party hats. Other features help stave off the threat of tedium. Wanting a greater challenge or finding yourself bored with the grind needed to unlock a new level? You can hobble yourself with up to seven oaths by sacrificing key elements, such as your shields or your damage output, for massive boosts to your experience points or gold. It's a welcome touch, even if it sometimes paradoxically lets you rush through the content. Leveling either solo or without oaths is tough, yes, but take most of the oaths, team up with three competent players, and you'll find yourself unlocking items in an hour that once felt as though they'd take days to acquire.

Yet the biggest problem is that leveling isn't as fulfilling as it should be. Sure, each new level unlocks new ways to spend your gold on pirate caps, plasma pistols, new special skills, and the like, but both weapons and cosmetic items in particular suffer from a disappointing lack of variety. Female characters are out of the question, and the buzz saw is about as outlandish as you get for weaponry in this otherworldly setting that begs for surprises like flamethrowers or even ancient Greek weaponry. Worse yet, considering the comparatively limited ammo and firing rate of the higher-level weapons, you'll find you can hold your own just as well at the higher levels with a fully upgraded version of the SMG you received at level 1 as you can with the buzz saw.

Play like a real mortal. None of that silly shield and auto-healing business.

Other troubles plague the PC version's multiplayer arenas. As of the time of writing, many multiplayer games end in midcombat with the enemies running in place and invulnerable to attacks, even though the players can still run around and fire their weapons. The action never starts up again, which means you need to exit and begin another round. (Thankfully, you retain the XP and gold you earned before such desertions.) There's also no push-to-talk command or an option to turn off voice chat unless you're in a custom match, which means you're stuck listening to the cacophony of echoes from up to three bad microphones during the slaughter. And when random players inevitably crank up their own music, God Mode truly begins to feel like hell.

Still, God Mode offers a decent amount of fast-paced fun for an agreeable price, but it isn't long before the tedium of repeating the same five levels starts to set in. In time, even the tests of faith and the oaths can't hold this sensation at bay. But if you're only looking for a few hours of entertaining mindless horde shooting, God Mode generally does a decent job of providing it.

The Good
Beautiful demonic environments
Mutators add variety to otherwise repetitive gameplay
Satisfying co-op gunplay
Oaths allow you to customize your difficulty level
The Bad
Suffers from frequent crashes
No option to turn off voice chat
Limited map content gets old quickly
6
Fair
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Leif Johnson (pronounced "Layf") is a freelance writer whose works have appeared on GameSpot, IGN, PC Gamer, Official Xb

Discussion

18 comments
Necrotron
Necrotron

Still has the crashing issues in August, but the game is still a good deal of arcade shooting fun for as long as you feel like replaying the five levels they've crafted.  At least now you can turn off voice chat in the options menu.

DeViLzzz
DeViLzzz

11 people trying to figure out if they want to buy this game on Steam

F0U666
F0U666

Excellent gameplay and maps, but slow leveling, annoying gun accuracy and only 5 maps

Kaobasa
Kaobasa

The game does indeed crash.  It's happened to me a couple of times.  The voice chat is annoying, or I should say WAS annoying.  It's been patched.  Haven't had many crashes lately either since the patch.

rushiosan
rushiosan

How many shooters will we have available on 2020? I bet on a couple millions.

Sudieken
Sudieken

Spot-on review. If you have the extra 10 bucks this game is definitely worth it.

DemonsWhip
DemonsWhip

Suffers from frequent crashes???? Its a lie

axelx666
axelx666

Atlus is one of my favorite companies..(persona and shin megami tensi)

it seems they are becoming the equivalent of bethesda..publishing semi-par games and when they release games they do well but are bug filled..

ATLUS=JAPANESE BETHESDA!

Hurvl
Hurvl

A review, but no review score. Guess I'll just have to read it to find out how good it is then.

Esotericus
Esotericus staff

@DemonsWhip I'll also add that this is one of the reasons why I tend to avoid server-side issues in my reviews if I can. To me (and this is a personal opinion), they're not really reflective of the game itself. As I heard it said somewhere once, it's like claiming you dislike a movie because the theater you saw it in was bad. But as we know from Diablo III, SimCity, and the like, a lot of players think differently.

But when I was playing it in preparation for this review (a few days ago now), the issues were just too great to ignore. And so in they went. Glad to hear things have ironed out a bit--and that, after all, is one of the benefits of a comments section.

Sakuban
Sakuban

@DemonsWhip i played it on steam about 10 hours, i also never encountered a crash issue. But i heard somehow some people have this issues according to the forum. Anyhow this review stinks old. They patched the game 2 days ago to fix the mic issues (and a mute option is added)) and they fixed crashing issues for some people.

Only point i agree with that review is map repetition. Test of Faiths adds a certain variety for sure but not enough. A random map generator could add this game infinite fun. Anyhow, game is very cheap and very fun for couple of hours, i think it's fair.

I dont know if they plan to add more maps or a steam workshop. It could be great. So, as the conclusion 6.0 is not a fair score but its not unfair too. I would have go for 7.0.

DuaMn
DuaMn

@Hurvl Like you should have if you want to really know if it's good or not. I can give you numbers for free if you want, though. Here is a 547 for you.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@Hurvl That's odd--it's showing up for me. I refreshed the page cache; try a shift-F5 and see if it appears then.

Esotericus
Esotericus staff

@DemonsWhip Eh, I agree with some of Sakuban's points, but I'm required to reviewed the game as I experienced it, and I'd already given it more time to "sit" than I normally would for a game this size.

Also, just because you didn't experience it--don't say it's a "lie." Plenty of people on the Steam forums were complaining of the same. I checked, just to make sure it wasn't me. (And I knew it wasn't because I could hear everyone else complaining about it on voice chat.)

Hurvl
Hurvl

@DuaMn I prefer the numbers 42, 3.14 and 666, lol.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Kevin-V It's there now, though it wasn't there when I posted the comment 3 hours ago.

God Mode More Info

  • First Released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 3
    • Xbox 360
    God Mode is a humorous co-op third person shooter with non-linear gameplay, fast and frantic shooting, hordes of on-screen enemies, and stunning visuals.
    6.1
    Average User RatingOut of 59 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate God Mode
    Developed by:
    Old School Games
    Published by:
    ATLUS
    Genres:
    Action, Third-Person, Shooter, 3D, Team-Based
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    All Platforms
    Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Suggestive Themes