"Does this new kid on the block hold its own against all the other playground bullies?"
Gone are the days when horde modes were an enjoyable part of your favorite shooters. With God Mode, developer Old School Games is looking to convince you that a horde mode is worth an entire game in and of itself. But does this new kid on the block hold its own against all the other playground bullies? Let’s find out with our review of God Mode!
God Mode sounds just crazy enough to work. You play as someone who recently experienced a less than savory death, and are sent to Hell. For some reason or another, you don’t particularly like it there, and you and a few other of your eternally damned besties are looking to bust out. Thus is the premise of God Mode. Upon booting up the game you’ll be greeted by your “Spirit Guide”—think of a more twisted Disney villain—who explains to you that you are in Hades, or, “Hell with a toga”. Matches are designed around four-player co-op and are carried out over five different maps with three difficulty settings. Each map has five or six different Tests of Faith, different areas of the map that, upon completion, open up the next area and so on. Each Test of Faith sets certain stipulations for that area. Some may be helpful, like infinite ammo; and some may be extremely unhelpful, like an ammo drain. Tests of Faith are also littered with ammo, health and armor pickups that can be had at any point during the match. At the beginning of the match players may also set Oaths, which act almost exactly the same as Skulls in the Halo campaigns, making it more difficult for you to complete your mission by throwing a few wrenches into the system. The end goal is to make progress through the map’s Tests of Faith and break out of Hades.
"You should never make the player chose between a cosmetic piece of gear and something that will actually help in-game, like an upgrade to a weapon."
Anchoring the gameplay is a progression system. During a match you’ll gain experience and gold. As you level up, new weapons and cosmetic gear are unlocked, which you may then purchase using gold. Mind you, leveling up doesn’t take place within a match. You have a profile that you level up by playing matches. There are a number of problems with the progression system in God Mode. First off, it simply takes too long to level up. Playing and completing one match barely fills up your experience meter. This means that you have to do a lot of grinding in order to make any headway, and with most of the interesting and crazy weapons requiring high levels to unlock, you’ll be stuck with the starting weapons—a horrendous SMG and incredibly boring double-barrel shotgun—for quite some time. And, yes, you heard right: They managed to make a double-barrel shotgun boring. Also, things cost too much gold. You should never make the player chose between a cosmetic piece of gear and something that will actually help in-game, like an upgrade to a weapon; but, with the cost of everything so high, you’ll find yourself having to pinch pennies in order to get what you want.
"After playing God Mode for an entire day and only managing to level up one and a half times, a feeling of frustration took hold."
Unfortunately, all the grinding and the fact that you’re locked into the same weapons for an unreasonably long time make playing through waves and waves of the same enemies across five maps extremely boring. You spend too much time doing the same thing for so little reward that even the good parts of combat manage to become monotonous. The game could have benefited from a leveling system that took place during a match, much like the horde modes included in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Warhammer 40k: Space Marine. Also unfortunate is the fact that game just doesn’t work properly some of the time. About 35% of the twenty or so matches I played experienced significant lag or just outright stopped working, which is bad enough in and of itself; but, the game doesn’t disconnect you when things start to go awry, which just feels like adding insult to injury. For a game specifically designed for co-op play, the frequency of connection issues is unforgivable and ultimately means that I can’t recommend you pay money for this game.
After playing God Mode for an entire day and only managing to level up one and a half times, a feeling of frustration took hold. The first handful of matches were good fun, but after a while it just felt like the game was having fun at my expense. I’m sorry Old School Games, but I’m not going to play your game for an entire work day and end up having nothing to show for it. Not a new weapon, not new cosmetic gear, not even a new ability. I wanted to like God Mode, I really did. It’s a concept that, on paper, sounds absolutely ridiculous in the best ways possible. At the root of most of the game’s problems is the progression system. The amount of time it takes to unlock new weapons and have the gold to purchase them ensures that you’ll be spending a lot of time in Hades, and it’s just as awful as Dante made it out to be.
Review by: Jon Hamlin | Reviewed on: PC