God Hand Review
Originally written on November 6th, 2006
Clover Studios has a track record of creating some of the most offbeat and enjoyable games available. Games like Viewtiful Joe and Okami have given the studio a name synonymous with out-of-the-ordinary games that work. Clover Studios have once again teamed up with Capcom to bring their latest quirky title to the masses. God Hand, directed by Shinji Mikami of Resident Evil 4 fame and produced by Atsushi Inaba of the Phoenix Wright series, follows the story of a mysterious man named Gene who –while trying to be a hero rescues a girl named Olivia from some thugs and gets his arm ripped off in the process. Sound a little odd? Well, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
God Hand is no walk in the park and at times can be incredibly and frustratingly difficult, even on the easiest setting. There is no manual camera control and the movement controls can consistently be a pain in the ass. If you want to move sideways, you have to turn and then go forward or dodge sideways numerous times. When fighting, you have no block moves and will need to dodge all incoming attacks, which is something you had better get used to quickly or you won’t last long. There are plenty of objects scattered about every level to help you out when things get rough, however. Crates, barrels and just about everything else that can be picked up and tossed and will sometimes contain fruit for health, money bags, or cards for roulette attacks.
You have plenty of attacks at your disposal to kick some serious ass and this is what makes up the majority of gameplay found in God Hand. You have your regular punches and kicks that are called techniques. These regular attacks can be chained together, starting with four attacks and can later be increased as the game goes on. These moves can be customized in which order you want to use them and make a huge difference when it is done correctly. Having three moves that pound an enemy and then a fourth that juggles and a fifth that launches the enemy halfway across the area can make a staggering difference as opposed to having four or five attacks that simply lay a beating on them with underwhelming attacks.
Aside from the regular attack techniques, there are other more devastating attacks that can be found in the Roulette Wheel. The Roulette Wheel contains attacks that slow down time and allow you to select a certain move from the list you have collected so far. Each of these attacks can only be used if you have the corresponding number of roulette orbs in your possession. Some attacks take one orb, where some will take two or three to pull off.
The higher number of orbs it takes to perform the move, the quicker you will have to select it and the more devastating the damage it will dish out. Aside from all your fancy moves and techniques, you also have the God Hand at your side constantly. You have a tension meter beneath your health meter and the more you beat on enemies, the more the tension meter will fill up. Once it is full, you can unleash the God Hand and go to town on opponents with increased strength, speed and invulnerability to attacks.
More than a few times you will find yourself wondering just where you really are since when the game starts you are in an old western town of sorts but eventually move onto modern towns, deserts, circus tents, and more technology based areas. There’s no shortage of different environments and each one has an equally odd range of enemies that inhabit them.
Each area is as linear as they come and there is only one path through each, although there are buildings where you are able to break down the doors and explore the interiors for extra goodies. One of the game’s most glaring issues appear when you are running through towns and are close to buildings. The walls will disappear for a second or two and regardless if it was done so that the wall doesn’t block your view or it is a glitch, it gets very distracting.
At first glance God Hand seems like nothing but a repetitive brawler with wave after wave of enemies running at you, but as the game gets further along, there are plenty of things to keep your attention and keep you pushing through the rest of the game and its brutal difficulty. God Hand is definitely a unique game and the third-person style brawler that it is, brings a refreshing and distinctive flair that no other game has. Throw in the constant hilarity throughout the entire game with its unique characters and its off- brand humor and God Hand is a game that will be talked about for years to come.
|Title: God Hand
Developer: Clover Studios
Release Date: October 10th, 2006
Platforms Available: PlayStation 2
Platformed Reviewed: PlayStation 2
Game purchased for review