God Mode is the new and intriguing shooter from Old School Games. Using the era’s old idea of Olympian Trials, players are the (dead) last of a banished bloodline from old Greek gods, pitted to fight for survival in the depths of Hades. Thankfully, players can work together and draw on their heritage to survive the perils and nasty deathtraps of the underworld. Pretty interesting premise, right? Well, that’s if the game boots, but more on that later.
The core foundation is a simple one that is heavy on the repetition – shoot and kill everything that isn’t you (this can include teammates) through the few maps the game offers. Think of a multiplayer version of Serious Sam, where enemies continually respawn and rush players in the hopes of rending the flesh from their bones and using it in some sort of ritual to Hades himself. Expect to see many of the classic Greek enemies – Cyclops, Minotaurs, undead warriors and gladiators – bearing down on you. Expect to utilize a variety of weapons in defense against these vicious beasts as well, all of them being machine guns, pistols and plasma weapons.
Wait, no sword? No shield? Isn’t his Ancient Greece and their underworld?
Yes, players will only be able to utilize modern and futuristic weapons in this all out brawl in Hell. There is the oddball chainsaw that is more akin to a knife spinning at the end of an ungainly pole, but many players will forego that piece of equipment in favor of keeping the enemies at a distance. All of the weapons themselves are upgradeable, forcing players to spend their hard earned and bloodied gold on their powered up toys. Actually though – this is perhaps one of the best things in the game to focus on. Spending time to upgrade the original SMG weapon gained at level “you just started the game” will let players easily tackle even most of the harder difficulties with ease. While the reward itself may not be worth it to save up for some of the weapons (costs are excessively high in cases), players can wait out their level ups to also purchase new powers to further their chase of blood-spattered success in Hell. Some powers, like Shield, felt a bit useless, but others like Justice allow players to rain down lightning bolts to cleanse the pits of Hades.
Jumping into the game, players are subjected to different arenas within different parts of Hell, either alone or with others. Reaching a new area brings about a new Mutation, a game changer that can be incredibly beneficial (infinite ammo with no reloads! YEAH!) or something incredibly bad (larger, tougher enemies). Successfully surviving each area and all of the waves of enemies brings players to a “gold room,” where coins randomly spawn. This does two things simultaneously – allows players to rack up some serious cash, and to relieve some steam by viciously murdering one another. Most matches I’ve seen never devolve into murderfests at the end, but there are cases where one player may not have pulled his weight enough and he will be targeted without mercy. After that, it’s just rinse and repeat every time. Thankfully the Mutations within the game allow for variety with each playthrough on the limited level selection, and players can further change their individual gameplay by activating Oaths mid-game. These are usually detrimental to the player during the game, but they also provide some extra bonuses like more experience or gold at the end.
Overall though, the game can be a bit stale after the tenth match, but thankfully the Mutations to add some flavor every go-around. However, if someone really wants a challenge to the game, they turn on all of the Oaths and head into the Gold difficult level to see how long they last, though I personally do not recommend this sort of challenge. Sometimes, the game itself is a major challenge.
Some the biggest issues of this game are the glitches (aside from the repetition). During Day 1 of the game’s release, I found that after downloading and installing the game I could not get it to boot or run as did many other would-be players. The solution amounted to me digging through the game files and finding the DirectX install .exe and using that separately from the game’s normal process and then running it with administrator rights.
Sound like a lot of stuff to get a game to run? Yes, yes it is. Even now I cannot run the game without going through the game files and running the game with administrator rights, and that’s after a patch was issued. The patch itself did fix one of the other glaring issues with the game as well: the voice chat. God Mode, being a 4-player cooperative game, allows for in-game voice chat to be on. Always. While in some games this is not necessarily a bad thing, in God Mode it led to nearly impossible to decipher messages from my teammates in the form of choppy and incoherent half-sentences and words. In all serious, I’ve heard drunks manage more understandable conversations than some of what I was forced to deal with in God Mode. It’s possible to mute others, but then it becomes a game of “everybody just shoot things” without any real teamwork involved, one of the key pieces in the game.
Throw in some random game freezes that leave players wandering aimlessly down the hall shooting at the newly-created “moving statues” that were formerly enemies, and there are some reasons to get upset about the game. Thankfully, a quick drop out and restart saves any cash/gold made during the short round and lets players continue effortlessly. In other cases, I’ve had a few random game freezes that force a full restart (admin rights!) of the game.
If players can get their patience going for the game, it’s honestly a fun multiplayer game and a very enjoyable one at that. Sure, it’s can be repetitive in many instances, but that’s becoming somewhat of the norm within the shooter territory. Like stated, the Mutations are a great addition to the game and the variety of guns (and one odd chainsaw) will at least give players some stuff to work towards and obtain. If a group of friends were to ask for a fun, cheap game they could play for a while, God Mode is definitely one I’d recommend.
Note: The God Mode review was written based on the PC version of the game provided by the publisher.