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God Hand (PlayStation 2) artwork

God Hand (PlayStation 2) review


"Whether you're a skilled gamer or just someone looking for a good time (call me), God Hand doesn't discriminate; it will kick your ass the moment you step into its playground. Since this is a 3D beat 'em up title, you probably think I'm over-exaggerating, believing you can make it through this game by only mashing buttons. If you even dare to do that here, God Hand will set you straight, sending you to the continue screen in mere seconds. God Hand doesn't play it your way, y..."



Whether you're a skilled gamer or just someone looking for a good time (call me), God Hand doesn't discriminate; it will kick your ass the moment you step into its playground. Since this is a 3D beat 'em up title, you probably think I'm over-exaggerating, believing you can make it through this game by only mashing buttons. If you even dare to do that here, God Hand will set you straight, sending you to the continue screen in mere seconds. God Hand doesn't play it your way, you play it the way God Hand wants you to play. This game makes sure you know how to use the main character, Gene, properly, by forcing you to learn how to attack, how to destroy enemies' blocks with a guard breaker, and how to dodge with the right analog stick when an enemy is about to deliver a deadly blow; it also lets you know not to waste your strong Roulette Moves and your unstoppable, invulnerable Godhand on a whim, or you'll regret it seconds later. God Hand, essentially, will make you its bitch before you make it out of the first area.

Now here's the kicker, the plot twist, if you may: even after you conform to God Hand's ways and become good at it, the game will still kick your ass. It's unavoidable. You can try your damnedest to not get your ass handed to you a lot, but somewhere, somehow, God Hand will find a way to send you to the continue screen. The game stays consistently challenging, rarely offering you an easy opponent; every enemy here will always have the opportunity to lay the smack down on your character if you lower your guard enough, which means you have to be at your best, 24/7. To rub it in even more, the developers, Clover Studio, made God Hand a game of luck as much as it is a game of skill. Every time you defeat someone, there's the high possibility of a strong demon popping out of them, throwing you into the uncomfortable position of using up your resources on the lone demon. The same randomness occurs with items, which means you could go through an entire area with minimal health or attack items.

God Hand literally stacks the odds against you from the get-go. Even after learning the basics of combat, the game is still in its resolve to rip you a new one, breaking you down and wearing you out with constant, draining battles. But that's the beauty of God Hand: it's a game that kicks you when you're down, but not in a furiously frustrating manner; you actually feel encouraged and motivated to jump back into the same fights you just lost moments ago, to learn from the mistakes you committed and try better, to experiment with different methods. In its quest to destroy you, God Hand, in turn, is making you a harder, better, faster, and stronger player, a theme that sticks for the duration of the entire game. Granted, you'll get more efficient moves and attacks, as well as a bigger health and Godhand gauge along the way, which will make you way too confident. But just as you start getting too full of yourself, God Hand will gladly put you in your place, making you learn from you mistakes once more, and again, transforming you into a more experienced player.

All of this make God Hand quite an oddity: it's not a typical beat 'em up title where you just mash buttons and perform a bit of crowd control; it strives to be more than that, to give a legit challenge for the players, providing opponents that do more than just get near your characters, punch air, and hope for the best. And use cheap tactics from time to time. The grunts here offer a real fight. The only thing God Hand asks in return is that you step up your game and keep it there until you see the awesome closing credits. Hell, it even provides you with a goofy experience during your stay; you'd think that its world would be a mirrored image of the tough gameplay, but it isn't. During your journey, you'll encounter leather-wearing punks, dominatrices, dwarf Power Rangers, a masked gorilla wrestler (obviously), robots, and musicians out in the wild west, at a carnival, on a giant mechanical spider, and... Paris.

God Hand is the best beat 'em up title to have been released in recent years and one of the best in the genre. It's a 3D one, too, which is insane.

Rating: 10/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (June 15, 2009)

PickHut has this weird fondness for the Sega Saturn. Even though he's aware that most of the game's are either decent or terrible, he still wants to play them.

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