M (Mature)Release Date:
October 10, 2006Written By:
Daniel SimsScreenshots: Link
As a final sendoff after releasing the spectacular Okami, the soon-to-be foreclosed Clover Studio has given us God Hand, a somewhat awkward little action game that while most will probably find little enjoyment out of, can still be appreciated by that hardcore audience.
The reason most people will probably either love or hate this game is that in its design, God Hand throws almost everything else to the wayside for the sake of offering a fun, solid combat system. In doing so, Clover has perhaps taken the genre of old beat em' ups and translated it into 3D better than any other game released, right down to the same cheesy, Mohawk-wearing, Fist of the North Star/Road Warrior rip-off enemy designs and simplistic plotline that you should remember if you've ever played Final Fight or Double Dragon.
Yes God Hand has graphics that barely meet standards, suffers from some of the blandest environments in recent memory, and is plagued with some horrific clipping issues, but the game focuses on one thing and gets that one thing right: making a kick-ass interface for combat, which should be appreciated by anyone who misses either of the games mentioned in the above paragraph. The success of God Hand's combat design comes mainly due to two things: the game's level of intensity and its level of customization.
Like most action games from Capcom, God Hand is difficult, more difficult than most games. Successfully playing God Hand not only involves beating down enemies, dodging their attacks, learning attack patterns and acting accordingly, but also being able to manage large groups of foes. I died dozens upon dozens of times while playing through the first few levels of God Hand, but no matter how many times I did die, because of how well balanced this game's fighting system is, I always felt like I could do better on the next try and kept coming back. This is due partly to God Hand's relatively simple control scheme. All dodging and juking is handled by the right analog stick while the R buttons control special attacks, L1 is a quick 180 turn (you character turns like a tank in God Hand), and the action buttons all fall under a customizable combo scheme.
You start out with a few simple moves, but as you defeat more and more enemies you gain money which you can spend on new techniques as well as other items (like stat building) that you can switch out and assign to different button combinations. Since everything stays on the same few button combinations with one main combo stream, learning how to use different attacks never becomes complicated, which eases the process of playing around with different combos and strategies to keep the game fresh. These different techniques manage to be pretty deep and outrageous at the same time. You can juggle enemies into the air, break their guards with certain attacks, blast them dozens of feet into the distance, clobber them with massive button-mash combos, or simply give them an epic spanking.
During the later levels and boss battles, the real potential of this battle system begins to show, offering up some fast-paced, intense battles that require serious reflexes and a good sense of strategy at the same time. These will be especially enjoyed by fighting and action game connoisseurs. The only real minus of God Handís fighting system is that there's no co-op, which was a staple of the old brawlers.
God Hand also offers some respectable extras such as the ability to gamble away money at a casino as well as various minigames and challenges including the classic wreck-a-car game from the original Final Fight and Street Fighter II.Bottom Line
Most people will probably look at God Hand and consider it to be a hopelessly dated game with some serious technical problems and little depth. But because the game sets out to offer some intense fighting action and pulls it off successfully, it may still be appreciated by those looking for another hardcore action game to conquer.Score7.5/10
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