God Mode, published by Atlus, is a game built around guns, skeletons and Hades. Hell in a toga. It’s a co-op, third-person arena shooter that pits you and your friends (or random Internet people) against several waves of the undead or inhumanly-grotesque until you reach a portal to lots of money that you’re stealing or something. It’s pretty neat. That’s it, really.
God Mode is bare-bones and straight to the point, which works to the game’s benefit at first, but ultimately harms the potential for longevity. It’s fine; the game only costs ten bucks, so by the time you’re tired of it you’ve no doubt moved onto something else with no sign of buyer’s remorse in sight. A goofy narrator exists, and yells incoherently about the world of the game before each match, but other than that there’s no narrative window-dressing, and God Mode is better off without it.
You can create a character with a few appearance modifiers that unlock as you gain experience. It looks fun at first, but it’s mostly just the same heads and pieces of clothing with slight variations. By the endgame, I assume everyone wears cowboy hats, because that’s the last thing you can unlock and, well, it’s the Internet. Bragging rights and all that.
The real meat is in the weapons. You start out with a couple, but once you gain levels and steal respawning money from… somewhere in Hades, you can not only unlock more but also upgrade them quite a bit. It’s nothing fancy, just more damage and utility, but when the sole purpose of the game is surviving against hundreds of enemies, you want all the help you can get. Finesse is irrelevant. The system has a hint of nuance in “Olympic Upgrades,” which you can get once you obtain all previous upgrades, and add a little something special to each weapon.
The gunplay itself is competent. It’s third-person, so you get an expected dodge roll that works sometimes but not all the time, but it mostly exists in that fashion to give you visibility. Your attackers almost exclusively want to hit you rather than shoot you (they are monsters, after all), so being able to see all around you is necessary. The guns all feel nice and unique, even within similar weapon classes, and some of the more outlandish gear can be great fun.
As much fun as taking down mobs of enemies with friends can be, a distinct lack of variety wears things down. You only have a handful of stages, and they aren’t terribly different from one another. A couple of them have boss encounters (why all of them don’t I have no idea), but they’re simply upgraded versions of familiar enemies.
The gimmick in place attempting to combat monotony is the “Test of Faith,” a random event that happens once each wave is triggered, which either makes things easier, more difficult, or makes a dumb joke. Experiencing each one for the first time is a fresh breath of air, but after a while, they begin to matter less. That is, unless you crank up the difficulty, which usually just means shoot more and get hit less anyway.
I’m being a bit hard on God Mode, I know, but that’s because I did have a lot of fun with it. It has a smoke-and-mirrors-free charm, competent core mechanics and co-op shooting. Who doesn’t like co-op shooting? (Vaguely Greek skeletons, that’s who.) Unfortunately, the lack of content just won’t keep the game going long enough. Playing by yourself is a drag, obviously, but each passing day results in more difficulty trying to get a full game going.
Pros: Pure, distilled co-op monster shooting; cool, functional weapons
Cons: Unimpressive stage selection and boss fights