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God Mode Review: A SWAT Team for Kratos

by on 04/21/2013

I honestly didn’t know what I was getting into when I downloaded God Mode by Oldschool Games. To say the least, I was more than pleasantly surprised.

God Mode puts you in the shoes of a customizable character that you guide through Hades (Greek Hell) in order to not spend an eternity trapped here.

How do you do this? You
must fight your way through it with automatic weapons – gunning down skeletons, zombies, gladiators, sphere-throwing statues, cyclops, bats, minotaurs, et cetera. Add that you can bring up to three friends with you, it’s as if the God of War series allowed Kratos to call for reinforcements…and then a team of four comes barreling through with machine guns.

There are a total of five mazes in the game, there are several areas on each map that act as checkpoints. In each of these areas you are given a “Test of Faith”, this activates a special condition during this leg of the maze. These conditions range all over the place, some include:

  • Enemies wear funny hats.
  • One player on the team takes all the damage.
  • A player is randomly given invincibility every couple of seconds.
  • Your weapons are replaced with any of the weapons in the game every couple of seconds.
  • You are given skeleton allies.
  • A fog covers the battlefield, making it harder to see.
  • Two enemies are tied together and if you don’t kill both at the same time they respawn.
  • Each player has an aura around them, and if you go into another player’s aura you take damage.

There are a lot more than that, but these are the ones that stuck out to me. So every new area you reach on the map you are greeted with a random ToF, either giving you an advantage or disadvantage. You are given a set number of lives that are shared by your team, so every death is costly, unlike most games where you can keep dying until you reach the end, so having the Gods in your favor when it comes to these random conditions is appreciated. Luckily you are given bonus gold and experience depending on the scale of difficulty for each area. Plus if you manage to complete the maze you are allowed roughly one minute to roam around a beautiful treasure room to pick up gold and kill the other members on your team.

GodMode-CyclopsPlayers use this gold and experience to unlock new weapons, weapon upgrades, and clothing options. There are ten guns in the game and you can upgrade the damage, accuracy, and magazine size twice – all of it requiring you to be a certain level and needing a certain amount of gold. If you upgrade your weapons all the way you can even unlock the “Olympian” upgrade that gives it a big upgrade to one or two of the prior components.

You can increase how much gold and experience in a few ways, first you can choose the difficulty level (bronze/silver/gold) that will make the enemies harder and the Tests of Faith meaner. Then you can attach “Oaths” to your character, that work similar to the skulls in Halo, but they are put on solely for your character. These oaths tell you the condition you are placing on yourself, as well as how much of a boost you receive to XP and gold. Obviously the harder the condition the more you earn, and some of them really cripple you for big rewards.

Treat all the above as background if you will, because most importantly it is fun to play. This game is really well made. The hit detection, the amount of enemies they throw at you, the fun/challenging Tests of Faith, the humor, and how it is all graphically pleasing. Mowing down/running away from minotaurs as huge fireballs are thrown from statues that tumble down the battlefield, while you are trying to reach a trebuchet to take down the statues is really exhilarating.

The maps you fight on are beautiful, all of them Greek-oriented obviously, they have great little details and interesting locations to brawl. I would even go as far as to say these graphics are right up there with most “AAA” titles.

My only complaint I have with the game is that I wish it was longer. I played it for a total of 8 hours, beat the five levels through two player co-op on Bronze and Silver, reached level 15, and unlocked half of the weapons/upgrades. Granted we were playing with 3-4 Oaths on and we only failed the first maze twice as we were getting our feet wet, so for the most part although parts were challenging we could still fight through pretty easy. The gold was a little more difficult, but that took maybe another hour and a half.

I am not trying to take away from the game, you can earn new skills all the way up to level 25 and there is still a good amount to unlock, but about halfway through the third maze I realized that I would totally buy a full retail version of this game. It was more disappointment that my friend and I only had to beat these challenges on gold for us to “complete” it, and we were having a blast.

If this is successful I can see big things for Oldschool Games and ATLUS. They had a great sense of humor without overdoing it, the map designs were beautiful – especially for an arcade game, there was a nice amount of customization/depth, and the combat did the little things right – i.e. allowing me to side-step attacks and not getting hit by phantom sword swings.


A review copy of God Mode was provided to us for review by ATLUS and Oldschool Games for the Xbox 360

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