With the constant barrage of first and third person shooters nowadays and their intent on making everything either as realistic as possible or completly over the top and extreme as they possibly can, it is nice to see a developer trying something different, even if its something old school. Old School Games’ God Mode recaptures some of the spirit of retro first person shooters and mixes it with modern ‘hoard mode’ style trappings of recent titles like Gears of War and Halo.
Playing from a third person perspective, God Mode sees you cooperatively shooting through demonic legions from hell in multi-room battle arenas in ancient Greece. After clearing a section you'll move onto the next until you reach the boss for the arena. Each room, including boss rooms, have "Tests of Faith," modifiers that manipulate some part of gameplay, to make things easier, more challenging or funny. "Hat" for example places silly hats on all of the enemies, while famine drains your ammunition over time, but spawns more, more often within the arena. Similar to the Tests of Faith, Oaths modify gameplay, however instead of making things easier or funny, they make the experience dramatically more challenging. Preventing you from picking up body armour or decreasing the potency of health and ammo pickups are only some of the less troublesome Oaths. Applying them before a match will multiply your experience gain and will spice up the experience making matches more tense.
Once your slaughter spree is complete you have the chance to acquire large quantities of gold. Each player collects gold separately from the others making for a somewhat intense race to collect more than the others before time runs out. A lot of back-stabbing is present in this gold rush as friendly fire is active and most players are cruel enough to kill you to score big. For finishing an arena you also gain experience points. These open up cosmetic changes, new guns and abilities to purchase with your now oodles of gold. Leveling seems to end in the mid to high 20’s which requires a lot of play time to reach, but purchasing new weapons and upgrades for said weapons speed leveling up a lot. Eventually though, the game turns into a terrible grind for experience to unlock new weapons that become less and less interesting the further you go.
Now, horde mode in many games often feels like an excellent addition to extend your play time with said game. However God Mode’s levels are really rather short and repetitive. Each run lasts no longer than 20 minutes and having only five levels, content dries up pretty quickly. Tests of Faith and enemy spawns are randomised to some degree, but often after multiple playthroughs of each area, you are more likely to see the same patterns over and over and your time with the game becomes extremely monotonous. This is amplified by slightly wonky controls which often feel delayed or downright clunky. Characters don’t turn particularly quickly and rolling takes far too long to activate and will often leave you receiving more damage than avoiding it.
Aesthetically God Mode has quite a bit going for it. While textures aren’t exactly high resolution on characters, monsters and environments, player models and enemy creatures look believable, creepy and well designed. Lighting looks good in specific levels, such as as lava riddled ‘Fire Lair’. There is even a sense of humor to the game, which may appeal to some, as player characters can dress up as clowns, cowboys and modern soldiers as they slay the undead. I just wish that every time the game was started an announcer didn’t say “Hello and welcome to Hades, that’s hell in a toga...”
It is rather hard to recommend God Mode. Even though it has competent mechanics, flat out there isn’t enough content to see you playing for more than a couple of hours, especially when there are full retail games out there with similar game modes bundled in as well as with full campaigns and full multiplayer offerings for the same, or lower, price.