Wednesday, 13 July 2011

God Hand : The Review

Foreword
I always had my eye on god hand whenever I made a visit to the store, it was lying amidst the myriad of other titles as though it were a prime suspect of a conspiracy and it was until one day that I couldn't find a decent title so I thought I'd try this one out and believe me I haven't even read the reviews or checked the ratings at all but I had a feeling that it'll be good.
                                                       You are in for a ride!
                                          
My First Few Reactions
Unsure of the game's difficulty, I chose the "easy" mode and then a cheesy one liner popped up by the lead protagonist "Gene"
                                         You want me to hold your hand or something?

Okay, we'll see about that buddy. A short cut-scene opens up and its hands-on!
First thought: "......so what are the controls?" - I was thinking that when there were two tough looking Hench-men on their way to whoop my a**.
Admittedly, I died quite a few times but didn't give up on the game yet, I had to manually check the controls and see what Gene could do. After carefully going through controls, I began to experiment and managed to get a hang of them although I was facing a considerable amount of difficulty playing through the game.


Moving on to the actual review - 

All that beat 'em up violence! to what end?
It didn't take long for me to notice that Gene's right hand was special and whatever was on his arm wasn't just a fashion statement. It was sort-of a seal which unleashes an amazing power thus granting Gene the ability to pull off some uber-cool moves - that was the "God Hand".
There was no story summary at the beginning but we eventually find out how he managed to gain such abilities and what we're supposed to do because at one point the girl who accompanies Gene "Olivia" explains the situation to us - Two powerful and sacred hands, (one right and one left) were being guarded by a family whose descendants happen to be "Olivia" and her "fiance". Her fiance, in his  greed for power, manages to steal one of the hands and wield it, thus gaining its power(that was the "Devil Hand") but in order to manifest the true power of the hand(s), he needed to wield both of them but Olivia manages to escape with the other one in to the demon infested world. Later on we learn how Gene managed to wield the other hand.
So, Olivia's fiance isn't the only bad guy, he joins hands with 3 other powerful demon clans in the world and I don't have to say what's going on in their sinister minds.
                                           A knuckle sandwich should brighten up your day                

Despite Olivia's miserable fate, she always pokes fun on Gene, taping "I'm a loser" signs behind him or threatening to axe his hand but she doesn't loose the seriousness her character deserves(not always, at-least). Gene tries his best to act cool and funny but it never works, at-least not in-front of Olivia, he's always a loser with her but that doesn't mean he's a weak protagonist he surely does his role right.
What is most admirable about the game is that it gives you reason to beat up some bad guys at every point of the game whether you pity a weak helpless civilian while he's getting his hand slaughtered or some hot babe being mauled by a bad guy, you'll never hesitate to show them you're moves.
                             

The Pixels and Polygons
Graphically I found the game to be above-average, considering a third person game on the ps2, it would be going too far if I praised it any further. Clover Studios is known for making great games like "Okami" which is visually stunning and in no way comparable to this one.
I've noticed no frame rate drops and long loading times which is all that matters to me. The character models as in the enemies, may not posses any uncanny abilities but they've got their anime style moves that might just get you dizzy. There are numerous recycled enemies coming towards you at every point of the game but it isn't that bad though I'd like to see them wear something different at-least. On the other hand, bosses aren't your every day Hench-men, they actually appear humorous but they excel in pulling off some of the most hilarious yet powerful moves. However, the main bosses appear far more insane (in a good way), they mean serious business; initially, you may not have such an impression but as you'll find out soon enough.
The lack of a free rotational camera might get you into tight situations especially during boss fights but you can get it right once you've gotten used to it.
                                          One of the game's many hilarious bosses
What made it fun?
Gene is capable of three kinds of abilities - hand to hand combat, the roulette wheel and dodge.
The moves you've been assigned at the beginning of the game can be reassigned with moves you come across while exploring or buying them off the store, they can be better or worse, depending on the way you reassign them to each button due to the myriad of moves available throughout the game.
Speaking of the store - you will be given a chance to visit the casino every time you finish a chapter and it is imperative that you make a visit. It is there that you can play black jack, chihuahua races (you read that right), poker and also challenge casino security for a little one on one.You'll also find the store right out side the casino where you can increase Gene's otherwise incredibly low health bar or buy better moves.
                                      Ah, the roulette wheel, like slinging a mini nuke!

The God hand's powers are embedded on to the roulette wheel which lets you pick a powerful move in a moment's time. It in turn consumes "orbs" which appears right above the health bar. Did I mention that you can even increase the maximum number of orbs from the store? Another God hand ability is "unleashing" it once the "god hand bar" fills up. Unleashing the power of the god hand renders you invincible to any of the enemies attacks whiles you can jab him fast enough to drive him nuts, literally.
Dodging is yet another ability triggered using the right joystick but requires a lot of skill and timing but performing it makes Gene appear all the more cool and rewarding due to the short health bar.
You've done your moves right and he either fell flat on his face or is unconscious, a taunt would be like an icing on the cake, huh? Be warned, they will be pissed.
Also, picking up weapons for pummeling or hurling it towards an enemy can never get old, they might as well give you a heroic appeal!
                                                 and pop goes the weasel!

In conclusion
God Hand is pretty much the best beat 'em up right from the beginning to the end, there is never a dull moment. I would recommend this game if you have the slightest inclination towards anime/beat em' ups!

                                       and that's for being a..... a....um...jerk!   

Pros - fun and customizable combat system, hilarious, cathartic experiences at many instances of the game, decent story for a beat 'em up.
Cons - Steep learning curve, above average visuals.

Rating - 8.5/10

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