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Avatar ImageGamer Limit Backlog Review: God Hand
By: | March 30th, 2009 | Editorial
Feature |PS2

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If I told you that the team responsible for Resident Evil 4, including Mr. Resident Evil himself, Shinji Mikami worked on God Hand, I’m sure you’d be shocked.

Despite it’s impressive pedigree, God Hand has gotten a poor rap in the critical community. It’s sub-par reviews have vastly been cited due to it’s “extreme difficulty”, which I think is a very unfair criticism considering it was created with a specific gamer in mind. To clue you in on how much of a niche game God Hand really is, Producer Atsushi Inaba frankly stated that God Hand is aimed at hardcore gamers”.

Does it have problems? Of course it does, it just doesn’t detract so much from the game that it ceases to be fun; in fact, God Hand is a blast.

If you’re looking for a cohesive story, don’t bother. God Hand makes about as much sense as most hardcore niche anime shows. You play Gene, a man who has just had his hand severed and coincidentally (or at least it seems like a coincidence) had it replaced with the strongest weapon in the world: the God Hand.

Enter an evil organization that wants to steal it from you, and you have a plot (or lack of plot, however you want to look at it). Shinji Mikami’s aim here isn’t to “wow” you with a spectacular story, however, it’s to make you laugh, and shock you into disbelief. While you may feel that you have no motivation in your quest for glory, the oddball characters, dialogue, and rivalries will keep you wanting more.

At it’s core, God Hand is a brawler, make no mistake. The fighting system is extremely intricate, boasting over 100 moves and abilities from drunken fist to Eddie Gordo’s “break-dance fighting” capoeira style. You have your basic moves based off realistic fighting styles, and you have your “extreme moves”, where most of the game’s uniqueness lies. When you use an extreme move, a roluette wheel will pop up and allow you to choose your move in a short period of time.

The thrilling aspect of the roulette mechanic is that it slows down time to a crawl to allow you to use your move, but enemies can still knock you out of it! Regular grabs and attacks can also be “out there”. To name a few examples, enemies can be punched into the sky (disappearing with a glint) and female enemies can be spanked across the room.

On occasion there will be various QTE sequences, but they fit perfectly into the game, and aren’t bothersome in any way. All of them are woven into normal moves, and never during cutscenes; for instance the stomp attack is utilized when repeatedly pressing circle when an enemy is on the ground.

godhand2

Knee to the face!

One of the most unique features in God Hand is the “scaled difficulty bar”. Right there in front of you on your HUD, this bar taunts you repeatedly. The more punches you land, and the less damage you take, the higher this bar goes up, thus up-scaling the difficulty in the process.

Once it maxes out, “DIE” appears on the bar and you essentially are screwed unless you’re really good at evading. The best part about this scaling difficulty is that you get rewarded with more points depending on how high the bar was during each level.

The first few stages you’ll get used to it, but in a matter of time you’ll keep it hovering just below “DIE”, and reap the benefits. God Hand also has a devil trigger-like mechanic, where you accrue energy in your “god bar” in order to rip the protective bracelet off of your god hand and unleash it’s power. You become invincible for a short amount of time, and do more damage; knowing when to use this power is key in terms of your survival.

Despite it’s very fun gameplay, God Hand will still have many “controller throwing moments”.  Sometimes you’ll have little to no health, no powerups or pickups in sight, and you’ll barely kill the last enemy in an area. Well guess what? That enemy happened to have a demon living inside of him that’s over twice as powerful as the enemy you defeated!

This happens a handful of times throughout the game, and tests your patience. Get used to the dodge technique really early on if you want to have enough health for one of these surprises. There are also a few boss fights where the enemy will inflict a rather large amount of damage. It feels a bit cheap, but if you master the dodge system, it’s possible to not take any damage.

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Gene, meet Elvis

The soundtrack is just as odballish as the game. Comprised of various 70s, 80s, and orchestral tunes (with some amazing “wipeout” sounding surfer songs thrown in), you’ll never know what to expect. In-game, the voice acting is superb; Gene hilariously comments while fighting, and everything from a normal punch to a grand slam swing fits the game.

When it comes to cut-scene voice acting you’re getting a mixed bag. Sometimes the dialogue will be appropriately cheesy, but sometimes it will just feel outright strange. Don’t be alarmed though, that’s what God Hand sets out to do: shock you! If you are offended by homosexual African-American circus twins, you need not apply. I warned you!

In God Hand, the locales you visit will range from sci-fi to western to fantasy. You start off in an “Old West” ghost town, and eventually make it to a giant zaibatsu-esque Demon Tower. God Hand encourages a small amount of exploration, but this part ends up being a bit shallow. You can find many powerups like health, or item cards, but you may find exploring to be a bit tiresome due to the drab look of a few of the areas.

Visually, God Hand is a bit average for a PS2 game, which is surprising since it came near the end of it’s life-cycle. To make up for it, the vast majority of the character models are extremely interesting, and you’re bound to find at least 10 enemies or characters that you really like.

In-between levels, you can also choose to visit the local Casino, where you can pass the time playing poker, blackjack, chihuahua racing, slots, and cage fighting. With the money you earn you can buy new moves, so while it benefits you to do these activities, they’re not required.

Reviewers often forget what the main purpose of playing games is: for fun. If reviews were based on fun factor alone, God Hand would be in the top 5 of all time list. Unfortunately, it has it’s problems, which could have been fixed with a bit more development time, but if you’re a hardcore gamer, as Mikami intended, you will love this game; no questions asked.

8.0/10

  1. I’ll tell you what… one of the reasons that I’m really liking it here is because of the fact that reviews aren’t just being limited to the current console generation. Seeing games like God Hand and Kingdom Hearts getting current reviews is a definite plus, in my book.

    Now then, as for God Hand, this is a great game that unashamedly kicked your ass and was stylish doing it. The game never got the credit it deserved (thanks, IGN), and is certainly worth hunting down preowned or possibly in bargain bins. I was never great at the game, but certainly respected it for what it was.

    • avatar Joseph

      where to start played the game for 4 monhts looks great plays great but peeps buying gold has stoped me from playing the pvp is unbalance if u got peeps paying hundreds of dollars buying gold to get the best gear how fair is that to the peeps that dont have the funds its sad that a lvl 30 with paid for gear can rape a lvl 40 to 50 guy that just playing the game the way it should be played fair and the aion team seems to look the other way when it comes to the gold buying so if i were u i would just save my money on a game that does not allow gold selling or buying that way all have a good shoot at being great in the game instead of the peeps that have the money

  2. This game looks really under appreciated. I’ll have to give it a look.

  3. I think I saw this for a fiver at gamestop, I may pick it up.

  4. It’s Clover Studios’ last game (Viewtiful Joe, Okami). If you’re a game collector, it’s worth picking up even if you don’t play it for that price.

  5. avatar iSevenx

    great article!

    • avatar AtukGank

      Remember there are SD cards now that can store 64 GB of data and that is way more than most Blu-ray discs. Also those games do not necessarily take up the eritne Blu-ray disc, only part of it. And the PS Vita will get versions specifically designed to work with the hardware and will most likely be comprised of less data than the PS3 version. General Info:Single layer Blu-ray disc = 25 GB I think PS3 games are on single layer discs -Double layer Blu-ray disc = 50 GBSome formats of Blu-ray support 100/128 GB of data

  6. avatar Ankit Garg

    This was one of my fav game on the PS2.. its one of those games that will be in your memory of great gaming moments for a long time.

  7. avatar Nah.

    Not that great of a game, IMO. The frustrating difficulty did not equate to enjoyment to me. I like games that are difficult and take time getting accustomed to, but I also like to have a slight learning curve, and in this game that could have been provided by a “beginner” mode, with drastically reduced health for enemies. Yet it could still maintain its extreme difficulty on par with DMC3. An failure by a developer whose narrow sightedness ruined in the end.

    • avatar Anonymous

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  8. @Nah
    DMC3 on Very Hard is around what this game is on normal. Of course, as I stated in the opening paragraph, this game is for hardcore gamers, and doesn’t act like it’s not. Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition had it’s difficulty re-worked with more casual gamers in mind, and was a smart business decision, but I liked the original difficulty just fine.

  9. avatar Captain America

    Fucking wapanese running to cover the failures of your Asian masters. God Hand was horrible. Is horrible. End of story.

  10. This game has been on my Gamefly’s Queue list for months. I heard it was difficult, and I love a game with a challenge.

  11. avatar Edge

    God Hand is a GREAT game. I rented it when it came out. I’m and anime fan. It’s definitely a good play. There where a few quirks but if you ask me to name them I couldn’t. I could tell you that it was a fun game that once you get into it you actually look forward to meeting your rival villains and pounding there face in with your variety of kicks and punches.
    The midget power rangers and the two guys who look like there from Project A-Ko where tuff, but it’s definitely worth it when you beat it.
    I do recommend it for a good beat em up.

  12. avatar Tom

    God Hand is an amazing game. Second favorite PS2 game, behind Resident Evil4. Definitely worth the price of admission. Sad to say that it will probably never get a sequel : (

  13. @Cheeseknight28 Slow down there, Tex. IGN’s outlier score for God Hand has been consistently discussed and touched upon when talking about the game. I don’t see the title change as a plea for hits as it is a tongue-in-cheek jab at IGN’s score versus what the reviewer thought of the game. Not once in the body of the review did the author make the charge that IGN cost God Hand sales; the low sales could more be attributed to the poor marketing campaign and low amount of hype that preceded the game’s launch.

  14. @Captain America Really? REALLY? What a baseless and rather insulting comment. What’s worse is that you don’t appear to have any evidence to back up your claim. The reviewer listed his reasons for liking the game… so what are yours for disliking it? Do you have even have one?

  15. @Nah Point well-taken. I looked at Ninja Gaiden (Xbox) the same way. The game was unforgivably hard almost from the get-go and I do remember seeing no less than 10 used copies of the game on GameStop shelves within 10 days of its release. It’s fine for games to be difficult, but good game design (IMO) should have a game build up to tougher difficulty. Let the player progress and learn the controls and nuances of the game, and even earn a couple of boss battle victories before turning up the heat. It builds a player’s confidence.

  16. I really need to give this game a try

  17. avatar JC

    GAME IS NOT HARD!!!

  18. @JC “Hard” is a subjective term. Some players may have better skills than others or a knack for playing games like God Hand, while others may adapt more slowly to the control and difficulty and become frustrated quite rapidly.

  19. I like the idea of a scaling difficulty, dynamic to how you are playing, I think Left 4 Dead does that too. I would prefer to have some degree of control over it though, like in World Ends With You, despite the bad music and overly emo-ness, the way you could scale everything down if it was too hard at the expense of experience/drops/money and find a level right for you.
    But I suppose Godhand’s method is more of a method of “we will kick your ass. Oh, you’re playing well are you? You think will stop it?”

    • avatar Kellinha

      yeah that is soo true. when u play even just the demo with 2 chaptors its one hell of a ride its very fun but it might not apear to be if u just watch on yuuotbe? or at a friends. if u have psn DOWNLOAD THE DEMO!! 980mb

  20. avatar Luca

    Hey this is a very interesting article! Thanks!

  21. avatar al swafi

    th gam was sooo hard

    • avatar Caroline

      AOW,Fifty years ago????.. Thought y’all were only in your thirties We arceppiate hearing from y’all.. take care and we will pray for you both as we all think on that time when God became Flesh Behold, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. . John 1:29In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  22. avatar Anonymous

    nikhil

  23. avatar sukotsuto

    GOD HAND remains one of my most favorite beat-em-up game ever. That’s coming from someone who’s played A LOT of beat em up games for the past 20 years (from popular to obscure beat em ups, both on system and on arcades). Despite it’s graphics, I’ve loved this more than even the recent beat em ups that came out in the current systems.

    Even though the game is very hard, the manner in which difficulty is handled here is actually quite ingenious and fair, given that it only makes the game harder for those who are doing well (and thus, gives higher rewards), rather than forcing average-skilled gamers to go through the max difficulty everytime. It’s still hard, but it’s fair enough that it’s entirely possible to beat the game without taking any damage, if you’re skilled enough and you’ve mastered how to dodge every attack in the game.

    The IGN(orant) review score was one of the most lopsided swill of a review I’ve ever read, and IGN, probably to make up for it, included GOD HAND in their recent top 100 games list. The reviewer who gave that score is also probably fired from IGN for quite some time ago (quite likely from the overflow of complaints they received against him) as his IGN profile (which seems to be demoted to a regular user) and blog is no longer found anywhere on IGN.com.

    How I wish there’s going to be GOD HAND 2! Too bad this was Clover’s last game…

    • avatar Priyanka

      I’ll be honest: I liked Game Party 1, even tohguh the controls were awful (Ping Cup was completely unplayable and Darts was frustrating at best). I liked the variety of games which were perfect choices for a motion-controled console, but it just wasn’t developed well and wasn’t my top choice for parties. Enter Game Party 2. I felt a bit silly buying a game that I already had the majority of (GP2 contains all of the games from GP1 plus some extras) but I read a preliminary review from a gaming website and decided to give it a try. The controls are greatly improved. Still not perfect, but at least I feel like where I aim is where I’m (generally) going to land. Aim in GP1, and you’ll probably hit somewhere else entirely. GP1 had many, many pages of characters to choose from. GP2 doesn’t have as much of a variety, but you can create your own custom player and save your stats. I’ll actually pick up GP2 and play by myself, which I never did with GP1. Too frustrating. By obtaining tickets, you can purchase new things for your characters to wear; I haven’t gotten that far yet since the games I played the most didn’t offer tickets. It’s nice that you can obtain tickets even while playing with friends, something that most games do not offer. There is also a tournament mode in GP2 which is great if you have more than 4 people who want to play (up to 16, depending on the game). There are a lot of ways to conduct the tournament, such as loser goes home, an actual brackets advancement, and so on. Depending on which one you pick (we did a winner takes all), you can choose how many rounds (3, 5, or I believe 9) before the winner is declared. The thing I disliked the most about GP2 gameplay was how it was arranged. Perhaps we didn’t have the right settings (we cancelled out of a tournament to play individual games, so maybe it was still stuck on tournament mode), but there were just 3 of us and it was forcing 2 of us to be on a team and the other person to play solo. I would have preferred for each of us to have our own scores. Another bummer was the number of games that required you to throw underhand; we switched between games just to give our arms a rest! Now for the games. There are 11 total, all of the ones from GP1 plus some new additions. – Darts: Again, thanks to the improved aiming function, this game is playable. I really enjoy it. The venue where you are playing changes, so it’s nice to be somewhere other than the pub in GP1. – Skillball: Venue is a little sharper, and again the aiming helps, but it’s still pretty straightforward. (I am a fan of the version on Carnival Games, so I’m used to a different style.) However, you can roll more than one ball at once, so long as the other one is on its way to falling in a hole, you can toss another ball. Since this is timed, it’s however many points you can get before the buzzer sounds, rather than having 6 balls and seeing how many you can score. In that regard, I wasn’t actually trying to get in the 100 slot and was just trying to throw as many balls as I could. – Shuffleboard: It’s quite a bit better than GP1, again because of the improved engine. We had a lot of fun playing this, and there are other options (first to 15, first to 21, and same for a version called curling which is arrange like a bullseye). I like it in real life, and this is a great substitute. – Ping Cup: Wow, this is probably the most improved game. In GP1, this was virtually unplayable. It was so hard, I never played it. So when we decided to try it out in GP2, I warned everyone how frustrating it was. To my surprise, it was easy and pretty fun. – Hoop Shoot: Again, my view of this is colored by Carnival Games, but it was okay. I landed only two baskets, so I was apparently doing something wrong. With a little practice, it can be fun, just tiring for your arm! – Trivia: As with GP1, I just don’t get this game, and the instructions are still not helpful. I tend to skip over it. – Quarterback Challenge: The onscreen instructions helped me understand what was going on, and once I figured it out, it was enjoyable. Basically, you’re trying to throw to your (yellow) team mates to advance and score a touch down. Throw to the wrong player, and you lose points. Whoever has the most points at the end wins. It takes some practice. – Puck Bowling: This was amusing. It’s similar to shuffleboard, except you are hitting the bowling pins at the end. Picking up a split is virtually impossible, so you have to be spot on with your aiming (and again, it’s easier than if this game was on GP1). Very straightforward. – Lawn Darts: Try to land inside the circles to score points. It’s hard to tell where your dart will land based on the camera angle, so you just have to get used to the motion of throwing underhand. – Horseshoes: This was frustrating at

    • avatar Asheesh

      in Romans 10:14 when he asks how they can bieleve what they have not heard. Obviously, you can only bieleve what you are exposed to. That is why Paul was so careful to preach nothing but Jesus Christ and Him only as the gospel. He did not preach the man to himself, except so as to acquaint him with his need. His trumpet made no uncertain sound. Man has the need. Christ alone is the supply.When Christ is presented in the LS message, He is presented as Someone toward whom we must give homage, not as Someone who is the supplier of all our need before the Father. It cannot be denied that in a sense, they are right. Of course He is Someone to whom all should give homage, and we know that one day every knee will bow to Him. So they have His worthiness right. What they have wrong is that they do not present Him as the supplier of all our need. It is law, not gospel. Or worse, law AS gospel. Their trumpet makes an uncertain sound that many people hear as I must be thus and so before I can know that I am saved. They require from the man what he cannot produce irrespective of the fact that Christ is worthy of it. They do not preach Christ to the man as the supply for the man that he may eat His flesh and drink His blood and REST in His finished work. They present the man to the man as one who has obligation before God that he had better fulfill, or else.Here is an example of what I mean. Just this past weekend I was exposed to a verse from the ESV Bible version that all the LSers are gaga about. It was 2 Corinthians 11:3. The ESV translates it this way:But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.But the New King James translates it like this:But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.The King James likewise says:But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.Notice how the ESV puts the focus on the man and HIS devotion TO Christ while the King James versions (yes, I know they are not the same in other places) put the emphasis on Christ and the SIMPLICITY that is IN Him. The ESV preaches the man for and to Christ. The NKJ and KJ preach Christ for (and to, i.e. 1 Cor 2:2; 2 Cor 4:5) the man, as Paul strongly stresses throughout his epistles.The KJ, NKJ translations are supported in that we have that same concern raised by Paul in several other places, such as the entire book of Galatians, where the bielevers were being deceived into adding to what Christ did by coming under the Jewish law for their salvation. The simplicity that is in Christ was being violated. Also we see the same idea in Colossians 2 where they are warned away from adding to what Christ has done for them via empty rituals such as do not handle, do not taste, do not touch which have an appearance of wisdom but are of no value against fleshly indulgence; rather, doing such will cheat you out of your reward. The simplicity that is in Christ was being violated. We also see a similar concern in 1 Timothy 4 concerning men who require the abstinence from certain foods and from marriage. The simplicity that is in Christ was being violated. All of these things corrupt the simplicity that is in Christ. Paul’s overwhelming concern is that bielevers look to Christ ONLY, in simple receptive faith, and find their full assurance IN Him and what He has done.Well, my one more thing turned out to be fairly long, and it is a lot of words to say, the issue is not whether you are doing enough to qualify as having saving faith. The issue is has HE done enough to save you in His death on the cross for your sins? If you can say along with the hymn writer: I need no other argument, I need no other pleaIt is enough that Jesus died and that He died for me.You have saving faith.And it is from that safe and secure foundation that you may proceed to abide in the Vine, finding Him to be the supply for all your need as you go through life in relationship with Him, and finding that He Himself will do the fruit bearing in you as you abide in Him. As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord [by faith], so walk in Him [by faith]. Colossians 2:6. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Cor 3:18). JanH

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