I first discovered God Hand through being a casual. No seriously. In 2012, I was posting in a Halo thread on another forum, and one of the users posted an image saying that "We've always loved Halo. God Hand, what's that?" now I wasn't sure if he was mocking us or just talking about how this forum didn't like Halo. I had no idea what God Hand was so I googled it, took note and carried on. I bought God Hand at the end of the year due to randomly finding it in Cex for £12, and remembered I told myself I'd buy it, and boy was that the best decision of 2012.
God Hand follows the story of Gene, a man who is entrusted with the power of the God Hand, an arm that gives incredible power to whoever wields it. He is given this task after saving a girl named Olivia from thugs who were trying to cut her arm off (believing it to be the God Hand) but instead of saving her, Gene is in the one who loses his arm. Olivia gives him the God Hand due to his act of kindness and asks him to help her on her quest. (To be honest, this doesn't happen in the game. But it is true to the story, Gene loses his arm saving Olivia, and she gives him the God Hand)
Anyhow, onto the Gameplay. The best way to learn the gameplay of God Hand is through this video.
However, it is 44 minutes long, and if you're not going to go through it I'll give you the tl;dr version.
The game is a beat em up, set in the third person. You control Gene and you run around beating people up in hundreds of different ways. God Hand's gameplay is the entire reason you play this game. It's the best damn beat em up you'll ever play, and I'm not exaggerating that. The game has over 100 moves for Gene to use (set up into a small 4-6 combo), as well as several other buttons to use for strong moves that don't fit the combo line (Such as moves that launch people backwards) God Hand's combat is just perfect in every way. It's really difficult to explain how amazing the combat is, but trust me it's too good.
Gene also has a number of tricks up his sleeve. While in some games you may block or parry punches, Gene instead has a matrix style ducking move, a sidestep and a backflip he can pull off to avoid moves being thrown at him. These prove invaluable when you fight, and perfecting them can win many fights for you.
You can also use the "God Hand". The right arm Gene has to unleash some powerful, and hilarious moves. To unleash it you must fight enemies to increase your "Tension Meter" which is a small meter that charges are you fight and taunt your enemies, once it's full you can unleash the awesome power of the God Hand. When you unleash it, you get 10 second of invincibility to wail on your enemy. If timed right you can get out of sticky situations, destroy several enemies and regroup further away so you know what to do next. Along with the God Hand, you also get a set of "Roulette moves" which range from Kicking someone in the junk, Kicking them into the sky or creating a giant baseball bat out of thin air and batting them into the sky. At the start you get 2 roulette wheels to use (3 on Easy) but can upgrade them to 5 (4 on Hard) to be able to use, these moves are limited but finding more orbs is not difficult, and you should only be relying on Roulette Orbs when your Tension Meter isn't full or when you're in a difficult situation.
God Hand is a very difficult game however, if you're going to play God Hand, be prepared for it's difficulty. I jumped into it not knowing anything about it and was overwhelmed by the difficulty of it, but eventually it became second nature and you'll love it. God Hand uses a "dynamic difficulty" when you play on Easy and Normal. On the bottom right of the game, is a small "level" meter which dictates how hard the game will be. If you play on easy it will only go to Level 1 or 2, but if you play on Normal, it can go up to Level 3 and Level Die, if you play on Hard. It's stuck on Level Die.
The difference in the difficulty affect the game immensely, Level's 1 and 2 are very simple, enemies attack you one at a time, they do crappy slow combos and very little damage, where as Level's 3 and Die, enemies attack you in groups, do tons of damage and have super fast combos. As you get better at the game, the game becomes harder. As you get worse at the game, the game becomes easier.
For a beat em up, the game is ridiculously long. With Eight stages each unique and interesting in their own way. One minute you're in a desert town, and then next you're in Venice. You'll be spending around 20 hours beating the game (well if you're good enough) and this includes dying and retrying. The game never takes itself seriously. Gene is your average comedic tough guy you'd see in Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, pulling off one liners and not taking his situation seriously until it involves Olivia in some way.
The enemies you find in the game range from average guys fighting you for your God Hand, to five midgets dressed up as Sentai ranger's, a band consisting of a guy with a guitar that fires electricity at you along with his drummer who is literally a fat guy wearing a drum, to a psychic midget throwing massive rocks at you from above. The fact that you can never really find anyone taking anything seriously in this game is what makes me love it so much.
The music is also amazing. The person who did God Hand's music was also behind Danganronpa and Killer 7. The tracks you hear are perfect for the enviroment you're in.
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Of course, you'll be hearing a lot of these themes constantly since they're reused here and there, they're still great themes and you shouldn't get tired of them anytime soon.
The game does suffer from a few problems however. At high level play you can experience a lot of problems with how the AI work. The enemies can be unfair a lot of the time, using cheap moves that have an incredibly fast start up so that dodging is very difficult, or in some cases can block your moves and hit you with a devastating counter. Not only that but fighting more than one person at the same time can prove difficult if you're not good enough. I've died many times from not being able to fight three people consistently and other times I've found it quite simple to counter one of their moves, and then using that opening I've created to completely destroy them with one quick move. There are also characters that use annoying weapons like whips which are very VERY difficult to dodge since their range is very high, and can be spammed effectively to keep you away from them, and when you're fighting with several people at the same time, you always forget about the whip ladies.
The camera is also a big problem. I've never had a problem with it myself, but not mentioning it might be a bad idea. The camera isn't controlled by the right stick, it's actually just attached to Gene's back, the left stick controls both the camera and Gene. While I've never had a problem with it, many people have so I guess I'll stick this in here.
I should also add that the only way to regain health from the game is through beating enemies, and breaking random pots and crates around the stage to reveal fruit. The biggest problem with this is that it's totally random and can either hinder or help you depending on if the game wants to be nice or not. Money drops are a lot more common than fruit drops, and you'll be needing the latter more than the former. In my current run I'm stuck with 400000+ Gold, and when I defeat an enemy and they drop more useless money instead of fruit so I can replenish my health and usually die because of it. The RNG drop rate is terrible and shouldn't be in the game.
The graphics aren't anything special. The game doesn't look horrible, but it's not the best the PS2 could do. Even emulated the game is just meh.
Overall, God Hand is an amazing game and you should play it. The game is just so amazing in many regards that it's in my top three for sure. I love it so much.
Here's an example of me playing and beating Tiger Joe. I cheaped out on the end, but it was very late when I was playing this. This is probably my current skill level, but if you want to see more impressive stuff, check out Mike Kob.
Amazing gameplay Characters are interesting, unique and hilarious Great music Good length
AI can be annoying to fight sometimes Game is quite difficult at the start, can put a lot of players off Camera is bad RNG drops are a terrible idea
If you don't know who I am, that's most likely because I only ever visit WMB like 3 times a year, post once and then leave till I remember this is bookmarked then return to do the same thing again and again. And Hey. I found out there is a glow feature, look at that, that's pretty awesome guys.
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