Final Glimpse: Don't stand there gawking! Like you've never seen the hand o' God before!
First there was Viewtiful Joe and then came Okami. What would be next for the lovers of creativity at Clover Studio? An interactive novel detailing the life of Che Guevara? A 2-D fighter featuring the roster of Hamlet? Or just a boring sell-out? How about an insane brawler that (and I quote the trailers) is a ?ball-bustingly hard game, but fair?? And ball-busting it is. Just visualize someone getting jabbed in the groin repeatedly. You can't? That's okay, because when God Hand comes out, you'll be able to see it for yourself.
You play as Gene, a vagabond with a disposition for helping others, and the town you've entered isn't exactly the most normal. There are ruffians about and Gene just so happens to stumble upon a few about to relieve a girl named Olivia of her arm. Naturally Gene intervenes but his efforts lead to his arm getting severed. How uncool. Lucky for Gene, Olivia is a safe keeper of the mysterious and powerful ?god hand'. She bestows the endowment to Gene and it's more than just a replacement for his arm; it's a chance for some payback and a whole lot of frenzied action. Although set in a time and place that resembles the Wild Wild West, there are a few anachronisms you'll be bound to notice. Leather-clad thugs, electric guitars, and literate gorillas for instance. So yes, the story does sound pretty basic because it is, however the bizarre and comical presentation will likely raise it above the average beat ?em up.
The outlandishness doesn't just apply to the characters and style though; for a brawler, it's damn entertaining to watch. There are the usual punch-and-kick combos and dodging around with the right thumbstick. Not enough? Gene's got plenty more in his repertoire. You can toss around explosive barrels and beat people down with blunt objects. Through the use of a roulette wheel, you'll be able to perform stylish and sometimes hilarious moves like the infamous ?foot-to-crotch'. Other abilities include increasing your speed and power tenfold. The camera appears to be fixed on Gene, allowing you to see only what is in front of you. Unless there's a way to change this, chances are enemies may get the slip on you much easier. It's a good thing the amount of enemies you fight never seems completely overwhelming. I noticed clipping occurred several times when laying the smackdown on enemies but in the brawler genre this is a common complaint.
Visually, God Hand gives off an impression of being just passable, but that may just be due to the bland-looking settings. The fact that the graphics aren't amazing or vibrant shouldn't be that upsetting; the action's fluid and there doesn't appear to be that much slow-down, even with all the craziness going on. Would you sacrifice sleek movement for a pretty-but-jerky-sight? As Gene would say, ?Only thing I'm giving out is an ass-kicking.? Which brings us to the voice-acting. Like the action, it's over-the-top and intentionally amusing. Really cements the fact that this game isn't meant to be taken too seriously.