God Hand Review / Preview for PlayStation 2 (PS2)

God Hand Review / Preview for PlayStation 2 (PS2)

God Hand could be renamed, GodSmack – but think “Smackdown” – not the band.

It’s obvious to all of us here down on Earth that if God walked among us in human form he would love nothing better than to show off his omnipotence by pummeling the crap out of everyone he meets. Do you think that’s blasphemous to describe God as a drunken Popeye? Perhaps, but you go ahead and laugh. I’ll take the flack for this one when I get there – or not.

God Hand screenshot

God Hand is simply about a guy that somehow manages to get the hand of an ancient God attached to what’s left of his arm after it was sliced off during a particularly violent encounter. So of course he’s going to use this divine gift to beat the living hell out of people, rather than help construct irrigation canals in drought-stricken Africa. Okay, he does use the hand for the purpose of good but is there any good reason for God’s hand to be used in such a pugilistic manner? What the hell I say, it’s a lot more fun than diplomacy.

Having the God Hand in your possession is like playing a fighting game with some kind of Viagra-induced power-ups. It’s like having a permanent cheat code installed in your fist. Every punch you throw has the force of a small nuclear explosion. It’s great to yield this kind of power even though it doesn’t really make a lot of sense. In order to get into this game you’ll have to throw your version of reality out the window. This is a fanciful and bizarre tale that will give you plenty of good laughs while keeping you constantly entertained. The story mode is long, clocking in around 15 hours. Keep in mind that the gameplay can get redundant but there are more than 100 different moves and lots of whacked-out enemies to take on.

God Hand screenshot

Premise wise, God Hand is fashioned after a simple, arcade fighter although the volume of available moves gives it plenty of depth. It’s not overly complicated as you can only map a handful of moves in each move set, but you can change them anytime during the gameplay. You won’t have to keep track of tons of button configurations or hope for the best with modifier buttons that only access random moves. You can experiment with different combos by customizing your move sets. Moves can be purchased or found in various treasure chests scattered throughout the environment.

There isn’t much of a plot which is a good thing in this case. The game just starts off with you as Gene, the God Hand guy, out for a ride with his girlfriend Olivia who we find out is a little bit of a bitch. Events take place in a Wild West setting. You’ll have to pay attention to the dialog to find out some of the back history to the story, and you’ll often be shocked at the strange things that come out of these characters’ mouths. It’s hard to keep track of everything, but the good news is that you don’t have to. Just enjoy the ride.

God Hand screenshot

Gene takes on a variety of monstrous, hilarious and macabre characters including demons, clowns and an fat cigar-smoking Elvis impersonator. What are the chances that we would get the opportunity to beat the crap out of a mime? Wait and see. The controls aren’t exactly smooth. Control-wise Gene feels more like a Mech than a wiry human. He’s a little stiff and some of the moves take that extra micro-second to respond which can throw off your timing. This will be more a problem later in the game when you’re surrounded by enemies only to find that there is no lock-on system. There is a radar HUD that lets you see enemies from all directions but if you’re low on health all you can really do is try to avoid them until you can regenerate yourself. Fortunately the game’s difficulty builds gradually, giving you time to acquire new moves and get used to the old one. The difficulty does increase as you get better. It seems that the enemies level-up before you do. There are plenty of checkpoints where you can save your progress and take a breath. During these intermissions you can purchase new moves, try your luck at a casino playing slots, blackjack or poker in an effort to generate more cash. Or you can just practice your techniques in the exhibition arena and get in shape for the next segment.

At first the surf rock tunes don’t seem to fit but after a short while I have to admit that nothing else would suffice. The tunes are eclectic and electric, full of twang and a healthy dose of reverb-drenched weirdness. The voiceovers are great and the sound effects are hard hitting and satisfying. The animation is good and the combos can be spectacular at times, especially when you send an enemy flying into the distance with one well-placed punch. There is some clipping, lots actually, which causes the camera to go right through walls. At least it doesn’t get hung up and slow down the action.

God Hand screenshot

The average gamer will probably tire with the gameplay after a few hours while the hardcore will rise to the challenge. It can get really tough, don’t kid yourself. With no multi-player modes or any reason to really play the game again the replay value is extremely limited, but the first time through is wickedly entertaining.

Rating out of 5 Rating Description


Nice, clean, sharp graphics with some really great and entertaining animations.


The controls are a little stiff and unresponsive but the payoff is wielding a super-powerful fist.


Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Great tunes and entertaining dialog will keep you entertained. The fighting sound effects will kick your subwoofer’s ass.


Play Value
There is very little reason to replay this game more than once, but it can be incredibly entertaining on the first play through.


Overall Rating Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.


And now for something completely different… by Cole Smith

God Hand is not to be confused with the Hand of God, which purportedly will beat you down mercilessly for just having a burger on Friday. However, with God Hand you can beat down, mercilessly, those that you feel deserve it or otherwise piss you off.

God Hand is an eclectic game. It mixes violence and comedy with beat-’em-up action and a great storyline. Developed by the teams that brought you Devil May Cry, Resident Evil 4 and Viewtiful Joe, you know that you’re in for an experience.

A good-hearted Samaritan known as Jean is traveling along a version of the Old West, minding his own business when he runs into a woman in peril. Attempting to save her, he ends up having his hand cut off by a mercenary. Jean eventually stumbles upon the enchanted God Hand which once belonged to a divine being many eons ago. The glowing hand of God gives Jean incredible strength and at the most opportune time since his involvement with this girl has precipitated a series of events which has made him many enemies.

In this strange version of an old western town, Jean is confronted by various thugs looking for a fight. Using traditional brawler moves such as punching and kicking, Jean is only too happy to comply as his mighty God Hand can launch these cretins into the air with a well-placed uppercut. You can also use scissor kicks to repel enemies or slow down time and unleash some quick and devastating attacks while the enemy is moving in slow motion. After a series of good hits you can activate the God Hand for the most devastating attacks of all. Its use is incredibly powerful but temporary.

The combat is very interesting but we were only able to see a small segment of the game demonstrated. It may not be able to sustain interest for the entire length of the game but we’re hoping that it includes a lot more moves and features. Being a PS2 game, it’s going to face a lot of competition with systems that utilize motion-sensitive controllers, such as the Wii and even Sony’s own PS3.


The game follows a kind, aimless traveler named Jean who, after attempting to save a girl from some sort of danger, gets his right arm chopped off by a mercenary. Somehow, he comes into posession of the God Hand, the legendary gold-glowing hand of a great savior from olden times. Now, Jean has the power to save the world, but also has the scum of the land after him. The game is filled with wild combat as Jean uses his newly-earned skills in fighting and leaping, and the power of the glowing God Hand can charge up and give him new skills. The game also includes lots of comical gags for an over-the-top experience of violence and hilarity.

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