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Critical Reception: Capcom's/Clover Studio's  God Hand
Critical Reception: Capcom's/Clover Studio's God Hand
October 11, 2006 | By Danny Cowan

October 11, 2006 | By Danny Cowan
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This week's edition of the regular Critical Reception column examines online reaction to the Capcom-published, Clover Studio-developed God Hand for the PlayStation 2, a comedy-infused brawler in the vein of Capcom's own arcade classic Final Fight.

God Hand represents the latest effort from Clover Studio, the development team responsible for hits like Okami and Viewtiful Joe. Despite the recent critical and commercial success of Okami, however, God Hand does not appear to be generating the same level of enthusiasm from consumers and the gaming press.

Reviews from many outlets are still pending, but thus far, God Hand's review score average of 68% at Gamerankings.com hints that a "love it or hate it" situation may be at hand with regards to the title's gameplay.

Benjamin Turner of Games Radar appears to fall into the "love it" category. Scoring God Hand at 8 out of 10, Turner describes the experience as a throwback to the arcade brawlers of old. "It's a game about the sheer, idiotic joy of beating the crap out of things," Turner says, "and the best homage to '80s arcade ideals this side of 360's Geometry Wars."

Turner emphasizes: "The really important thing here is that it's just plain satisfying to beat the tar out of bad guys." According to Turner, God Hand succeeds in providing simple, fun gameplay, though the experience does occasionally become repetitive.

God Hand's classic-styled play mechanics may not appeal to all audiences, however. "God Hand is not for everyone," Turner warns. "Many will dismiss its satire as meaningless vulgarity, and fail to appreciate the intricate and satisfying ass-kicking. But for those able to dig it, God Hand is an excellent old-school game in a bizarre, new-school shell."

IGN's Chris Roper is not as impressed by God Hand's old-school antics. Roper describes the title as "a joke on many levels, much as a film director might intentionally make a B-movie," and awards a final score of 3 out of 10 in his review.

Roper cites an extensive list of issues present in the title, noting control and camera quirks as some of the worst offenders. Repetition in gameplay is the biggest problem mentioned in the review, however, and is what turns God Hand into what Roper describes as "an extremely tedious brawler where you'll generally mash a button or two until an enemy is dead."

This, in Roper's eyes, makes for an unredeemable experience. Roper summarizes: "The bottom line is that God Hand quickly becomes a boring, annoying and frustrating game."

Over on 1UP.com, Andrew Fitch agrees that God Hand features its fair share of troubles. "God Hand's controls are about as elegant as a Sherman tank trying to maneuver through San Francisco's twisty Lombard Street," Fitch begins. "Its graphics are impressive...if you happen to be a time traveler from early 2001. Its camera clips through scenery at an alarming rate, making you wonder whether a QA tester's build accidentally shipped to retail."

Fitch's score of 8 out of 10 indicates that these problems are easily ignored, however. Comparing the game's pacing and relentless action to the likes of classic arcade titles like Double Dragon and Bad Dudes, Fitch describes God Hand as a title best enjoyed by fans of the beat-'em-up genre.

"God Hand doesn't do the technical stuff as well as it should," Fitch concludes, "but it gets the most important thing right: fun."

Brawlers like God Hand have fallen out of favor among many gamers recently, with Capcom-published offerings like Beat Down: Fists of Vengeance and Final Fight: Streetwise meeting with poor sales upon their release. Though God Hand attempts to offer its own spin on the genre, its inherently simplistic gameplay may prove to be a turn-off to critics expecting something more substantial.


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