Dying for a slash
There’s a song that goes ‘what if God were one of us?’ if we allow ‘Gods: The Rebellion’ to provide us with the answer, it would be something along the lines of ‘He would be a roid-raging, homocidal maniac.’ Based on Chinese legend, this is a hack ‘n’ slash title which sees you doing copious amounts of hacking. And slashing. And…er, godding.
The legend is as follows: gods and men used to live together in harmonious bliss; visiting each others mansions, swimming in each others pools, and popping round to borrow tubs of butter on Sunday afternoons (then subsequently forgetting to bring them back till Tuesday…how naughty!) But somewhere along the line, one of the gods thought ‘Wait a minute, you’re men, we’re gods. We’re better than you, and we’ll prove it by enslaving you and killing anyone who kicks up a fuss. And give me my butter back.’
So began thousands of years of slavery and no butter. Those who opposed were put to the sword, and the gods were mean and didn’t even so much as invite anyone over for leftovers.
Eventually, one god became tired of this bullying and decided to rise up in rebellion to free the human folk from their oppressors. You control this rebellious upstart in seven levels of hacking and slashing, powers and combos. The story is actually a lot more thoughtfully illustrated than my attempt (who knew), and sets the action up nicely with a style that calls hieroglyphics to mind with all those ancient Egyptian Banksy pieces of work.
It’s a rather splendid looking game. Where environments are concerned, shadow, lighting and high detail combine to create wonderful backdrops with real character and imagination. The level of depth in the outdoor levels set the illusion of a massive world, so it’s a shame the gameplay is so linear. Half of what you see, you can’t touch, as you rumble forward in straight lines. It’s also frustratingly un-interactive save for the generic Video Game Crate that appears every now and then (but which breaks into pieces beautifully, natch), and absolutely no destructible scenery which would’ve added another layer to the visual feast. But this is a slasher after all, as long as the fundamental boxes are ticked and it looks pretty while you’re able to stick a sword in someone every couple of yards, we really shouldn’t complain.
Gameplay is mostly a case of button-mashing (natch x 2), and it’s mostly enjoyable if a little tedious after a while. Half of the problem is that even though your enemies crumble in a heap of bones and blood (a beautiful heap of bones and blood, I might add), the controls are inelegant and at times, unresponsive. They’re not terrible…I mean, they work and all, but your character never really feels totally under your control, and the combos (beautiful combos) that he shows off with aren’t really yours to own. It’s less of a case of ‘I did that’, and more ’Hit the button, watch the show.’
At the same time, by the time you’ve completed the tutorial there are more buttons on-screen than game to play. It gets a little cramped.
The quality soundtrack is filled with the appropriate mysticism and intrigue, and the sound effects are spot-on. Trust me, I know. I’ve impaled demons with swords loads of times, and it sounds exactly the same here as it does in real life.
‘The God’s: Rebellion’ is the game equivalent of fast food – pretty (tasty), not exactly good for you (not much depth), but you can’t help having more. It might not be the most sophisticated title, but there’s a thousand other App Store games for that. If you’re in the mood for the simple act of putting pointed steel to soft demon flesh, you could do far worse.
Follow Kevin on Twitter @KevThePen.