god hand

a review of God Hand
a videogame developed by clover studio
and published by capcom
for playstation2 and playstation3 playstation network
text by tim rogers

4 stars

Bottom line: God Hand is “like writing a friendly letter by hand while wearing brass knuckles.”



Many games feel like work, God Hand among them. However, God Hand also feels like the Best Job Ever. God Hand is usually like being a professional chainsaw-wielding glacier demolisher at a party where the penguins are going to need a lot of ice cubes. Sometimes, however, God Hand is like a phone call from a hallucinating Mike Tyson moments before you’re supposed to kiss the bride.

The goal of God Hand is to extinct the tar out of any moving human body, be it male, female, transvestite, or wearing a gorilla costume. God Hand is a videogame based both on the film “Frailty” (in which the “god’s hand” killer intones, “I don’t kill people; I destroy demons“) and the idea of throwing bucketsful of baseballs, one at a time, hard as you can, at a barn-side-sized cube of maple-syrup-sticky Styrofoam. God Hand is alternatingly the friction of repeatedly dropping a bowling ball into a massive cardboard box full of delicious bubble wrap, its sweet vinyl scent like Jesus’s kid sister, and the frustration of bending at the knees to pick that bowling ball up again, thirsting only for the next sticky drop. God Hand is the friction of an electric knife through a frozen ham. God Hand is the friction of a baseball bat against an oncoming Toyota Prius. God Hand is the friction of a cricket bat against an oncoming Harley Davidson. God Hand is, occasionally, a NASCAR broadsiding a freight train. God Hand is a stick of butter so hard it will break your teeth if you think it’s a candy bar. God Hand is the Pringles of videogames. Though God Hand is usually like poking holes in a watermelon with a chopstick for the best reason (“no good reason”), God Hand is sometimes like using a pizza cutter to eat ice cream. At its best, God Hand allows you to indulge in your curiosity re: how hard you would have to flex to break a Canada goose’s neck.

God Hand is the dankest videogame in existence. God Hand is a game-bong: you pass it around. God Hand is a glimpse into the lifestyle of a mythical class of human whose diet consists entirely of disused vintage electric guitars. Most of the time, God Hand is actually more fun than taking a dump. The first time you play God Hand, it makes about as much sense as the first time you wear ice skates. Eventually, God Hand is as easy as breathing — on a planet where the atmosphere is entirely cotton candy. Soon enough, God Hand is the first time you wear a pair of shoes that cost more than $20. Sometimes, God Hand feels like writing a friendly letter by hand while wearing brass knuckles; at other times, God Hand feels like asking a brick wall a rhetorical question and getting an answer that requires you to sit down for literally six weeks. At some points, God Hand feels like you’ve just hired an auctioneer to narrate your fluctuating torrent download speeds; at other points, God Hand feels like you’ve just hired a UFC ringside announcer to shout “Oh!” or “Ow!” or “That’s Gotta Hurt!” in time with your every footstep or operation of a hole puncher, stapler, or copy machine. Configuring your special attacks in God Hand is as easy as hiring George Foreman to beat the tar out of your mechanic. Chaining together combos in God Hand is as psychically instant and desolate as praying to God for a new Ferrari and simultaneously knowing you won’t get it. Every stage in God Hand is the tip of a new, identically delicious iceburger. Moments in God Hand reflect the feeling of catching a bully’s punch, effortlessly uncurling his fist, and snatching out a fifty-dollar bill. In God Hand, you will immediately confront every idle enemy grunt like a pit bull confronts a stray bath towel. Sometimes, you see, God Hand is the catharsis of using a jackhammer to cut your birthday cake.

God Hand looks like the only parts you remember about your cooler big brother’s comic book collection. God Hand sounds like the only parts you remember about your much cooler, dead best friend’s record collection. God Hand‘s story is that fat kid in high school who even the other nerds hated so much he got pushed down the stairs at least once every day before lunch; at the ten-year reunion, they hold a memorial service for him: you ask a dude how he died, and he’s like, “Oh yeah, after school, he got ripped, joined the CIA, boned a bunch of supermodels, et cetera, et cetera — he died last year, crashing a dirtbike into a helicopter so as to kill the terrorist warlord who was trying to escape”, and you make that face that Neo made in “The Matrix” when he realized he knew kung-fu, like, “Whoa!”

–tim rogers


94 Responses to god hand

  1. I went to Gamestop in pursuit of God Hand. They said that one place about 45 minutes from where I live had a copy. I’m still debating on whether to make the trip or just download and burn it.

  2. I really like that you don’t imitate the UFC announcer you quote in your video. Also, if you went to a Def Poetry Jam you’d probably get more people to play God Hand in a single night than any other review has for years.

  3. 1. I’m not satisfied until this site has one more God Hand review.

    2. This review came close to being a cock that kills with a stare, or the perfect guitar chord.

    3. I guess it’s Tuesday in Japan. Is God Hand in the Future?

    4. Chris Roper, formerly at IGN, still hates this game and gave it a 3.5. I guess it’s not for everyone, but shouldn’t a critical mind see what Mikami was trying to do?

  4. will make into a bulleted list and put on the back of some fly-as-hell custom box art (the box will be 3 feet tall).

  5. God Hand is the kind of game that I’d imagine would have been a huge success if arcades were still any measure of popular in America and God Hand was in them. On the other hand, I’d imagine based on what IGN hated God Hand because they sucked at it – really “Beyond this, it’s an extremely tedious brawler where you’ll generally mash a button or two until an enemy is dead. There are a few tactics of sorts mixed in, like choosing the best times to use a slower but more powerful move, but in large part you’ll be mashing buttons until everyone is finished.” It’s really weird that they say that when, 4 years later, that paragraph is right above a picture of someone doing something entirely different and crucial in God Hand – dodging. It’s almost as if different people write the reviews and choose the pictures for them there.

  6. I haven’t felt the friction of an electric knife through a frozen ham since FF1, at LEAST.

  7. God Hand is the Pringles of videogames.

    but tim — pringles are absolutely disgusting
    unless . . . “once you pop, the fun don’t stop”

  8. Playing God Hand is like going Jack Dempsey on a pinata made of pink-flavored rock candy. Watching someone complete a level of God Hand is like watching a one-eyed cowboy throw a playing card into the air and then intercept it in midair with a spit of tobacco juice. The mere act of leaving a comment on this review caused beard-hair to erupt from my knuckles.

  9. I was lucky enough to have a friend recommend the game to me recently (“God Hand is a game-bong: you pass it around.”) I just finished playing Final Fantasy XIII, which felt like a smooth stream of game play that’s been refined into nothingness. Then I jumped straight into God Hand and never looked back. For me, God Hand felt like wrecking my bike after hitting an awesome jump. It hurts but it’s great, and I want to do it again.

    This is why I played Final Fantasy XIII: to make games like God Hand all the sweeter.

  10. Fuck me when did this game get so expensive. Like 7 months ago it was 16 dollars new on Amazon. I hate my life for not buying it then.

  11. @ghostdinosaur
    We’re here for you man*.

    *don’t even try to borrow a copy tho, lol.

  12. Oh God, Peter, if you weren’t an internet stranger — I’d hug you.

    Shop not far from my house says it’s carrying one. Crossing my fingers for tomorrow being full of delicious simile-fulfillment.

  13. This review is stripped of all the parts of a Tim Rogers review that make sense outside of Tim Roger’s head. No explanation or reasonng, only absurdity for absurdity’s sake, it’s like a self-parody. I think Tim Roger hates us all.

  14. It’s just a bit of fun. After all, what can you say about God Hand? When you run a website that is, in some way, founded around God Hand, when you already have two reviews that combine talking about the philosophy of God Hand with discussion of its mechanics, what more would people want from a review you were doing of it. You could try and boil it down to a series of adjectives, some of them with “this is crucial” in front of them. But there’s too much in God Hand: most things are crucial, most things are something a developer could learn from. You could use it to reflect on The State Of The Industry, but who could play God Hand and NOT reflect on the state of the industry? The only other thing you could get would be a Samuel Kite style dissertation on gorillas or something.

    Just have some fun; that’s what the developers want you to do.

  15. God Hand is exactly like the feeling of breaking free from a crucifix with only brute force.

  16. God Hand is like singlehandedly felling the thickest tree in the world with a hacksaw. God Hand is like hitting someone with a chain. God Hand is like peeing into a tiny, tiny bottle and watching it overflow. God Hand is a brutal karate chop through a block of steel. God Hand is like fucking someone so hard, come shoots out of their nostrils. God Hand is like looking at the sun on purpose, and winning. God Hand is like punching a retard in the face. God Hand smells like money, if money was constantly on fire. God Hand is like fistpumping through the sound barrier. God Hand is like forcibly injecting heroin into Christopher Hitchens while his mother watches.

  17. God Hand is pretty much an icecream cone filled to the top with chocolate when you only expect chocolate at the very bottom. This will probably not make sense if you haven’t had this kind of icecream, but it is a good thing.

  18. You’re all wrong; Tim is the Jean-Luc Godard of video games. After* revolutionising the way people write about his medium, he goes into working within it; his first work is his least serious and most famous. His career sees him becoming more and more deeply intertwined with his art. By his death, it is his spouse, his political lens, and his God, in that order.

    *is action button finished, now Tim has launched himself into his game?

  19. Tim is the Jean-Luc Picard of video games. All fuckin warp 5 in outer space and such.

  20. is action button finished, now Tim has launched himself into his game?

    no. we’re just being lazy. review requests welcome!

  21. Well, I sent Tim my reviews ages ago and never got a reply. I can deal with that, although you said in the Dante’s Inferno comments thread to me and mcquill that you’d get back to us.

    I’ve sent them to you anyway. Please, if not me – do put SOMETHING up. I can’t keep this “thinking for myself” thing up much longer.

  22. “I can’t keep this “thinking for myself” thing up much longer.”

    the discussions are the better parts of this site though (and the stated goal!)

    I kind of want a “review request” section on here, but thats pushing it.

  23. Requesting a review of any Silent Hill game up in here. Or Machinarium. Or Street Fighter 4. Or filling out the Manifesto. Or…or…*sigh*

    Who am I kidding?

  24. Passage!

    Gravitation’s the better game, but to talk about Rohrer’s philosophy (try everything!) Passage kinda makes more sense.

  25. Well, uh, I don’t know if you’d love it or hate it, but I bet you’d have a swell time writing about Gotcha Force for the Gamecube. I personally love it but I just like shooting things. Also, The World Ends With You is one of the most Japanese games I’ve ever played and I still don’t know if that helps it or hurts it.

  26. I’ve mentioned this somewhere before, but how about an NST racing game review? Preferably Wave Race Blue Storm, 1080 or 1080 Avalanche would be good too.

    More racing games in general, come to think of it, there’s not much of the genre covered on the site.

  27. I want reviews of obscure arcade games like Violent Storm and Trio the Punch.

    Hey, I should make a Trio the Punch video.

  28. pokemon, starfox 64, wind waker, counter-strike (there arent many multiplayer reviews here), golden sun, advance wars, starcraft/brood war, just cause 2, world of goo, animal crossing

    something not god hand, actually.

  29. Opinions on Pokemon, starcraft and animal crossing can be seen scattered throughout other reviews. I remember hearing something about tim not liking golden sun.

    Fuck yeah to Advance Wars though.

  30. Yeah, didn’t Tim write something about Animal Crossing on Insertcredit a while ago?

  31. I’ve seen mentions of some of them, sure, but they’re generally “we like!” or not comments. No particularly useful discussions stemming from those!

  32. Oh, also Tim, this doesn’t need to be a review, but I’d like to know if you played Super Mario Galaxy 2 and if you consider it any better or worse than Super Mario Galaxy.

  33. Kinto: 1080 Avalanche is fantastic. It’s the closest we’ve yet got to Super Mario 64 Slide: The Game.

    I like the Waverace games, as well.

    Most of what I think about racing games in general is covered in my review of OutRun 2, I guess.

  34. Good enough for me!

    How about a Goldeneye 007 review? I know it’s shit, just out of morbid curiosity.

  35. wtf are you talking about. i’ve never felt the sensation of shooting someone in the face in any video game like i felt it in goldeneye. that game has that friction shit in spades.

  36. As much as I love(d) the game, Goldeneye is pretty much floaty hot garbage.

    On a similar note, just finished RDR, and despite everyone on Kotaku crowing that the “slide into cover” move is frictiony (it’s not) so therefore you should review it, the whole thing felt like air hockey without all the satisfying tactile/auditory feedback. And the ballyhooed “Hollywood caliber story” that was “perfectly paced” and people “couldn’t put down” was shit.

    I just bought another DS, so I could splurge on a $4 brand new copy of Bangai-O Spirits since I’m moving cross-country and selling all my consoles, and I got to thinking, one game that has to be on here is METEOS.

    It’s like the Solar Jetman of puzzlers. Hell, I’ll review it once it gets here and I see if it’s as great as I thought it was 5 years ago.

  37. Actually, my number 1 request would be for a return to the black background.

  38. Even though the new white background is infinitely easier on the eyes, I sorta miss having to squint like I looked at the sun whenever I switch tabs.

  39. I’d like to see an entire Majora’s Mask review, as you hint at how good it is in quite a few reviews. Also, perhaps someone should look into beatmania IIDX (I might even try reviewing it), affectionately dubbed “The God Hand of Rhythm Games” in my circle of friends.

  40. Not quite ON topic but after seeing Toy Story 3 today I decided to make one of those “TITLE is…” statements (™ of ABDN) for the glorious eye flooder:

    Toy Story 3 is “a masterpiece that makes you feel at one with the universe.”

    Now getting ON topic. As an aficionado (So I HAVE learned something from your writing) of Mikami’s God Hand, what are you feelings with regards to Vanquish? Was the thing playable at E3? Or did they stop that from happening, stop that from happening?!

  41. I think I’m going to have to request a review of Red Dead Redemption as well, but for different reasons. One, it’s got what’s probably the closest thing any game has to “Gears of War-style stop ‘n’ pop in place of random encounters,” and two, I really like the ABDN review of Crackdown.

  42. Tim, are you still alive? I die a little bit each time I come here and see that there have been no new reviews written since May.

    [Also requesting reviews of Rez and the original Super Mario Bros. You talk so much about SMB in relation to other games; I want to hear an actual review of the game itself. As for Rez, well, it’s Rez…]

  43. Just got done with my second ever play session of Godhand. I was meaning to get on here to share my initial impressions, but eh.
    It reminds me a lot of Dynamite Deka 2. Not as much in gameplay as in spirit. Probably due to the same wacky-ass, ballstothewall beat-em-up element. But yeah, it’s a pretty fantastic game so far.
    And I’m going to go ahead and request a review for Demon’s Souls.

    By the way, does selectbutton.net not accept new members? :(((

  44. Finished God Hand last night. I had been co-opping the game with a friend, rotating every time one of us dies. I felt it to be a much better experience; because you get to see someone else play, inspiration for new ways to tackle a stage smacks you in the face or appears subtly in a second, perhaps when you realize that “this attack can be up-dodged” or something. In my case, my friend loved launch attacks, while I favored up-dodging. I beat The Flying Pyramid by up-dodging AND continuous launching. By myself, I doubt I’d even consider moves other than ones mapped to the square button. Also, the shapeshift at the end is just enough to be significant, but not enough that you’re playing a different game. I didn’t like how the demons were so easy to kill because of it. They lost a lot of friction then.

  45. Just beat it for the first time as well.
    How about that King Angra battle theme?
    I’m convinced that this game has one of the most rocking soundtracks ever put into a videogame.

  46. The soundtrack really matched the game, although we are not fans of rock. The best music is tied between the Eurobeat hilarity (even though it was the worst sounding song) and the casino jazz.

  47. Plus I honestly feel like I could bench-press a volcano every time I hear the God Hand-unleash song.

  48. This white background is starting to get to me. I honestly think my vision is deteriorating.

  49. The review archive stopped working for me a few weeks ago. This makes me sad.

    I’m also a fan of the blackground.

  50. Ok, I know Tim is probably in the throes of some important videogame designing business, but the lack of updating on this site is getting ridiculous.

  51. Perhaps he’s trying to encourage us to write our own reviews. I’m already trying to write one!

  52. It’s more likely that tim started updating the site some more,and then forgot to keep up with it.

  53. Oh man, I am totally doing a pokemon rview.

    And sonic rush

    and crosstown.

  54. I have a pokemon review going too. I’m presuming you mean the originals? I don’t know why I’m making that presumption, beyond the fact that that’s what I was moved to do.

    Though guys, I wouldn’t expect much. I sent Ario some reviews more than two months ago, and he’s still sitting on them. But hey, maybe I’m just in denial over being quietly rejected.

    If you do send them use the ario dot elami at gee mail dot com address.

  55. No, I mean the new ones.

    Though in ABDN tradition, it’s really about the old ones.

  56. hi guys. i have been packing up and running stuff over to goodwill and everywhere else for the past month. finally going to be moving out of my house today. i’m going to try to update the site as soon as i can.

    do people like the white background? i know some say it hurt their eyes, but i really did prefer the black bg with white text. maybe we can find a place in between. we’ve a guy redesigning it as i speak.

  57. The black background is preferable because it isn’t like looking at a light bulb. If the white on black hurt people’s eyes, how did the black on white not blind them?

  58. Ario, you know we’re all waiting on your Metroid: Other M review.

  59. I preferred the black background, but something with a darker background would probably do as well.

  60. I cast my vote for a return to the black background, if nothing else. It seemed to better compliment the overarching aesthetic of the site’s humor and opinions. I did enjoy the novelty of the change to white for a little while though, considering that the site had remained visually unchanged for over two years. Something new and unexpected could be interesting, and maybe this time it’ll stick. No harm in further experimenting.

  61. I actually like the white background better, for the same reason: it seems to compliment the site better. Since only the background and text were swapped, and not the picture or banners, this style actually seems kinda ugly and crude, but also kickass. Or something. The black background just screamed “edgy and nonconformist just for its own sake!” The white background is much more noise-rock don’t-give-a-fuckitude.

  62. lol I’m only a newish denizen to the site (Found it in March) so the white background seems fine to me, and I looked at the black background on the wayback machine and it is WEIRD!

    Incidentally back in July I saved a Google Cache of the site’s review archive, just in case Google saved the blank version to the Cache (which it did of course). I should’ve posted it earlier really, but nonetheless:

  63. You are my hero for today. I’ve rather missed the archive.

    I preferred the black background, personally. But, you know, whatever works for you guys.

  64. Whoever likes this white background better show up and argue why this was a better idea!

  65. Pingback: articulating interaction through relation « Interaction Culture: The Class Blog

  66. This is the essay which first made me fall in love with this site, and everyone who contributes to it (especially Tim(but especially Bart)). I am very comforted to discover that not all gaming journalism has to read like a rejected script from X-Play on the fucking G4 Network.

  67. Pingback: What Are You Playing This Weekend? | Kotaku Australia

  68. Pingback: Crysis, NBA Jam, God Hand and Eufloria Are New on the PlayStation Store |

  69. Pingback: 10 Things I Hate About Skyrim | Kotaku Australia

  70. Pingback: 10 Stupid Things Terribly Wrong With The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword | Kotaku Australia

  71. Pingback: Casual Gamers Syndicate These Were My 8 Favorite PS2 Games... » Casual Gamers Syndicate

  72. Pingback: These Were My Eight Favourite PS2 Games | Kotaku Australia

  73. Pingback: Journal Club: Action Button’s Four God Hands | Ludonarrative Dissidence

  74. Pingback: Space Marine | action button dot net

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *