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Groundhog Day: My arm, my arm, my arm

I summon up the power of the GOD HAND!

I had a paragraph to introduce this blog, but after thinking about it...it's not necessary. My first exposure to GOD HAND was through this somewhat viral video, and if you've never heard of the game, that video exemplifies just why GOD HAND is so great.

Besides, it's just a game about punching people. Do you need a long "intro" with all them "words" to describe that? No. GOD HAND talks with its fists.

I had heard rumblings about God Hand on the internet for a long time before I even got to playing it. I'm sure everyone is familiar with the controversy related to the IGN review. The game was basically shat on by one of the industry's biggest websites for reasons like "it is difficult", "the graphics are bad", and "the camera clips through things". And that lead to MAJOR backlash on the internet. Fans of God Hand were pretty pissed that the revival of the beat-em-up genre was disrespected, nay, SLANDERED in such a way!

Some even were compelled to show high-level play of the game just to prove that the criticisms against it were not enough to warrant such a low score.

All of this was hardly in my mind by the time I got around to playing the game. In late 2010, I was in a GameStop and I saw a used copy of the game for $12. It was the only copy in the store, and something in the back of my mind was telling me "This game is pretty rare, Jose! Get it now or you'll never see it again!"

Then I said "Why did you just call me Jose?" But the voice was gone.

Anyway, I took the game home, popped it into my PS2 and started to play. And I didn't like it. The camera felt way too close to my character, and I couldn't move it because the right stick was just for evasion. The Resident Evil-like "tank" controls really rubbed me the wrong way. And it didn't have any story! Worst of all, my used copy of the game liked to freeze whenever I was getting into a good groove with combos, totally throwing off my timing, which usually caused me to get a boot to the chin through no fault of my own.

Disappointed, I took the game out of my PS2 and went back to play some other games. God Hand just wasn't for me, I guess.

A few days later, I was surfing Youtube looking for video of high level God Hand play. I usually do this for games I'm having issues with, because I have a very limited form of that one super power that lets me imitate whatever I see. So I stumbled on this video:

Dude, whaaat?

I also found a great God Hand fan site. I started reading strategies from the site, reading strategies from GameFAQs, and watching videos of high level play. Something in my mind clicked. I could play God Hand. Coming from someone who never plays fighting games and has limited experience with beat-em-ups...it was incredible seeing my skills evolve.

For the next two weeks, I did it. I learned how to dodge cancel, learned which moves give me invincibility frames, customized my moveset to fit my playstyle, and I eventually beat the game. The issues with the camera weren't "issues" at all, it put everything I needed to see in sight. The controls began to make sense. In some kind of miracle, my issues with disc read errors completely disappeared too. Since I started improving my skills at the game, the freezes and crashes slowly stopped. Nowadays the game runs smooth as butter and I've never used a disc cleaner on it. It's like it was complimenting my vigilance.

I did this dance after beating the game.

These days, I've beaten God Hand at least once a month, often more. I'm still trying new stuff like customizing my moveset to use only kicks (God Leg), never unleashing the God Hand or roulettes, and even working my way through Hard mode.
Actually, I'm still working on the last one.

God Hand is a game I can keep playing over and over and never get bored. I love taking on new challenges, predicting the moves enemies will make and countering, and completing the increasingly ridiculous challenges the game expects me to do to unlock extra content. I mentioned that I'm not a big fighting game fanatic, but if Gene got into Marvel vs. Capcom 3 via DLC, I would buy it.

God Hand is difficult, crazy as hell, and one of the most unique gaming experiences I've ever had. I don't see myself putting the game away for good any time soon. I'm totally OK with that.

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About Perfidious Sinnone of us since 4:46 PM on 03.03.2009

I go by many names. Masterace, Perfidious Sinn, KD Beaston, Perfidious Syn...uh, that might be it actually.

Twitter: @PerfidiousSinn (https://twitter.com/PerfidiousSinn)

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