Gods Will Be Watching
Top Critic Average
Gods Will Be Watching is a divisive game. The bleak story and equally dark scenarios are interesting, even if they seem to go one for far too long. The sense of adventure is overwhelmed by the blatantly apparent resource mechanics and lack of character development for everyone, except for Jack and Burden. The random nature of the game mixed in with the lack of checkpoints and high probability of failure due to forces outside of your control would be more frustrating if it weren't for the game's (newly added) multiple difficulty levels. The lack of control over events can lead many to give up on the title far too quickly. The premise is solid, but the game relies too much on chance and trial and error, so it's hard to recommend this title to anyone but masochists and those who are hell-bent on experiencing the story — no matter what.
Gods Will Be Watching isn't fun. It's draining, sometimes harrowing and nearly always frustrating. Yet it's worth it. It's the emotional catharsis that makes this game moreish, the cultural counterpoint to the mindless mayhem of GTA that makes it important.
Born from a Ludum Dare scenario (an updated version of which has been included in the middle of the game) and spread into a full-length game, Gods Will Be Watching is far and away the most interesting game from 2014 thus far, and it wouldn't really be a stretch to call its design "pioneering." But the true joy, above its other admirable traits, comes from the emotional trauma and frustration it inflicts on the player. Accept no substitutes.
I wanted to like Gods Will Be Watching more than I did. It was let down by a few technical issues, and one chapter in particular was highly frustrating. Overall, it's something a bit different and well worth checking out.
Gods Will Be Watching is an interesting experiment -- a game that puts a fresh new spin on PnC conventions and delivers are pretty unique experience. But its lack of narrative impact, its ultimately empty moral decisions, dependence on trial and error, and tendencies towards deliberate frustration rather than challenging fun make it something of a flawed curiosity piece rather than anything else.
Gods Will Be Watching is one of those rare games that deserves a wholehearted recommendation even though it is definitely not for everyone. It's punishing, occasionally unfair, and relentlessly philosophical, but it's also supremely rewarding and absolutely gripping from start to finish, all for the same reasons. If nothing else, it's a fantastic exercise in how to translate traditionally unplayable scenes into systems of gameplay - and not just token button prompts, but complex, engaging gameplay.
Gods Will Be Watching is a very good example of a brilliant idea ruined by faulty implementation. It starts off with a fascinating idea that get slowly but steadily ruined by the tedious micromanagement it requires.
By pulling off an unforgiving juggling act of resource-management and survival, it nails the atmosphere of despair it aims for. But there's a point where the statement has been made and players need something more - and unlike Sgt. Burden and his crew, the player can simply walk away from Gods Will Be Watching.
We really wanted to like Gods Will Be Watching. The concept is brilliant, the scenarios are tense and the story is thought-provoking. But the combination of the random trial-and-error gameplay and the horrible bugs made us want to slit our wrists long before the conclusion.
Abstracted through pixels, text, and the lens of science fiction, God Will Be Watching is a fantasy that captures a very real, disturbing hint of apocalyptic reality.