Gods: Lands of Infinity Special Edition (2007)

Sometimes you're in such a hurry, that it's
easy to forget your plate cuisses.

Gods: Lands of Infinity Special Edition (2007), developed by Cypron Studios, published by Strategy First

In this digital age, it's at times easy to buy a game you know nothing about because they are cheap. And by that, I mean dirt cheap. That's how I got Gods: Lands of Infinity, originally released in 2006 and 2007 (SE). I don't recall how much I paid off it, but it was probably around 2 euros. Not that I miss those two euros, but had the game been more expensive I would not have bought it no matter how much they flaunt the pictures of Kyla Cole, Slovakian glamour model, on the store site. Her presence is the quickest way to determine if you have the special edition of the game if you were wondering the differences between regular end special, not that I have played the regular edition mind you.

I guess using a glamour model is a decent way in trying to make an utterly mediocre, poorly written fantasy RPG at least a bit more bearable. But then again, adding a beautiful main protagonist works here as well as it works in any genre; only for a couple of minutes before reality kicks in.

As you'd expect from an RPG, there's an epic story that sets the premises of the tale of glamour model Vivien, which is your name minus the glamour model part. You are nothing less than an avatar created by, wait for it, Arswaargh, god of fire. This deity - whose name sounds like a scream on the toilet during a particularly hard dumb - made you stop a war that has raged for 2000 years after a head honcho of gods was put out of his misery and the rest of the divine buggers couldn't agree who'd inherit the throne.

Good ol' Ars sends you to another realm in order to find some new weapons, which could be used against evil god Mortagorn after he found a local BFG factory and started icing the competition real good. After Vivien arrives at this another world, she finds out that she doesn't have her divine spark anymore, but that she's just a regular woman as far abilities go. So not only she has to find the gods of the realm in order to get her mojo back, but she also has to gather a weapon that can be used against, add echo here, evil one.

Gods has two play modes. The first one is a 1st person mode, in which you rummage the locations. This works oddly as if you want to use mouselook, you need to press the right mouse button down. Otherwise, you need to use D and A keys from standard WASD controls to turn. This could be fine, but the key based turning has been made so slow, that using the mouse is a far better and fluent option.

The second play mode is the combat mode, which lets you control Vivien and her party members from a 3rd person point of view. Here you just choose an action from a menu and point to either an enemy or your own combatants in order to execute a command. The combat works on a turn-based system and action points. On each turn, you can either attack, use an item, spell or defend yourself. These actions consume action points, which run out pretty quickly. When this happens you need to do a mandatory defend turn, which reloads your action points. It's a serviceable system, not the most tactical iteration, but it works well enough and as for the functionality of Gods go, it even might be to best fleshed out.

Combat mode. You can rotate the view.

The UI in combat works reasonably well, though it is somewhat finicky. While a click opens a menu, the menu itself is on screen only if you keep the mouse cursor on the menu itself. If you by accident move the cursor out from the menu it closes, which leads you to click the menu items again. This is a surprisingly common occurrence. Another point of annoyance is the speed of combat, as it moves dreadfully slow given that the animations, yours and the enemies, aren't the fastest in the world. And as they are relatively poorly animated there's no particular pleasure watching them either.

Speaking of annoyances, I found the shopping to be a bit of a chore as well. While in it's simple, talk to a merchant and just point and click what you want, for some reason you can't buy and sell during the same window. If you want to sell something you need to talk to the merchant again and select the selling line after which you can do exactly that. At times you can't even sell anything to merchants, as they don't have a sell option. It is an odd, odd system.

Another annoyance is the wilderness locations. And city locations as well. There is a quick travel, powered by a signpost at the edge of the map. You click that and can then choose a location on a world map and are then transferred to a corresponding signpost on the other map. But there's no fast travel within that location map. If you have to walk to the other side of a map to kill someone, you then need to walk all the way back to the signpost in order to travel where ever you want to go next. A lot of the gameplay actually is just walking in a boring environment.

It's not an RPG without inventory Tetris

Then there's the overhead location map, which nicely enough showing the whole area when you enter it, but annoyingly it's easy to miss your character pointer on the map itself. At times I had to spend a couple of seconds before I noticed where the dull light grey arrow was on the map, which is damned irritating.

Graphically speaking it's pretty hard to believe that Gods: LoI came out in 2006, as it looks like a prototype version of Morrowind, which came out in 2002. If you want to compare the graphics on the something that came out the same year as Gods, then the game looks even worse, as there was on little title named Oblivion. The world of Gods is constructed of simple geometry, with boring, lifeless surroundings. The character art isn't much better and animation is amateurish at best. And apparently, the Special Edition even has some enhanced textures and modelling work done to it, so that kind of adds insult to injury I guess.

A small budget screams out in every crack of Gods. While the surroundings are relatively dull, the cities aren't that much better. While there's a lot of houses and people in the cities, one thing comes quickly apparent: there are no interior locations. Everyone, including merchants, kings and poor alike stand in the front of their respective dwellings. Night or day, as Gods does have a day cycle, there they stand, waiting for the hero to come.

A small village on view. 4 out of 6 companions in a haul.

As an icing on the cake, there's the script and the voice actors. Gods is not fully voiced, only in part, which is all good and fine considering that the voice talent isn't much of talent unless your stretch the meaning of the word by a mile. Then again the dialogue is often so hilariously bad that having a bad voice work kinda adds to the unintentional comedy. The script is also very invested hammering in the fact, that Vivien is indeed a young looking, shapely woman, as a lot of the inhabitants are very keen to observe the fact.

And yet... there's something charming about the game. It's not by any means a good game. Everything about it from writing to graphics is either bad or mediocre. And yet I feel drawn towards it like a moth to a flame. I think I'm allowed one cliched metaphor considering how cliched the world of Gods is.

I don't know if I'll actually ever finish the game and if I do if I write a follow up about it. First, of, I will most likely get bored about Gods long before I get to the end. And secondly, I doubt there's anything at the end of the journey that would warrant a write up about it. Then again, you never know.

A small update, 25.4.2018

I ended up completing Gods: Lands of Infinity. After a relatively dull journey, you end up in a place of creation between worlds, where you need to destroy a final crystal. You do that, with your all new divine powers and find that you've been had! The evil gods have bamboozled you and the crystal you've just destroyed is revealed to be a source of power, which will kill your master, the high god. And the other gods rejoice but tell you that the quest isn't yet over.

Indeed, the game proudly proclaims, that the story will continue. Right there, in the end, there's a text slabbed on the screen, that tells that there will be another game to continue this saga. Considering, the game was released in 2007, I doubt that will ever happen. In fact, I think that Cypron, the studio that developed this piece of mediocrity, doesn't even exist anymore, or has at least been very quiet in releasing anything for a decade or so, the chances of another game being released are slim to none.

So now you know how this game ends. In a disappointing cliffhanger. Whoop-de-doo.

Female warrior donning her customary armour. Protection is for wussies

If you want to experience Gods: Lands of Infinity it's sold in Gamersgate. And Amazon. Considering the amount of shovelware Steam has, I'm genuinely shocked that this isn't sold there as well. As a note, Gamersgate version is much cheaper than the Amazon one.