Frugal Gaming Review – GoD Factory: Wingmen

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In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream

It’s a bit of a good job if you ask me, this game made me want to do it rather too often.  GoD Factory: Wingman is basically a space ship PVP action combat game, with a unique art style and an array of customisation via in game shipbuilding.  It sounds great and I was so up for playing this game after watching the trailer, getting hands on however, it hasn’t achieved all that it sets out to accomplish.

You’ll find no campaign here and no story either.  It’s rather a shame as the developers; Nine Dots Studios have already gone to the trouble of creating four compelling races whose ships you can pilot.  All of them are very unique and fleshing out the universe with back stories to these races would have added so much more depth to the universe they inhabit. Games without any real story seem all the rage at the minute, and whilst some of those allow you to forge your own narrative, the scope in GoD is far too small to allow that.  Even a short campaign to compliment the main focus of PVP would have worked wonders, for me at least.

So gameplay wise, GoD is a straight up 4v4 battle to take on your dogfighting opponents and also take down their carrier.  It’s got some good ideas, but it’s alarmingly void of game modes and options.  You have to select two of your ships before the fight begins, this gives you two different loadouts if you want to change your tactics and also a spare ship, in case you get a proton torpedo down your thermal exhaust port.  Apart from changing your ship, flying through the launch bay of your carrier replenishes your shields too.  Enemy carriers are taken down by the good old fashioned way of chipping away at certain hard-points. Lose a ship you can jump into the spare one or take a drone, a very basic ship.

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You Have To Believe It To See It

What GoD gets right, it gets very right.  The visual design is awesome! I hate that word, but it sums it up to a tee.  Ships are unique, looking beautiful yet deadly.  It took me straight back to childhood Saturday mornings, spent watching Star Fleet X- Bomber and the forces of the evil Commander Makara.  It’s clear that Japanese culture has had a big influence on the visuals of both the ships and the environment but here and there you’ll see glimpses of other cultural pointers right the way back to mythological Greece.

Notice I mentioned environment without an s on the end? It wasn’t a mistake, whilst the rocks and asteroids might be in slightly different positions you will essentially be fighting over and over again in the same patch of space.  I’m not a graphic artist, nor a game developer, but would it really have been that hard to add some different backgrounds? A looming gas giant or maybe a swirling nebula light years away?  Imagine playing Call of Duty, actually scrap that, no one should have to imagine playing Call of Duty.  Imagine playing Battlefield over and over on the same map, racing around the same track time after time in Mario Kart.  It would get really old rather fast as is the case with GoD.

On a brighter note, ship customisation is another quiver in GoD’s bow.  From fuselages, cockpits, wings, thrusters and much more, all can be changed around to make the ship of your dreams. The individual species vessels all look very different and varied.  From the utilitarian, yet sleek Human ships, to the more intricately Gothic almost organic stylings of the Guantri. It’s a great feature even though it’s somewhat held back by an over complicated unlocking system that finds you having to grind.  Nonetheless it’s a great inclusion that I’d love to see in some of the other space combat games heading to my PC in the near future.

Everything in GoD is so bleeding complicated.  I found this game as I’d been on the lookout for more titles to make my investment in a flight stick and throttle a little more frugal, and by God have they made a bit of a pigs ear of implementing controls.  It starts out fine, a basic tutorial led me through all the general stuff. It’s no Kobayashi Maru, but it does the job well enough. The problems started when advance manoeuvres were touched upon. Basically a sharp 90 degree turn in either direction, a 180 degree swoop to get you facing the other way and, for want of a better description- back-step thrust.  I’ll put aside the fact that I find these moves unneeded, but the way they are implemented is awful.  A keyboard has lots of keys, likewise a modern joypad has lots of buttons, my flight stick has buttons on its buttons.  To pull off any of these manoeuvres you have to press two buttons at the same time, it’s unwieldy and just plain bad.

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May the Farce Be With You

GoD Factory: Wingmen has ultimately left me feeling extremely disappointed.  I’ve played a lot of early access games that feel more feature complete than this.  GoD however is a full retail release on Steam and I’m reviewing it as such.  In its current state I find it very very hard to recommend, the foundation for a great game is there but it really is just that; a foundation and nothing more.  In the week or so since release there have been a couple of updates but nothing that changes the fundamentals of the game. If the developers continue to push out updates, then why it wasn’t released as an early access title is beyond me, I’d have much preferred to be writing a more constructive preview rather than this critique.  Games can and sometimes do change drastically after release, I hope this is the case with GoD. I’ll be keeping my eye on it and dipping my toe in now and again to see if it has improved. Who knows six months down the line I might be blown away, and if so I’ll be sure to update this review.

As it stands some great visuals and customisations do not make up for the lack of actual content in this game.  Retailing at the same price, Strike Suit Zero offers a great campaign and there are a host of F2P games out there that could give you a better PVP kick.  It’s easy to write about poor games when you don’t like or care for the genre, but I’m a complete space and Sci-Fi nerd. I will end this review with one word.  It’s how I’ve felt whilst playing GoD and it’s how I’ve felt writing this.

GoD Factory: Wingman was developed by Nine Dots Studios, published by Bandai Namco and can be found on Steam HERE