The Average Gamer

Indie Rock: Gods Will Be Watching

Gods Will Be Watching - Scum
I’m sure that shorthand for Gods Will Be Watching’s difficulty is going to be the same as you might succinctly describe running into a wall. It’s just “Hard”. Leaving it there is avoiding the more important description of what it’s doing to you as a result. It’s leaving you exhausted and bloodied, testing your resolve as each new attempt isn’t likely to make a difference until you’ve cracked it wide open. More likely you’re going to give up long before you make it to the other side.

There’s a grueling trial and error to everything I’ve yet experienced in it. Every level of the point-and-click Difficult-Decision-Sim is an attempt to stay alive in horrid circumstances. My current mission is to develop a vaccine to save the lives of my crew while simultaneously digging myself out of a collapsed tunnel. I”m taking turns shovelling, unethically experimenting on them in the limited rest-periods and should any die, their remains will teach us about what might work better in the next batch of antidotes.

Each of Gods’ levels is too long. Replaying one means taking a massive chunk out of your day and probably having a bit of a grumble for it making you repeat so much. This has a two-fold benefit to design: if characters die, you don’t make any attempt to try casino online the level again and resurrect them because it’s a fucking hassle. The roots of how this alters the narrative is already visible just from my current place in it. My friend did not survive a torture sequence the level before, but he’s right alongside me digging and being injected with potentially lethal chemicals. The first time I select him the game makes a little judder, as if something’s wrong with his presence here. I like this. It’s uncomfortable.

This extreme length also helps to hammer home that theme of cruel exhaustion. I’m not personally digging out a tunnel with only brief moments of rest every few hours, but I am spending an inordinate frustrating amount of time in the attempt to make my video game characters do it. You can’t half-ass any of the activities either. You have to pay attention to everything on your thirtieth try as if it were the first time. There’s enough randomisation that not everything happens as you”d planned it to and that has to factor into the way your decisions are made.

Gods Will Be Watching - UndergroundThe statistical likelihood of a character surviving injection isn”t certain until they”re either fine or lying motionless on the ground. Some of these character outcomes even have a chain reaction on the functions of the rest of the crew. If the repairman dies the robot can’t sustain as much electrical damage and then can’t supply power to the equipment, which means the robot has to sacrifice himself to keep the cables connected, killing him and leaving you without another hand to help dig.

It’s like spinning plates, except the plates hate you.

Maybe I’ll finish it. I”m excited to see the narrative get to the position of the initial game jam game and what that adds to the finished product, I just… I just don’t know if I have it in me. Maybe I”m not cut out for this.