God's Trigger PC preview: A thrilling top-down shooter that shows immense promise

Aside from the excellent Hotline Miami series, there haven't been very many quality top-down shooters in recent years. God's Trigger, an upcoming title from developer One More Level, is looking like it will change that — and from what we've played so far, it's likely to succeed in doing so, although there are some things about it that could be better.

Gameplay: It's time to get violent

God's Trigger's gameplay is fast-paced, brutal, and satisfyingly strategic. You can attack foes with two different types of moves: melee and ranged. Both are one-hit kills, but ranged attacks require either guns or throwable weapons. Both can be found throughout God's Trigger's levels, as well as on the corpses of dead foes. In addition to standard attacks, you can use special abilities like dashes, teleports, invisibility, and more depending on whether you choose to play as Harry or Judy, the dual protagonists of the game. You can swap between them on the fly, and both have strengths and weaknesses — for example, Harry's sword is great for quickly clearing out rooms, while Judy's whip is perfect for extending your melee range.

The twist, however, is that the rules of combat work both ways. Enemies can kill you in one hit, too, and there are several different types of foes that present different obstacles to your success. One enemy is capable of briefly fighting on after being shot, which makes them more dangerous. Another lobs TNT at you, and you're forced to escape the blast zone before it goes off. There are plenty of other unique baddies like this, and each of them makes the levels feel like a dangerous game of chess. When you consider that co-op will also be available when the game launches, it's easy to see why God's Trigger will likely be tons of fun for players.

The only issue I have with the gameplay as it is now is that enemies can sometimes feel a little too easy to exploit. Their predictable nature ensures that you can plan out your attacks without needing to worry about random elements, but it does feel a little cheap when all you have to do is peek around a corner, get seen, and then double back to bait several foes into a trap.

Presentation: Vibrant and stylish

Visually, God's Trigger is bright and stylized, featuring a vast palette of different colors that appear in several different environments, ranging from run-down to bars to cluttered film sets to ornate palaces. As you may expect with a game this combat-focused, the gore is emphasized significantly. When you hack and slash foes to pieces, blood spatters everywhere and body parts roll across the floor — this makes your attacks feel satisfying.

The music is excellent as well, with heavy, hardcore rock and metal tracks that feel like something from a DOOM level.

Performance: Hit or miss

The way God's Trigger runs is the worst thing about the game. Most of the time the game plays at smooth framerates, but heavy stuttering is frequent enough to the point where it can get players killed because they can't react to what enemies are doing when it happens. If it doesn't get fixed before the game's launch, I can see this being a severe problem for players, so I hope that it does.

Thankfully, other than this, the game runs fine. I didn't experience any glitches or bugs in the gameplay experience itself, and loading times for the levels were quick and painless.

Final thoughts on God's Trigger

While the exploitable enemies and annoyingly common stuttering are problems for God's Trigger, there's ultimately still a fantastic Hotline Miami-like top-down shooter here that players will love. The gameplay is exciting and tactical, and the presentation is excellent.

God's Trigger is expected to release on April 18, 2019 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.