Well, it's the end of the God of War Week, and honestly, it's a little bittersweet. It has been a fun, fun week of gaming, without question. However, it will be nice to finally move on from the God of War series, especially since all the games play and feel so similar.
Getting all the new trophies was cool, and it was good motivation to go back and work on my backlog. Since I got a big chunk in most of the games I hadn't already finished, hopefully I will be able to wrap them all up without waiting forever. At the same time, now I have a handful of started and unfinished games that while I was chipping away at, managed to miss out playing a lot of other games in the mean time (Tomb Raider, I'm so sorry ... I'll be back soon).
Playing Ascension today (and a lot last night too), I'm glad I played the games in the order that I did because now I can finish up this game and then go through and finish the games chronologically and try to wrap my head around the storyline all over again. I think it will be a lot of fun to do it that way. However, with how visually stunning this game is, it might be hard to go back and play the much older games. We will see, though. The summer is ideal for game backlog grinding like the one I'm stack I'm building now. Remember how I've said that 2013 might be the biggest and best year for gaming, maybe ever? Well, this summer might be the best summer for gaming in its own right, just because everyone will still be playing all these awesome games instead of the usual summertime drought.
So God of War: Ascension is fantastic. Finally getting the complete history of before Kratos became a God is nice and finally feels like everything is now pretty much clear. The world is once again grand and stylish, and you feel so small and insignificant sometimes. In fact, there have been times where the camera pulls so far away to show off the amazing scenery, that while in the middle of a battle, you can easily lose sight of Kratos, and you are forced to button mash until completion. This isn't necessiarily a horrible thing, it's just a thing, as the basic controls and combat system doesn't demand intense focus at all times, if you know what I mean. Besides, even if you die because you can't see what's going on, at least the view makes it all worth it.
Everything you know and either love or hate about the series stays true in this game as well. Sure, they have added a few new touches here and there, like the ability to pick up random weapons and use them in battle, but nothing groundbreaking. Again, they aren't trying to reinvent the wheel, just rotate the tires a bit. If you are a fan of the series before hand, you will love this game. If you didn't like the previous games, then well, just move along, because there's nothing to see here.
There is a multiplayer mode which I honestly haven't even thought about checking out yet. I'm sure I will eventually, just out of sheer curiosity, but it should be no surprise to anyone that I'm probably not going to dive in head first into it. I'll try to write about it at some point if I feel the need to, just not tonight.
Ascension did something else, however, that sent the internet on fire with debate, and while not exactly timely anymore, I still want to add my two cents to the discussion. And I really don't want to throw anyone under the bus if I can avoid it at all possible, and I'm usually not one to complain about other gaming journalists, who by all accounts, are entitled to their opinions just like everyone else. With that being said, I do need to speak out against the highly-regarded Adam Sessler and his review of this game.
It wasn't his review that I had a problem with, as he pretty much said what I said: If you like God of War, you'll probably like this one. He did, however, hark on the violence in the game, and like I wrote about last night, it's such a pointless topic to keep writing about when talking about God of War. Yes, it's a violent game. Has the violence gotten worse, or is it just a case of the gore being more pronounced and showcased because of the graphical capabilities of the system that the game is running on? I think the latter is true, for sure.
After his mini-violence rant, he switched gears and went into full assault mode on, of all things, the name of a trophy that pops after a certain scene. In the game, a Fury (demon-like creature) takes the form of a female woman, and Kratos is forced to kill her by basically crushing her skull in and then impaling her on a spike. It's not exactly the most gruesome kill of the game by far. But because it was a "woman," Sessler got all up in arms at the name of the trophy, which was "Bros Before Hos." He threw out the misogyny that seems to be a hot button topic in the gaming industry already, and did so quite unfairly in my opinion. After his rant, he seemed to be more sour on the game than before it, and the score didn't seem indicative to what he thought about the game up until that trophy. Whether or nor his disdain for the name of the trophy had anything to do with the review score or now, we will probably never the full truth of it, so that is merely an observation I had as a consumer interested in the game.
And this is where I had the biggest problem of them all. Sure, he was offended by the trophy name, and that's fine. We are all allowed to be offended by whatever offends us without prosecution, last time I checked. And while a game review is purely based on the reviewers independent thoughts and feelings about the game being reviewed, I don't feel like reviews are the proper platform to preach about ethical issues you have, especially if they don't pertain to the game itself in any way. It wasn't the violence he was seriously offended by (though he wasn't thrilled about it), but it was the "Bros Before Hos" trophy name that set him off. The name of a trophy. You know, possibly the farthest thing from being relevant or important in a review OF THE GAME.
If he wanted to post an accompanying video sharing his opinions on it, that's fine. No problems at all with him doing that. But to highjack a review of a game to preach about morale standards from a soapbox is unfair to the game and the audience. There are times and places for everything, and he lacked poor judgement on this one.
Also, I can't even say his interpretation of the problem was even well thought out, but rather an overreaction for the sake of being controversial. He claimed "misogyny" because of the term "hos," which wasn't even spelled correctly for one. Sure, on paper it looks pretty brutal if he were actually doing it to a woman, but instead, it was a demon disguised as a female human, who has been trying to kill him the whole way. Another Fury even attempted to use the power of seduction and naked breasts to lure Kratos in to her deathtrap earlier in the campaign, again, because she was a demon. And that's OK, apparently?
Is the game itself, or even the franchise, misogynistic? Well yes, in a way, because it is trying to stay true to the time period in which the game is set. Women were mistreated, used as sex objects and not looked at as equals in real life during that time in history, so it would be unfair for this franchise to not be true to that aspect. They haven't completely thrown it in the audiences face for the most part, but sure, it's there. But that's not even Sessler's complaint, but rather the name of the trophy. He is basically saying that the developers and creators are as guilty of misogyny as Kratos is, and they should be held accountable for their actions.
That's all fine and dandy, except for one crucial detail. Sony Santa Monica Studios, the creators of this game, are ran by woman all the way to the top of the corporate ladder. A woman was responsible for writing this trophy name, and it all had to go through women to get pushed on to publishing. So is "misogyny" still a word that should be used in this circumstance? I think not.
Was it guilty of maybe being bad taste or juvenile? Sure, you could argue that. But that applies for many games these days. And again, it's the name of the trophy, not the actual act in the game that got the negative attention. In an attempt to nip it in the bud before the PR negativity spun out of control, Santa Monica announced and released a day-one patch for the game that changed the name from "Bros Before Hos" to "Bros Before Foes." They didn't say they were wrong, they just apologized for possibly offending anyone in the community.
Congratulations, Adam Sessler. I hope you bask in your own glory for getting the name of a trophy changed to appease your own personal morals. I just wish you would have addressed it in a different manner, or thought about it first before altering the review of a game to coordinate with your morals.
Unbiased journalism is dead, even in the gaming industry, apparently.
Well ... SURPRISE!
Let's get straight to the point. Obviously, I didn't play a God of War game today to coincide with my God of War Week. I played Mortal Kombat on the Vita, instead.
Now, before you click off the site in disgust, calling my Week a sham and vowing to never return because you just can't trust me, let me explain. There is a reason why I didn't and couldn't play a God of War game today, and there is a valid topic which sprung from not playing one as well, but there is also a reason and a good topic as to why I played Mortal Kombat instead.
So going in to this God of War Week, I knew there was six mainstream games in the franchise, but I knew of another game that was released for cell phones back in 2007. The game was called God of War: Betrayal, and it fit nicely in the intertwined storyline in between a couple of the other games (the fifth game, chronologically, if you must know). This game would make the perfect seventh game for the week, as it was obscure and relatively unknown or remembered by the non-die hard GoW fanboys. There was a problem, however. Since it is the only game of the franchise to not be released on a Sony platform, it wasn't exactly easily accessible. It wasn't even an iOS game, but rather a game developed by Java for mobile phone (think like the old Nokia flip phones and such). In other words, this game is pretty much non-existent to the general public at this point in time.
I knew going in that I wouldn't be able to play it, so I had my back up plan in place of Mortal Kombat. But I did hold out hope that a week worth of searching and playing detective would round me up a chance to play it somewhere, somehow. It wasn't meant to be, as all my due diligence fell short of success. And that's a shame.
By all accounts, Betrayal was actually a really good game. Like really good, especially considering the platform it was on. It wasn't a cheesy knock off of the franchise or a badly developed gamed skinned with the God of War universe, but rather a worthy entry into the universe and a placeholder for a small bit of storyline unexplored in other games. Even though it was only the third God of War game released, no other game since then has stepped into it's space in the franchise and tried to replace it or retell it's section of story. In other words, Sony and Santa Monica Studios respected it as worthwhile to keep around.
Unfortunately, technology wasn't able to keep it around, from what I can tell. I couldn't find a PC version of it, an emulator of it, nothing. I was able to find some sketchy files to download, but no way to open them and actually play the game. There were also some extremely sketchy download sites that I passed on, because I don't think what they advertised as being legit was really what I was looking for. With how quickly technology is advancing, and the newest and best upgrades being released constantly, I'm afraid there are plenty of things being lost forever, like this game. Sure, most games and stuff like this might not ever be missed by the general public, but why can't they be saved, somehow? At some point, game preservation must become more important, or all of these fantastic games that developers spent hundreds if not thousands of hours into making will be lost and forgotten, except for a few random screen shots, videos and write-ups. But if people can't even play the games for themselves, isn't the entire point of making them in the first place irrelevant? They are made for the consumers enjoyment, not just to have a review written up, telling everyone how great it is without giving them a chance to agree or disagree with proper context.
Games new and old that have been distributed by carts or discs will always have a chance to live on be properly preserved as best as possible. But I worry how the digital downloadable games will fair in the long one. This is actually one of my main concerns going forward with the gaming industry, where if games go to strictly downloadable distribution, future generations might never get a chance to enjoy them and experience them as they were when first released. With the PS4 announcement, Sony said that all digital downloads of PS3 games won't transfer over to the new system, it is the first sign of bad things to come. I avoid downloading games as much as possible, because even if the new systems aren't backwards compatible, I still have something to show that I once owned these games - the discs themselves.
So like I was saying, no God of War: Betrayal for me. Mainly because I couldn't find my 6 year old cell phone to play it on. That will teach me a lesson!
Instead, I played Mortal Kombat on the Vita. Why? How does this fit in to the God of War week? Well, for two reasons, one of which is the obvious one. In the Sony versions of the game (PS3 and the Vita), Kratos is a playable character. He has his own back story and reason for being in the Mortal Kombat tournament, which is cool that they went the extra length to really incorporate him into the game instead of just throwing him in there to please the Gods ... err, I mean, Sony. He plays just like you think he would in a Mortal Kombat game, with the moves you would expect and some really cool finishers (which are still less brutal than some of the boss kills in his God of War games). Look, it's still a Mortal Kombat game, and he fits in to their realm, they don't change the game to accommodate his style in his games. Now, in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, he plays exactly like he does in the GoW franchise, which is totally fine as all the characters are different, play different and feel different. Oh, and he is completely brutal and pretty much overpowered compared to the rest.
Another reason I played this game is because it set the benchmark for violence in video games way back in the day. When it first came out, especially when it transitioned from arcade game to console game, it was all over the news for how violent the game was, especially in comparison to the other games on the market at that time. With this new, reboot of the franchise of Mortal Kombat, the violence is as prevalent as ever, from the new X-Ray moves to the vicious fatalities and everything in between. However, most people didn't even bat an eye at it, as it's pretty much par for the course in today's game industry. It's not the only violent game on the store shelves anymore, and while it is pretty graphic, we as gamers have pretty much become numb to it all by now. Whether that is a good or a bad thing is totally up for discussion and debate, but the facts are facts.
Yet, despite all the violence in games nowadays, the God of War franchise is still lambasted for its violence. Yes, they built their first game and every game since then on the fundamental building blocks of violence, brutality and graphic content. Like I've said before, they don't hold back and don't try to be anything other than that. They are what they are, and they cater to a broad audience, but also exclude a large population of gamers because of it's violence and graphic nature. They are OK with that, obviously, as seven games in they haven't changed the formula at all. And actually, they have continued to push the envelope of violence.
For some reason, however, the violence is always mentioned in any reviews or write ups about the game, where as many other games feature just as much, if not more, violence and still don't get the flak for it like God of War games do. They don't hide the violence, so why is it such a big deal to people? Is everyone still not used to it by now? Or is it just an easy target for the haters to shoot at?
Anyway, playing Mortal Kombat again was fun. Kratos is a fun character to play as. I dumped way too many hours into the game when it first came out on the Xbox 360, but I managed to pick up the Vita version for pretty cheap, and got all the DLC characters and Kratos included with it, for mobile gaming and trophies to boot.
So sorry, folks, for not playing a true God of War game tonight. Betrayal just wasn't available to play, despite my best efforts. I did play a game that was just as violent, however, and played as Kratos even! Do you forgive me now?
I hope so. You have to at least finish the week with me as I talk about God of War: Ascension - hopefully with plenty of game play behind it to finish off strong. And I MAY have something else in store to go along with it, but I won't fully plug it until I know it's something I can pull off.
Don't want you getting your hopes up again, like reading about an obscure mobile God of War game...
For God of War III, I wanted to do something a little different for you all, by switching up the format from what I have been writing like the last several blog posts about the other God of War games in the series. I decided to write my thoughts and impressions of the game as they happen, in a live blog type of manner.
I have always believed that in order to make this blog successful in the long run, especially as the year progresses, that I would need to keep my entries fresh and unique. And to be honest, I am kind of running out of things to say about the God of War games, as I am saving certain opinions for the last two blog entries. So, in order to keep it fresh and to prevent me from rambling on just for the sake of writing something, here is my live blog as I started up God of War III ... for the first time ever. Enjoy!
8:34 - Game starts with a quote. Always powerful for sure.
8:36 - Opening sequence is epic. Great art, and the music is getting me absolutely jacked up to go on a rampage.
8:37 - Oh, there is Kratos looking at me with half his face. I wonder why they decided to keep doing this so many games in? Just one of those things I suppose.
8:38 - Tempted to play the game on Titan mode, but I'll refrain for now.
8:38 - Actually really excited about this game, as it's the first PS3 God of War game that I've played.
8:40 - Can't help but notice how greatly improved the graphics in the cut scenes are compared to the PS2 and PSP games. Also, can't help but imagine what the norm for PS4 games will be. Talk about exciting.
8:40 - Check-on-kids break as the first cut scene comes to a close. Side note: I understand making people sit through stuff like the awesome cinematic scenes, but not being able to pause them makes it difficult sometimes.
8:49 - Back, ready to roll. Let's see what happens. (I imagine some tutorial lessons as the first combat waves take place ... Lets find out, shall we?)
8:51 - First set of enemies, 199 hit combo. Hope there isn't a trophy for a 200 hit combo...
8:53 - Just checked, and there is a trophy for a thousand hit combo. Whew!
8:56 - The Titans are amazing. Also, why do controls for moving around while hanging from the ceiling and being upside down always feel so backwards and messed up? Aside from the obvious reason, of course.
9:01 - I love how enemies just stand there banging their weapons against the ground, waiting for me to approach. What is this, The Outsiders?
9:04 - First Kratos dog pile I've encountered. Pretty awesome, actually.
9:06 - Epic battle going on here ... In the background!!! And I'm just a spectator ... For now.
9:09 - Just gutted my first centaur I believe? Yeah. That's pretty graphic. No pasta for me for a while.
9:10 - I really appreciate the little detail of putting the buttons on the screen in relation to where they are on the controller in the QTEs. Nice touch there.
9:12 - Just noticed that Kratos is lifting these chests open with one hand now like it's no big deal.
9:13 - First save point - yes please!
9:14 - Gates are still two handed affairs. Guess he's not that strong.
9:14 - Died from an unexpected QTE while writing that last bit about the gates. Oops!
9:15 - Death count = 1, so far.
9:18 - Death count = 2. Don't ask.
9:22 - Horse/spider creature just got vampired by his own leg, and all I can think about is: "Shot through the heart ... And you're to blame..."
9:25 - It's nice to hear a heart beating that isn't my life meter warning me of impending doom.
9:29 - I'm stuck. And all I hear is that heartbeat. ARGH! Make it stop!!!
9:36 - Unstuck. Wow. Maybe I should look for the obvious next time. You know, like that little glowing indicator telling me what to do? Also, using enemies as battering rams against other enemies = genius idea.
9:44 - Well that boss battle sure was something. Can't say enough how amazing that was. The first person perspective as Poseidon while Kratos is finishing him off was done remarkably well. And his dead body getting tossed into the ocean created massive flooding? Brilliant.
9:46 - Save? Yes please.
9:47 - What's up, Zeus? Or shall I call you ... Dad? SPOILER ALERT!
9:49 - Great, now my alliance with the Titans is over? That probably doesn't bode well going forward.
9:51 - Getting ravaged and pushed to the brink of death in the River Styx is such a smart concept. I love it.
9:52 - Crawling up that walkway reminded me of Nathan Drake dragging himself through the desert in Uncharted 3 - except much, much shorter. What a cool sequence that was either way.
9:54 - Athena hooking it up with some new weapons, the Blades of Exile. Cool, I think.
9:56 - New weapons of course meant different move set. Grrrrrrrrrr...
9:58 - Save? Yes please.
10:00 - OK, this Army of Sparta ability is actually pretty rad.
10:03 - There is no way that fighting while hanging from a rope is as easy as Kratos makes it seem to be. No way. I just don't quite know how to prove it.
10:07 - Just killed my first Gorgon. For one, they look amazing. Two, I feel like I'm in an Anaconda movie. And that's not a bad thing.
10:28 - Three-headed dog that breathes fire has been tamed and decapitated. Oh, and new fire bow acquired.
10:28 - Death count = 3, because I still don't know how to jump correctly, apparently.
10:31 - Save? Yes please.
10:35 - Is there anything more annoying in games than packs of flying enemies when you, yourself, are not capable of flight? I would argue no.
10:36 - Death count = 4, because I don't know how to climb ledges, apparently.
10:52 - Just beat the first Trials mission. Wow. That wasn't easy at all. Glad I didn't go with the Titan difficulty. Added a couple deaths to the death count there also.
10:52 - Save? Yes please.
And that's all she wrote, folks. I could have kept playing, but it has been a long, long week. Plus, do you realize how hard it is to write a blog while trying to play a game? That probably took up a quarter of my time, if not more! Either way, it was fun. Can't wait to get all the way through it. But now, we move on to the bread and butter of this week.
Violence. Blood. Gore. Brutality. Revenge. Rage. Lust. Sex.
Did I say violence?
All these words are often used to describe the God of War franchise, and rightfully so. The game holds every one of those words, along with just about anything else you can probably imagine, to high regards and the core fundamentals about the games. The developers don't shy away from this, don't try to mask it or cover it up. They are true to themselves and the franchise they have created.
Behind these pillars of instant M-rating attributes that they are so proud of, they do hide one aspect that isn't as bad as the others, maybe by accident, or maybe just because the others are out in the open while this stays back in the shadows.
Of course, I'm talking about the story. Yes, you read that right. I said the story. There actually is one in these games, despite what you might have heard. And in God of War: Ghost of Sparta, the story is the highlight of the whole experience, by far.
With this game being the 6th official God of War game in the series to be released, Sony Santa Monica pretty much just ran with the notion that everyone who was going to play this game probably had already played a God of War game at some point already. Sure, they give you the same tutorial through the first part of the game, telling you what buttons to push and giving you a quick rundown of what to do and how to play. But aside from adding to the combat a bit, they decided to stop trying to reinvent the wheel and focus on the rest of the vehicle. The old adage is true for this series, that if it isn't broke, don't fix it.
So instead of trying to revolutionize how players experience the game play, they went a different route and decided to change how players experienced the game. By far, they went above and beyond in creating this story to tell, which answers many previously unanswered questions about Kratos and his character. And as is true with any great psychological thriller in any form of media entertainment, nothing grabs people's attention more then someone going crazy and fighting with their inner demons. Granted, most stories like this don't actually have the character actually fighting their inner-self, but hey, since when does God of War play by the rules or conform to preconceived stereotypes?
It was clear from the first GoW game that Kratos had, shall we say, family issues. But in Ghost of Sparta, everything you thought you knew about his family issues are flushed out thoroughly, leaving no stone unturned. His mom, his father, and especially his brother, who aside from Kratos' crazy mind, steals the show as far as interesting and vengeful characters go. His death is a powerful one, and perfectly explains why Kratos would rather choose death than live with the demons that haunt in afterwards.
Oh crap, my bad. I totally swore I would never do that again. Hope it's not to late for...
Is that even necessary though? I mean, really? Is anyone actually going back and playing this game for the first time at this point ... other than me, of course? And if so, is it that big a spoiler when you are telling the back story that takes place between two other games?
With that being said, this is the first game where I genuinly appreciated and enjoyed the story part of the game more than the combat. That's not to say I didn't like the combat in this game, because I did (the run and tackle move is sweet!), and it's also not trying to state that I didn't like the story of the other games, because I enjoyed those to (Greek Mythology is definitely something I've always been interested in learning more about, not that this game is historically accurate at all or anything, but still). But as I play each game this week, I can't deny that some parts just feel really repetitive, but with an engaging and entertaining storyline, it's nice to have some new kind of experiences with this franchise this week.
Story. Remember that kids. Win them over with violence, but kill them with story. Or is it the other way around?
Well, back to the console games of the God of War series, tonight. And in doing so, I realized something really cool and welcoming about the series. No matter how long it's been since you assumed the role of Kratos, or on what system it was on, each and every game is so inviting and easy to pick up and just play.
There isn't a learning curve to readjust yourself to learning the buttons. Because of the straight-forward game play style, it is hard to struggle in getting acclimated with the game, no matter what game it is. Even when going between the handheld games and the consoles games, the transition is smooth. Sure, the buttons are slightly different since the PSP didn't have as many buttons as the DualShock controllers, so certain buttons are mapped differently, but for the most part, it's all quite familiar. And that's a good thing.
I picked up in the middle of my game from the last time I played God of War II, which was October of last year. I had a hard time before loading it remembering where I was in the story, but as soon as it started up, it all came back like it was just yesterday. That was a cool feeling, because usually with my horrible gaming ADD and how often I bounce between games, I have hard time feeling comfortable right off the bat with games I haven't touched in a while. God of War, the entire series as far as I can tell, doesn't let that happen.
Sure, you could forget minor plot points or how far into the story you actually are, but for the most part, it's pretty seamless. Whether it is due to the simplistic style of the game or if it is done that way intentionally, it's fantastic to be able to pick up any game and any time and not be confused.
Another thing I realized while playing tonight was just how grand the overall game is, especially the scenery and locations. Sony Santa Monica held nothing back while developing this game, which is highly regarded as not only the swan song for the PS2, but also the best PS2 overall. Quite an accolade considering how successful that entire system was. But yeah, not only does this game look outstanding, all things considered, but the scale in which they built the universe is remarkable. There are several instances, where no matter how big, bad and powerful you feel while playing as Kratos, you are forced to feel small and insignificant in comparison to the world around you. One instant that stuck out for me was running across the chain from the giant horses over to the island. They could have easily zoomed in on Kratos as he made he way over the giant metal links, but instead, they draw back almost to the point of loosing sight of Kratos, just to show the magnitude of it all, and the beautiful scenery in the distance.
It's subtle, yet effective choices like those that developers all too often choose to take the easy route on instead of taking the risks, ultimately holding them back from rising to that next level of gaming experiences.
On a related note, I sent out tweet to Santa Monica Studios tonight, randomly, just to let them know about the God of War Week here on this blog, and much to my surprise, they responded with:
Sony Santa Monica: @SonySantaMonica
I'm not trying to toot my own horn or anything, but that's pretty cool right, considering it is coming from one the most successful game development studios? Glad to see they are well connected with their fan base (EA, I'm looking at you...).
So there we have it. Tomorrow night, back to the handhelds, which is OK with me as it means more trophies and no time wasted getting right in to it.
So tonight I dove in to the handheld games of the God of War series, if only to break up the order in which you probably thought I would write about these games this week. At first, I really considered playing the games in chronological order to the story (not the release dates), as this series has jumped around more than Kriss Kross in a bounce house.
But, after I realized that the very first game in the story line was Ascension, which didn't actually come out until today, there was no way I was going to be able to start my week like that, yesterday - especially since I'm not privileged enough to get access to new releases early, apparently. So that pretty much screwed up any grandiose plan of having some rhyme or reason as to how I am playing the God of War series.
Instead, I just decided on this order: Console game, handheld game, console game, handheld game, console game, handheld game, NEW console game. Got that? Did you take notes? I hope so, because there will be, in fact, a test later on (Pizza Guy, I'm looking at you, buddy).
To reiterate, I chose to play the first of three hand held God of War games tonight, which is technically second in the chronological order of the storyline (but was the first for years until today's release), the prequel to the original game in the franchise, the fourth game actually released in the series and the second handheld game to be released. I really hope I got all that correct, because I got confused just writing it - I can't imagine what's it like to read it.
I tend to think that Sony Santa Monica had pretty much this whole storyline roughly written out for a while now. Maybe not from the beginning, but at least once they got the green light to make the second game. If not, they are doing a wonderful job of filling in storyline holes - not with DLC, webisodes or anything else that games these days use to answer unanswered questions - but by just saying, "Ehhhhh, let's just make a full game about it."
There are no complaints here.
So, to try and stay true to God of War: Chains of Olympus being released for the PSP, before it was remastered and brought to two different PS3 collections, I wanted to play it on a handheld. Since I have the guy via a download, not on am actually PSP, I was forced to try to play it on my Vita. You know, that thing that Sony promised would be capable of great things, like being able to remotely play PS3 games on it? So that's what I did. Well, that's what I tried, I should say. Apparently, while the remote play function works for the God of War 1-3 games in the Saga, they decided it wasn't logical to make the handheld games, the downloadable titles in the Saga, able to utilize the remote play function of the Vita. Seriously. I can't make this up if I tried.
That is one of Sony's new promises with the upcoming PS4 system, the ability to stream any and all games directly to your Vita for remote play. Seeing as how they can't figure it out now, you can see why I have my reservations about this guaranteed feature of The Future, the PS4.
Disappointed, I was backed into a corner and brutally forced to play my PS3 game on my PS3. Thankfully, that's where the disappointed ended and the fun began.
I actually sank several hours into the game tonight, just because of how fast paced and fun the action was. The story line didn't grab me right off the bat, but there are a few new elements I haven't seen in the little big of time I have spent with the franchise. The Morpheus, or the electric fog, or whatever you called it, is an interested concept for sure. The game play, the buttons, the menus, everything are very familiar and takes no time getting familiar with them, especially because I just played another God of War game last night.
While the game is pretty tough on the eyes at first glance, the textures are actually smoother than you would think and the overall graphics aren't that bad. It's obvious the HD rendering has helped it out greatly, but seriously, it could have looked a lot worse. It is quite clear why this game was so highly regarded and dubbed the best PSP game. I could imagine how awesome this would have looked, booting it up for the first time your PSP. And that is why Sony is successful with their exclusive IPs. They always seem to have that "WOW" factor (usually early on in the games), and they hold up well over time.
Unlocking a whole bunch of new trophies was pretty fun to, if I might say so myself. That might be one of dark horses on the race track this week for you gambling fans, as far as what will end up being my favorite part of spending the week with Kratos himself. We will see as the week progresses though, won't we?
Well, it's that time of the month once again. Not that time of the month, but this time of the month. Well, it's not really on a schedule, either, but it's a new month regardless, which means it's that time of this month.
Stop. Let me try that again.
Hey everybody, do you remember last month (February) where I played every game in the Halo series for an entire week and then blogged about it? Well, that was actually one of the coolest, most fun things I have done with this blog project in the few months of it's existence. I actually received a lot of feedback and praise for that one week, which was awesome to see that so many other people not necessarily had the same opinions as me, but rather had a deeper connection to the Halo series past the fact of them being video games, like I did. I feel like I really connected with you all during that week, like we were cave explorers spelunking in a previously undiscovered cave (this year of gaming project) and we took an offshoot path that looked like it had some sort of light at the end of the tunnel (my week of Halo). And in the end, in the mini sub-adventure we took, we found a huge, glorious cave within the cave, with stalagmites and stalactites and everything.
Following my drift? Man, I hope so, because my analogies are getting stranger, longer and more complicated by the day. So let's just put it this way: My Week of Halo was really awesome, fun for me and a good read for the readers, as far as I can tell. So, because of that, I decided to have a special week in every month, with each week featuring a new series of games.
And this month, on the eve of the release of the newest addition to the franchise, I have decided to have a God of War Week. All Kratos, all his games, all week long.
Now, let's clear up a few things first before I jump into the original God of War game breakdown.
First, I realize that God of War is not everyone's cup of tea. It doesn't hold a special place in as many gamers' hearts as Halo does, and that's fine. Despite it's commercial success as a franchise, it's still a niche game. For one, it's Sony exclusive, which until recently, meant that not that many people we able to keep up with the series as a Microsoft franchise, or especially a cross-platform franchise. Also, due to the violent nature, game play mechanics and style, and adult themes, the God of War series isn't intended to be for everyone's liking. It just is what it is. It's a bloody, violent, fast-paced, button-mashing, hack-and-slash, sexually aggressive adventure built on the human principals of love, hatred, jealously and revenge.
It never pretends to be something its not. Never, not once. And I have LOTS to say on this topic, as the week progresses. You have been warned.
Secondly, if you pull out your abacus and do some quick math, you will count a total of six God of War games, including the newest one tomorrow, to be commercial released, right? God of War 1,2,3, Chains of Olympus, Ghost of Sparta and now Ascension. Well, there was also a hidden, long-ago-forgotten-about gem in the series, but we will get to that one later on as the week progresses.
So yeah, there are seven days in the week, and seven God of War games in the series. It's like it was meant to be.
The God of War series, unlike a lot of fans of the series, doesn't go very far back for myself. Actually, I just played the first game for the first time last September, when I picked up the newly released God of War Saga that Sony put out to pay homage to one of their most successful franchises. It was part of the PlayStation Collections line of games they have released, including other popular franchises like Killzone, inFamous and Resistance. Unlike the other Collections, though, it featured five games for the low, low price of only $40! Five games in one bundle? Oh yeah!
You see, I didn't actually own a PlayStation 3 until last March, where I bought a Vita and the PS3 on the same day - because when I jump in to something, I go all in, head first, with no life jacket. I owned a PS2 for a brief moment in my life, but that went away with my gaming hiatus as well. So, I never had a chance to play any of the awesome Sony exclusives until recently, which sadly enough, is taking up a large portion of my backlog. God of War was always a game series that intrigued me, that I thought I would like, but due to circumstances, could never enjoy.
When Sony announced their God of War Saga, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to start from the beginning.
Playing this game tonight, I remembered what I thought about it several months ago when I played it for the first time. Yes, even with the HD updates, it's still a dated game, graphically speaking. The fire in the background of the menu screen is an instant headache, due to the lack of graphics to actually make it look like real fire. But then you get a pretty awesome looking cut-scene, with Kratos jumping off the cliff in a suicide attempt, setting up the story that would play out of the next 5 games as well: Kratos' rise to the throne as the God of war.
From there, you are pretty much thrown in to battle right off the bat, learning simple techniques as you go, instead of having the separate tutorial. Everything is going nice and kosher, and then BAM! You get your first glimpse at would eventually be one of many, many huge bosses to fight - The Hydra.
It's pretty clear from the first several moments of the game, what kind of game this will be. It will be a violent, bloody hack-and-slash game. It will feature some platforming and puzzling solving elements, as well. Also, the now infamous Quick Time Events will play a crucial role in big fights, and the bosses you will encounter along the way will be massive, intimidating and downright awesome.
I remember how fulfilling beating this game was a few months ago, because the story, while pretty simple and basic in it's truest form, is still quite engaging and fascinating, especially for fans of Greek mythology. Tonight, I didn't play through the whole game, obviously, but I did get a healthy start at a 5 hour or less play through that I need to complete for a gold trophy. Will I ever get it? Hopefully, thanks to the great head start on it I got tonight. But with so many games in the series to play this week, it won't be finished this week, that's for sure.
I can't wait to continue this, as I haven't even played most of the games yet, so yo will get a lot of first impressions and varied opinions from me, in this God of War week.
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Games played for project : 365