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
@TheNoyse Awesome, keep us posted!
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.