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?