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...
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Games played for project : 365