I beat Sony’s God of War 3 this weekend. I never really played the previous games; I think I’d made it halfway through the first game and then got bored with it. There was this one jump that I just didn’t seem to be able to pull off. Something about the flow of that and this game never really clicked with me; I didn’t like the jarring stutter-stop pacing of “here’s some fighting” and then “here’s some puzzle solving.” It’s also what pissed me off so much about Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, where every time I started to get a hang of the combat and might have actually gotten to enjoy it I was immediately thrust into another puzzle-solving sequence.
It’s weird, these God of War clones are basically the modern equivalent of the beat-em-ups of way back when such as Double Dragon, Final Fight, and Streets of Rage. Those games were often criticized for being too one-note; you fought and fought and that was it. But, you know, that’s why you got those games. In sports games you played a sport and continued playing a sport and that was all there was to it, too. I frankly don’t like this habit of games to come off as poorly jumbled-together combinations of multiple genres. “It’s a brawler AND a puzzle game!”
I just wanna’ beat shit up. Why is that too much to ask?
And while we’re at it; what the hell was God of War about? I’ve put in 9 hours to this game and, frankly, I’m unclear as to whether Kratos is the villain or not. Frankly, the narrative makes the most sense if the Zeus and the other gods–ostensibly the villains–were actually trying their damnedest to protect the world from Kratos. The whole narrative became especially ridiculous at the end where everything hinged on Kratos taking a trip to self-help world and learning to “forgive himself” for the death of his wife and daughter. You know, I have no sympathy for the death of his family; the bastard flooded a whole city near the start of his game and didn’t bat an eye. Did he forgive himself for that? Would he deserve any forgiveness? And in this murderous blood lust he never once indicated that he had even the slightest inkling of noble intent. Even a half hearted “well, this city has been laid to waste but it will be worth it for mankind to be free from the yoke of the gods.”