Sunday, October 27, 2013

God of War Trilogy Musings

Having just finished God of War 3 (and had a few friends ask me what I thought of it), I decided to write a little something up on the series. I'm just voicing my generic opinion on the trilogy. I've titled it "musings" because I couldn't think of a more appropriate word for what this is. 

I somehow never played this trilogy until recently. It was actually one of the first things I bought for my PS3 (the collection disc) but I struggled with the first game to a point where I traded it in and forgot about it. Years later as I approach the PS4, I couldn't help but feel that I was really missing out on something. My play style has changed since I first tried the collection disc. I'm more driven and ambitious to finish games now, and I got both of these games (er, all 3) for a grand total of $8. I felt like my Playstation fanboy status couldn't be upheld without playing these, so I made myself sit down and do it.

The first God of War game... I can understand why it was probably a masterpiece in its day. It was probably mind blowing on the PS2. The graphics are pretty decent, the story is solid and Kratos is a brutal anti-hero amongst the best of them. Greek mythology has always been pretty rad - I remember learning about it in elementary school and thinking it was pretty cool. The Disney movie Hercules came out when I was younger, and I specifically remember a phase of being really into the whole thing for a while with my 7 year old friends. The gameplay is simple throughout the trilogy. It gets a lot of negative comments because of its simplicity. It is button mashing at its finest. There are a few combos (square square triangle) but mostly just a lot of mashing. It feels very appropriate for this series though. I'm not a person who wants to learn a bunch of intricate combos just to hold my own against the third boss in the game. The "monotony" is broken up with various power ups, magic and alternative weapons. The variety of course progressed throughout the series. The downfall of the first game lies within some of the puzzles. The camera was fine, but there were multiple times during the first game where I wanted to break the controller. The two that stick out are the room with the box you need to kick before the spikes break it, and the spinning spiked tower of death. Anyone who has played this game to that point knows exactly what I'm talking about. I'd go on a rant about how frustrating puzzles without room for error should result in the development teams imprisonment, but its an old game and I managed to get through it. These things were corrected in the following games, so I only mildly want to slap the person who decided it was a good idea. I just feel bad for people (like me) who are turned off of the game due to this and won't get to see the end of a great series because of the frustration. I almost quit for good a few times, but pressing on to see how the story unfolded was worth it.

God of War 2 expanded on the first game with even better graphics. The puzzles were challenging but not frustrating. I don't think I once had to physically stop myself from smashing my controller. The story takes an interesting turn and definitely leaves you wanting some closure on the series. The scenery changes quite a bit more than in the first game and some of the levels are actually pretty to look at despite the games age. I'm not sure if I preferred this game to GOW3, but I definitely enjoyed my time with it. It didn't seem too long nor too short, and it delivered a fun time throughout the game. Definitely much better than the first one, and I can say I'm glad I made myself progress through it to get to the second game.

God of War 3 is the perfect conclusion to the series. The story you were left cliff hanging with at the end of the second installment picks right back up in the third game. It doesn't really let you take a breather - you're immediately right in the action. There was a bit of a change to the control scheme, but it is neither good nor bad. Kratos' third outing provides him with the most diverse weapons of the trilogy, and sometimes they actually come in handy. Certain enemies can only be defeated by certain weapons, thereby requiring you to change up your play style and keeping the game fresh. I beat this one the quickest of the trilogy, not necessarily because it was shorter, but because the game flows a lot better than the other two. Many times I play in quick bursts - I have an hour or so to do some gaming before I have some other obligation to take care of. Predetermined save points are only annoying when there aren't enough of them - and GOW3 addresses this issue presented by the previous two. I didn't find myself scrambling to find a save point because I had to leave in the next 10 minutes. The environments are again pretty impressive - the level with Perses in the background is actually what eventually sold me on a PS3.  The massive Titans look really cool and are handled with ease by the PS3. The gameplay remains largely the same, but as I previously mentioned, it just feels right for this series. The story concludes in a little bit of an eye rolling cliche, but it delivers the closure you desire without getting too Hallmark on you.

All in all, this is a really great trilogy and I'm really glad I eventually made myself get through it. Its a shame the first game had such frustrating parts to it...I feel like I'm probably not the only one who had given up on it after the sour taste of the first game. I now understand why Kratos is considered a classic character, and why the series is so highly recommended. Within the next few weeks I plan on picking up the Origins collection (which contains the 2 PSP games remastered for the PS3) and then Ascension sometime after (although the holidays are approaching very rapidly, and the PS4 is going to be heavily distracting me for a little while). If I feel it is worthy of some kind of write up I'll do another one of these musings on the other 3 games in the series.

No comments:

Post a Comment