God I'm Bored: A God of War Series Playthrough Thread [Spoilers] [See CW In First Post]


#21

I have been a big fan of the God of War series and also have been re-playing them recently. I’ve been playing the first two on the Vita and even subscribed to PlayStation Now to play God of War 3 and Ascension, which I never did complete. I still enjoy playing the games. Yes they appeal to baser instincts and there about as angsty as Limp Bizkit, and why do all the female characters have to be bare chested? But then, we are talking about a series created by the guy who did Twisted Metal and more recently Drawn to Death.

For me, the appeal of the series, especially the first one is that God of War was a violent video game retread through the epic poetry of Ancient Greece via the stylings of Ray Harryhausen. I love those movies, I love Greek mythology, I love monsters but equally and probably problematically I love fighting and beating the living snot out of monsters, and have done since the days of Castlevania and NIGHTMARE CREATURES. It’s only until this year’s Monster Hunter, I was kind of put out of sorts for monster slaying. At least God of War acknowledges that you yourself are a monster and the monsters themselves are out to hurt you for no other reason that they belong to the forces of evil led by a mad god.

I actually remember studying the texts of Greek mythology at university as GOW2 was coming out and my lecturer both got into God of War in a big way. I wish I could say it was a full academic conversation, there was obviously talk about how Kratos story mirrored the twelve labours of Hercules, themes of the battle of mortal man versus god and monsters, about Greek myth in particular being stories about men going mad and destroying the world around them etc… the whole module was about the recycling of myths in modern culture and there was interesting talk about how games differ from the other mediums. But really it was again, more about those base thrills of disembowelling a centaur or appreciating the attention to detail of the ludicrous display of violence, when you finish a minotaur you’ve got to hammer the circle button, as the blades go deeper into his throat, you can hear the minotaur gargle on the blades… It’s yeah… God of War pornographic in it’s violence and I think it’s part of it’s appeal. You shouldn’t like it but… I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. I guess ancient mythology has always been dealing with our darker instincts…

That said, replaying the games, I felt the earlier games feel more cartoonish in their violence. I think once the games made their introduction on PS3, this violence became a little too real. ie. the result of the Hercules fight. The way you destroy the big elephant dudes in Ascension. It’s euh… all too much…

At the time when God of War came out, the game did action like no other game before. You would be playing a level as normal, and suddenly a massive boss fight suddenly explodes in front of you. Mechanically the games are very simple, in terms of combat you can pretty much get by with the square square triangle attack to finish off most beasties. I find them quite easy to playthrough as there isn’t much to the mechanics, it’s usually just spacing before the next fight.

I’m about an hour into the new one. I like the new direction. It’s a lot harder, there is still visions of the old Kratos, but like Patrick said it’s all in context that we’re not supposed to think about old Kratos fondly.


#22

I posted this in the other big GOW thread but now I have to change it some for the forum to let me post it again so I guess I’ll ramble for a bit and say that foxes are rad:

Anyways here’s the real post:
I’ll be really curious to see how GOW 2 fares given that the lead is the same as on GOW (2018) and what that means for the way the new game deals with the legacy of the series. Not that it will excuse anything, Cory Barlog is still the dude that said this:

“Probably the really small beginnings of this idea, the germination of this — when I was working at Lucas, I was allowed to go up to the ranch and read the scripts for the [canceled live-action Star Wars] TV show,” Barlog told GamesBeat. “It was the most mind-blowing thing I’d ever experienced. I cared about the Emperor. They made the Emperor a sympathetic figure who was wronged by this fucking heartless woman. She’s this hardcore gangster, and she just totally destroyed him as a person. I almost cried while reading this. This is the Emperor, the lightning out of the fingers Emperor. That’s something magical. The writers who worked on that, guys from The Shield and 24, these were excellent writers.”

So like, ya know. But I’m curious about how the bullshit 2 pulls compares to later games and what that would mean for how he feels about what is his legacy with the series vs the series as a whole and how the newest one does and does not deal with it


#23

So I finished the first God of War last night, and that unlocked some bonus materials, including a Making Of video. Watching that video makes a lot of things clearer; God of War is literally the guy who made Twisted Metal trying to write a prestige series … and it turns out exactly as you’d expect from that sentence. I’m actually wondering if it would be worth digging into more background info and interviews around the first game, because the video makes it seem as if the team had no idea exactly what they were making, beyond wanting to make it as over the top violent and “brutal” as possible.

Also: the first game makes it crystal clear that Kratos can’t be redeemed in any moral sense – and neither can the gods. The subtext that the gods either don’t care or willingly contribute to the horrible conditions of that world is basically text by the end of the game; all the notes you find in the Pandora’s Box shrine spell this out. Kratos’ deal with the gods is completely selfish – he basically wants them to Eternal Sunshine the parts of his memories that make him regret his actions. It’s not even clear that he regrets anything beyond killing his family. He has no interest in using those memories as a catalyst to stop being a genocidal maniac; he attempts suicide as a way to rid himself of responsibility for the consequences. And at the end of it all, the gods reward him by making him the new God of War.

It’s all very 90’s grimdark comic book stuff, but in the wrong decade. And I actually wonder if the whole point of the new God of War isn’t to redeem Kratos, but to redeem the continued existence of a franchise that explicitly glorifies the worst sort of villain as the protagonist. And I guess if I’m being brutally honest, I would care a lot less about this if the first game wasn’t such a mechanically broken slog. I knew the story was going to be a joke, but you get a lot more time to think about these things when you’re not actually having any fun.


#24

Kudos for watching the bonus material. I just put this thing down as soon

As for your spoiler, yeah, if there’s anything clever about this game’s plot, it’s that it casts the gods as the sort of petty, cruel manipulators who would use someone like Kratos to their ends.


#25

Oh you are going to lose it when you get to the big twist in 3.


#26

For me God of War 2 feels like a mongrel of a game. A lot of the documentary stuff from the first game contains concepts and ideas that were cut from the first game which I guess were then used in the 2nd game. I prefer the flow of the first game, everything feels a lot more contained, you go from Agean sea, to Athens, to the desert and the temple of Cronos with it’s water and fire dungeons and the way the story plays out makes it feel more complete.The second game feels a lot weirder there’s a lot more variation in the locations. First you sack Rhoades, then your in some icy wilderness meeting Prometheus, then you are off to a vague swamp land and this giant chariot structure. I guess it means you’re never really sure where you’ll end up, never sure what characters from Greek myth turns up next. Although you will obviously kill them all. Because hey! that’s what Kratos does!

The larger problem with the 2nd game is that it builds up to a fight with the big bad, but then stops short Halo 2 style, leaving it the objective of the 3rd game to basically ‘finish the fight’.


#27

I’m speeding my way through God of War 2 on Easy mode with an FAQ. There’s a lot more mini-boss battles (good) … but the puzzles have degenerated into the sort of garbage you find in a crappy point and click adventure game. And Kratos is still terrible; he’s basically turned into Ares at the beginning of the game, and his excuse for continuing to be a murderous asshole is that the gods made him that way. I’m assuming his motivations don’t improve.


#28

God of War I, Pt. 3 (And Final)

The last part of this game is a microcosm of the whole thing, for better and, mostly, worse. Basically, in what seems like pretty blatant padding, Ares decides to kill Kratos, which sends him to hell, but then he’s fine because he climbs a skeleton which lets him fight his way back up. The level is full of the same three enemy types you fight in most of the game, plus horrible spiked pillars where the spikes have Overwatch hitboxes that are about twice as wide as the actual model. It’s pretty bad, and this is just a pet peeve of mine, but all throughout this game (and what I’ve seen of II), it really irks me how more enemies spawn in exactly the same spot and with the exact same animation as the last wave. It makes the whole thing feel like an asset flip.

But what really bothers me about this whole part of the game is that it’s so unnecessary. It doesn’t advance the plot, because once you get out of hell, you’re at the exact same spot you would’ve been if Ares hadn’t killed you at all, and it doesn’t introduce any new gameplay ideas. The game could have just shown you living the temple with Pandora’s Box and transport you straight to Ares and nothing would have changed. And it’s really confusing to me, like, did Sony set an hour goal they had to meet? It doesn’t even pad the game out that much, just enough to make it hit 9 hours. If anyone has more insight into this, let me know.

The first fight with Ares is actually OK, but then everything falls apart. After you defeat Ares the first time, you get into this horde mode where you have to defend your family from a bunch of basic enemies (legionnaires, I think they’re called?) reskinned as Kratos. The main difficulty here is that at some point a long-ranged attacker appears in the back and it’s really hard to get to him without using magic, which is clunky and opens up both you and your family to attacks. It was pretty frustrating, and again, I don’t feel it adds much to the proceedings except for some more overwrought drama.

The second fight against Ares, though, is where I really lost my patience with this game. I really like the idea: it’s presented like a fighting game match, and rather than giving each of you a set amount of HP, each of you gets a bar that’s filled when you do damage and depletes when you take damage, an idea which reminded me, of all games, of Even the Ocean. It requires you to be consistent rather than just be slightly ahead of the enemy.

The execution, however, is incredibly poor. Ares has a lot of attacks, and a few of them you can’t actually block. This would be fine if they were telegraphed well but, no such luck. One of those attacks actually opens you up to an even more punishing attack, and it looks exactly like the initiation of a sequence that requires you to mash the O button as hard as possible immediately or you lose a chance to do a lot of damage, and take a lot of damage instead, so you’re pretty much forced to mash that button and hope it’s the good kind of orange light rather than the bad. (In general, I found button prompts to be very finicky in the game, and I’m wondering if this is an artifact of the PS3 remake or if it’s how the original worked.)

Eventually, Ares decided to spare and not use any of his good attacks, so I won. And then I was notified that I had conquered God of War. Go me.

I can’t say my opinion of the game changed much since the first couple of hours. God of War (2005) is, all in all, a pretty bad game. Not the worst I’ve played, but frustrating and clunky enough that I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Like I said before, I do see the redeeming qualities, but I don’t find that they offset all the terrible stuff about actually playing it. If it weren’t such a product of its time, I doubt it would have spawned a franchise. But it was, which is kind of why I wasn’t all that interested in modern video games at that time.

It’s also why we still have about 45 more hours of this to cover.

God help us all.


And yeah, I need better god puns for this. Actually, if you have a better idea for a title for this thread, let me know, because I’m feeling kinda meh on the current one.


#29

Still slogging through the second game, and I feel like I need to call out how much worse the camera and platforming are than the first game. There are so many situations where the camera is not focusing on the thing you need, or is zoomed out too far or too close to navigate the environment. The platforming is worse for a very specific reason: you know how in the first game you needed to be in a very specific spot to trigger rope climbs or zip lines? You also know how sometimes there are invisible walls around islands to keep you from falling off (and you never know where they are unless you run into them)? Well: combine those two. There are situations in the game where what looks like a super easy jump is actually not, because invisible walls block you in midair and dump you into whatever instant death soup is below you – and you actually can’t make the jumps unless you find the exact spot the game wants you to make them from. It’s the sort of thing that screams “I was not playtested enough”.


#30

This is probably where we’re going to diverge - so far, II is a marked improvement over the first game for me. I did run into a few ropes with suspect hitboxes, though.


#31

At this point, I have completely lost patience with the entire franchise. I keep thinking that the first 2 games are basically PS1 games wearing the skin of a PS2 game (and uprezzed for a PS3 if you’re playing the remaster). Everything about how rough the mechanics and camera feel harken back to how early PS1 game control and feel.

There’s a design mentality around the puzzles in the 2nd game that I recognize from really bad point-and-click adventure games. It’s that thing where every single room has a puzzle, and the solution is almost always some flavor of bullshit – whether it be because the timings are too short, or the mechanics are terrible, or the camera is hiding the actual solution, or the game isn’t properly communicating what you can or can’t do with the environments. Often it’s a combination of several of those.

The set pieces are still fun to look at, but the longer I play these games, the more I start to forget what the sensation of joy feels like – and the less I care about playing the new game. In fact, I think I would’ve been better served going straight into the new game without touching any of the older games; as it is, I feel like I should just buy Yakuza 6 and call it a day.

EDIT: I’ve thrown in the towel. Actually going to go spoil 2 and 3 for real now, so I’ll never have to play this miserable pile of shit ever again.


#32

After watching abridged videos for 2 and especially 3, all I have to say is … what? What the fuck was that?

Once Pandora’s Box reenters the picture in 3, everything about the plot stops making sense – and the more they try to explain it, the worse it gets. It basically breaks whatever slim thread of logic led to the gods arming Kratos in the first game, as opposed to just killing Ares themselves – what they chose to do ended up being 100 times worse.

(This is still somehow better than what David Jaffe would’ve had them do if he hadn’t quit the studio. Look up his cut ending.)

I will say that I think a lot of the complaints the franchise gets tagged for arise from the 3rd game. Everything gets turned to 11, particularly the violence and the misogyny. Kratos murders his way through an entire pantheon, in the most up close and gratuitously brutal ways possible. That awful environmental puzzle involving a woman happens in 3, as does a rehash of the first game’s sex minigame. There are parts where you’re literally watching Kratos beat the shit out of a god from the POV of the victim … and it’s just, why? Why is any of this?

Also: people wondering what the deal was with Kratos getting over his first family probably haven’t played the back end of 3 – though that arc and the character interactions remind me way too much of Bioshock Infinite.

The end of the 2nd game and beginning of the 3rd (and a secret unlockable from 1) make clear that the franchise was always about daddy issues, it’s just that all the games before the latest portrayed it from the POV of the son. Mind you, I’m not saying it does a good job of it, just saying that the theme didn’t come out of nowhere, and wasn’t necessarily because the devs got old and maybe had kids.

(Also: Kratos should be dead at the end of the 3rd game. Like, dead for real, though I guess he can keep crawling back from the underworld or whatever nonsense. Still haven’t explained how his spirit suddenly got all fleshy again in the 1st game.)


#33

Wait, I was only trying to make you a great warrior!


#34

All the comments here really seem to mesh with what was said on the podcast concerning the creative leads behind each of the games. 2 and 4 had Cory Barlog at the helm and seem to be much much better regarded than 1 and 3.

I’ve only played 3 and couldn’t finish it. Apart from the admittedly very cool setpieces and some of the combat mechanics and puzzles, nothing really clicked for me, but the main reason I quit playing it was just that all the characters are so unlikeable I couldn’t bring myself to care about anything that was going on.


#35

God of War II, Pt. 1

Let’s get one thing out of the way first: God of War II is pointless. Not because it’s a bad game or anything - in fact, as I’ll explain in a bit, my impressions of it are fairly positive - but because, in a classic case of second-in-the-trilogy, its events contribute very little to the overall arc. In case you didn’t know, the basic premise of GoW II is that Zeus tricks Kratos into becoming a mortal, and Kratos is then told by the titan Gaia that - get this - his only choice is to travel back in time to the point where Zeus tricked him and trick him back.

So basically, since most of this game takes place in a time loop, none of the things you do actually matter. The only things that change are that conflict is introduced between Kratos and Zeus, which you could’ve done in less than 12 hours, and a silly twist that, as we’ll discuss down the line, also doesn’t really matter.

And yet, from the few hours I got to play of it so far, I feel like this is a significant improvement over the first game. The game is still, as I put it in my first post, spiritually ugly, and I’m assuming sexism is coming. But the visual and mechanical ugliness are gone, or at least lessened. Not only does the game look much better, but it plays better. What’s this? Blocking that actually works? Dodging that’s not completely pointless? Oh Santa Monica, you spoil me.

Aside from snappier controls, the boss battles so far have just been better. The fight against the Colossus in the tutorial level is a pretty forgettable QTE-fest, but the fight against Theseus, for example, was really cool and actually required thinking about the resources I had and how to use them.

I also like the level design a lot more. The last game was all different degrees of vaguely Greek ruins, but within the first three levels of this game I’ve already seen more variety than in all of the last one. In fact, the level that’s most like the last game is the tutorial, and now I’ve got this conspiracy theory in my head that the entirety of the Rhodes section is this middle finger to the last game, there only to compare its utter mediocrity to this game’s relative high quality.

So, yeah. I told you I wasn’t being a ranty boy! Here’s hoping this positive outlook can be maintained at least for the remainder of this game.


#36

Welp,


#37

Awww yiss! Genuinely excited to hear your impressions!


#38

i cannot fucking imagine doing this to myself


#39

It’s actually pretty legit so far! Better than 1, that’s for sure.


#40

Holy shit this rules!

Thank for unearthing this gem.