(This has been brewing for a good few days, apologies if it comes off as a bit of rant)
The new God of War is really rubbing me the wrong way for a whole bunch of reasons, but last night I hit upon the bit where Kratos makes a big deal out of “having to face his past and grab this specific item”. It made me laugh because Kratos buddy it’s fine we’ve specced into unarmed / shield combat. We don’t need the axe to beat these guys, we’re good. I mean it turns out I needed this item to destroy bushes, but that was about it?
It’s this big emotional story beat that just sucks, because it’s completely out of synch and under cut by the gameplay itself.
Now I get why that is there. It’s meant to be this awesome, cool oh-shit callback, but why can’t the game then just be honest about that? So much about God of War’s story is this po-faced and serious narrative, while so much of God of Wars gameplay is how cool Kratos looks while murdering shit, how good it feels and how exciting it is to upgrade your murder tools.
This made me think of stuff like Trevor from GTA 5 and all of Wolfenstein New Colossus, the former I liked the second I loved. Reason being, I think those games had it’s characters in sync with what the player was doing while playing the game. Character motivation and player motivation felt kinda perfectly aligned? If the game is an absolute murder fest, where I am meant to feel psyched about killing all this stuff, I need the character I am playing to reflect that? I mean, imagine going through Wolfenstein with BJ complaining about how unnecessary all the violence is and how he’s tired of killing…
A good subversive, less pulpy example would be Shadow of the Colossus.
To end on a more positive note, what are some great examples of character motivation and player motivation being aligned?