Five Things: God of War

I know what you’re thinking right now, and it is this: ZOMG HOW HAVE YOU NOT PLAYED GOD OF WAR UNTIL NOW KRATOS IS MADE OF EPIC WIN AND ALSO THERE ARE BOOBS!!  ….well, you may not be thinking precisely that, but I bet it’s relatively close.  And I admit, the fact that the first two God of War games have somehow slipped through my hacking and slashing clutches for so long was a secret shame of mine.  The release of the third game this year gave me the perfect excuse to step back in time a bit to try and catch up on the series, and the fact that the first two installments are now available on one shiny PS3 disc just made it all the easier.  I wouldn’t want to miss any of the subtle story nuances by skipping straight to the third game, would I?  Of course not.

1. Are You Paying Attention?- I admit up front that I am pulling the following statement out of my ass, so if you would like to dispute it and/or present differing examples, please do: God of War is one of the first games that really latched onto the idea of quick time events (the bane of many a gamer, myself frequently included) as a major gameplay feature.  It’s an interesting choice, because you can get away with a largely button-mashing approach through a lot of the combat portion of the game if you are so inclined, but the QTEs ensure that you have to at least have some connection to the fight.  Yes, it’s frequently annoying, and yes, I’m quite sure it’s resulted in many, many, MANY broken controllers over the years, but I’m just putting it out there: quick time events serve a purpose.  Even if you don’t think they serve a mechanical purpose in the fighting, you have to admit that they do allow for some pretty badass cutscenes and death animations (for the bosses, that is…. for repeated larger enemies they admittedly get a bit annoying).

2. Shinier and Shiner Swords- This isn’t a complaint that’s unique to God of War, but to me it does seem pretty pronounced here; while you do get some pretty sweet weapons throughout the course of the game, and they are definitely fun for the first ten minutes or so after they show up, the weapons you have at the start are the ones I used pretty much consistently throughout the whole thing.  Sure, there are times when different ones are either necessary or just more efficient, but once you’ve spent so much time on one set of sharp pointy things, there’s really just not much of a reason to switch them out unless you have to.  So, while the upgrade system was neat and all, I (like many others, I’m sure) basically just ended up dumping all of my orbs into the Blades of Chaos until they were as good as they could get, and then remembering that I also had other weapons.  I mean, they’re blades permanently chained to his arms.  Should there even BE other weapons?  I think it’s debatable.

3. I Get It, You Loved Your Wife- I joked about it in the introduction, but in all seriousness, Kratos actually is a pretty interesting character, and behind all the blood and boobs, there is a cool story to the series.  I’ve got to say, though… the sequence at the end where you have to hug your wife while you’re being attacked by a billion clones of yourself?  I could have done without that.  And when I say I could have done without that, what I really mean is ARGHRGHADHGAHGUIKRR

4. Look At The Size Of That Thing- One of the things that really sticks out for me about God of War is the sense of scale you feel when fighting bosses.  I wish I’d played the game when it first came out, because I bet it was even more impressive and striking when it wasn’t quite as commonplace as it’s become with more recent games, but even now, it’s pretty damn awesome to walk into a fight with something many, many, MANY times your size and walk out with one of its bleeding appendages as a trophy.  The scale is a huge part of what makes you feel like a badass in God of War, and feeling like a badass is what the game is all about.  Well, that and boobs.  Speaking of which…

5. That’s What She Said– It would be easy to have a knee-jerk reaction to the female characters in God of War, and I’m sure that many people have.  I’m sure many have also had a something-else-jerk reaction to them, as well.  (*rimshot*  Thank you, I’ll be here all week.)  While the nudity is admittedly pretty gratuitous, though, there’s actually more to the female cast of GoW, such as they are, than T&A.  The Oracle of Athens is the one who tells Kratos how to defeat Ares, Athena literally has the power to make him into a god, and the girls he bangs at the beginning of the game…. well okay, they are just T&A.  I played that minigame real good, too.  Even Kratos’s wife, much as I may resent her for making me hug her, and even though she doesn’t have a very direct role during the actual events of the game, is incredibly important, because it’s her death (at his hands) that sets off his slicey-bleedy rampage, so without her, there wouldn’t even be a God of War.  It’s really interesting (well, to me at least, and this is my goddam column) to ponder how the effect of the ladies here might have been different if they weren’t so hyper-sexualized.  I’m not saying it would have been better or worse, necessarily, but I definitely think it would have changed things up.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a JRPG, hasn’t it?  I’ll rectify that next time with Lunar: Silver Star Harmony.

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  • That was a good read.

    I have been a God of War fan from the start but about a year ago I got my (now) wife into the series and she went from casual gamer to blood thirsty hardcore nerd. There is something primal about the game that seems to transcend gender and just speaks to the being inside us all that just wants to rip the faces off of everything we see.

    I will be the nerd that you knew would correct you, though… hehe. I would say Dragon Lair is probably the first QTE game ever, and Shenmue is probably the first in the modern era. But there is no disputing that they are as popular as they are now because of GOW. It’s kinda like how there was leveling in shooters before COD4, but it is COD4 that everyone is copying now.

  • great article! it’s good to see stuff like that instead of useless lists or flame wars stuff. you really got the spirit of the game and you got a lot of interesting considerations there. congratz!

  • Correction, Shenmue was the second to use QTE and the first to completely utilised that feature. GoW just followed what Shenmue did.

    But I love the QTE in GoW3 because it was done better, not only do you see the buttons on screen but you see it accordingly to the alignment the button is supposed to be on the controller. Meaning you wouldn’t get distracted with the scripted event in order to press the right button.

    Hugging your family at the end of GoW1 was the best part out of the whole game! It was just so sick, with the music playing and 50 Kratos trying to kill you:)

    Everthing about GoW3 I love so much!

  • Julian Montoya (DarthJuLiOh)


    jk, Interesting read. I really enjoyed this article, very well written and great rhythm.