[Games That Nobody Plays Anymore is a weekly series written by Nathan Hardisty with a little title card help from Juan Houter. It’s an on-going series about the forgotten games of yesteryear, and doesn’t totally reflect the title. Remember; nobody stops playing these games; it’s just a title. Don’t make something of it or I will come down to your house and ask you politely to stop. If you have any suggestions for future titles to ‘GTNPA’ don’t forget to leave me a comment!]
Some people say that when a series has gone past its sell by date, or its gone into the sense of stagnation, it deserves to die. God of War never fell into this ditch, but it held on by its very fingernails. God of War I is easily the best in the series; it has fantastic pacing and a definite sense of progression. God of War II expands upon the gameplay and introduces some well needed buzz, but its story is very lacking and the pacing is horrible. So what does little old God of War III do to cap off the franchise? I’ve already talked about how it failed to encapsulate a Greek tragedy, but from a gamey gameplay perspective, did it fail?
Let me outright say it, since this will be the last time, Kratos is one of the most well characterised in gaming history. Master Chief is an empowered son of a B, Kratos is a bastard. You might not find power in the word, but he represents everything about it. Heartless, evil; he will crush your noses and won’t even look into your eyes. He is not a cold-blooded killer, he is a completely different breed. The idea of player versus player character is perhaps something which was expanded upon in God of War I as we did see Kratos fall from being a godlike Warrior and into the ditch of guilt. It’s a powerful lesson that the bigger they are, the harder they BOOM.
God of War III could be described as the biggest bastardization of a bastard. Bastard. Kratos rips out hearts, throws skeletons at unicorn-men and does an assortment of things to a titan. There is no redeeming value, which obviously distances Kratos from the player and there is nothing to see here. We just relish in the madness and come out calm, not changed, which God of War I managed to pull off. This is why III is the worst in the trilogy, it goes nowhere and accomplishes nothing. Using the power of next-gen tech it decides against incorporating the much talked about ‘redemption’ of Kratos into the mechanics and instead just bastardizes him even more.
I… like God of War III. I like how the scale climbs and climbs and the pacing finally settles into something more comfortable. Yes, I’m not learning anything by literally tearing a Greek god’s head off and using it throughout the game, but I’m a hell of a time doing it. Funny how during one cut-scene, a child is telling me about hope and “It’s what keeps us strong; it’s why we are here!” All the while I’m holding the head of Helios in my hands in all its gory glory. There’s a giant juxtapose between what’s been said and what they want me to do throughout the game, a perfect example of a lesson lost.
It’s fun, shallow fun, but there’s just no real substance or character. There’s the staple cut-scenes, not necessarily bad but they just don’t identify with the player in an interactive fashion. God of War has always been about cinematic gameplay but maybe this goes too far. Pressing circle to rip a titan’s fingernail off isn’t exactly immersive, it’s just lazy design. Infamous deals with it quite cleverly in that you have to get the analogue sticks to a point on the screen, it’s obviously not ‘fighting back’ the strength of the dude/dudette you’re trying to butcher but it comes closer than ‘press one button’ ever will.
I did Infamous a long time ago however, and now it’s time to say far thee well to the God of War series. They are great games, the first one is absolutely worth playing but I cannot justify the second two. They’re not exceptional titles, they’re still great, but the potential here was wasted. Maybe some other time we’ll see Kratos rise from t- WHY AREN’T YOU DOING CHAINS OF OLYMPUS NATHAN? WHY IS THE GREAT NATHAN HARDISTY NOT BOTHERING WITH A HANDHELD TITLE?! I don’t have a PSP, sorry, maybe someone else can do it someday.
Tomorrow: Halo Reach Quadruple Whammy Part Two – Halo 3 and ODST
Next week: The end of Games That Nobody Plays Anymore.