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    jp's God of War (PS2)

    [December 7, 2009 10:44:03 PM]
    So, it's over! Yes, even after the horrid, absolutely horrid tower of blades that almost had me flinging the controller away. Although it was a good challenge, some finicky controller issues had me losing, and losing, and then losing some more. In the end, however, I've mastered it!

    I was surprised that after the Hades segment of the game, the next few fights weren't that difficult at all. Essentially I had to fight some enemies from earlier in the game. I guess it was a sort of "reward" that is sometimes missing in many games. You rarely get to enjoy your upgrades and powers because the enemies get harder as you get stronger. For a few minutes though, I was able to really let loose and enjoy the savagery of an unfair fight. The sheer joy of that may have enabled me to waltz through the final fight (against Ares). Maybe?

    Anyways, in the end the story comes all the way back to the beginning, sort of. It all does make some sort of sense, but now I'm all confused about the beginning of the PSP version! I'm pretty sure it ends where the this one begins, but it's getting all mixed up. I guess that's the downside of playing them in the wrong order and so close together.

    Although Kratos' story could hardly be called a tragedy (he's simply to savage for the player to really empathize with him), perhaps the greater tragedy is that of the Architect who built the dungeon/castle/puzzle (Pandora's Temple) where Kratos must find Pandora's box. THAT story (as told by things you find in the temple) was tragic. The architect was not only forced to sacrifice his two sons, but in the end also his wife and his own life in service to the Gods who commanded he build the temple. Well, sort of, even Pathos Verdes III (the architect) begins to doubt in the gods and feels betrayed in the same way that Kratos does towards the end. The entire temple, with each of the challenges, is absolutely brilliant, including the scenes where you can tell that the whole temple rests of the back of a titan who slowly wanders the desert on his hands and knees.

    Funny thing? Just like the PSP version, the game can tell when you're failing to frequently and offers to change the difficulty level. You're informed that it only affects combat. I always happened to get the message after dying repeatedly in non-combat situations. The change in difficulty would have made no difference to me. Odd.

    Another interesting thing I noticed is that the architecture of the places is out of scale. At times Kratos is "normal" sized, but then he might step into a room right next door and I would find that the looked much smaller (compared to the environment). Similarly, when, say, going up a spiral staircase to a 2nd floor, the distance travelled was much longer and extensive than what would be needed in a "regular" space. I'm not sure how it all comes together, but the effect while playing is quite intriguing. Sometimes you feel awed by the sheer scale of the places you're in, while in other you feel incredibly powerful. I wonder how much of that was part of the conscious design... I'll have to watch the extras that I've unlocked to get a better sense.
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    [November 30, 2009 02:44:45 PM]
    I'm getting quite close to the end of the game and it's been a really interesting ride. The sense of awe and wonder I have at times is absolutely incredible.

    I was originally interested in this game because of the general acclaim it had received. I was a bit skeptical, to be honest, because I hadn't been entranced by similar games (Devil May Cry comes to mind). However, I was also interested in examining the sex mini-games and the graphic violence in the game. So far, I've been surprised to see/play a few more "things" than I knew were in the game. For instance, there are quite a few topless women depicted in the game and Kratos REALLY is a savage character. Kratos is such a badass, for lack of a better word, that most of the games "questionably moments" are actually in service of supporting this notion of a character so seems so irredeemably brutal and rabid as he pursues his quest for revenge that there isn't really much room for ethical reflection... yes, Kratos is really bad and that seems to be all there is to it.

    For example, early in the game Kratos is given the choice (via cut-scene) to rescue the captain of a ship from whom he obtains a key. He coldly chooses to doom the captain for no particular reason. Well, maybe there is a reason, since the key unlocks the door to a room where captive women are held and with whom Kratos can (optionally) engage with amorously. Ok, Kratos let someone die when he could have done otherwise. Big deal, we saw it in a cut-scene. Later on, however, things got more interesting.

    In the area/challenge called "The Challenge of Poseidon" you reach a large hall with a large number of cages dangling from the ceiling. Inside the cages are Athenian soldiers. There is a lever on the side that allows you to drop one of the cages to the ground. Unfortunately there is no way to open the cages and free the soldiers. The only way out of the hall (other than the way you came in) is a large door at the end of a long ramp. In front of the ramp is a button. Behind the button is a lever and there is also a note pinned to a wall right above a dead Athenian officer. The note says something to the effect of "The gods ask for too much this time".

    In order to open the door you have to kick the cage with the soldier in it and push it all the way up the ramp to where the button is. Along the way you have to fight lots of monsters and listen to the soldier beg for mercy. I pretty much knew what I had to do by this point, and clearly the soldier knew what I intended.

    To solve this puzzle you need to effectively sacrifice a live (virtual) human being to the gods. Once you place the cage on the button some of the stonework next to the door swivels out so that it now faces the cage (on the left and right sides). Once you pull the level, nozzles in the stonework spew forth fire and the poor Athenian soldier is roasted alive. He also screams.

    Wow. Now that I write about it, it seems much more tense and dramatic than it was while I played it. I think I know why.

    As I write this, I'm mostly using the first person. So, it's all about "I". I did this, I did that. However, when I played this part of the game I felt no remorse or doubt because I know that Kratos won't bat an eyelid at the idea of roasting a fellow soldier if it will help him get closer to his goal. Kratos is such a badass, that the RIGHT thing to do in this case was to roast the soldier without a second thought. The quicker it's done, the better. No doubts. Kratos is THAT mean.

    So, a potentially powerful ethical moment in a game was defused in some sense due to the great work in establishing the game's protagonist as a brutal and vengeful warrior. I wonder what people would have said if this scene occurred earlier in the game...with players only later being introduced to Kratos' badassery.
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    [November 17, 2009 08:22:51 PM]
    Having finished God of War on the PSP rather recently, I can't help but think about it in the context of the game I'm currently playing. You might say that I've gone about playing these games in the wrong order. After all, the PSP version is actually the newest God of War game currently on the market. However, it is on a different platform so I wasn't sure how much of the God of War experience, as it where, made over to the PSP and in what ways. I guess I would have to say that the experience on the PSP is pretty much the core PS2 experience and in fact has the benefit of multiple improvements to the core gameplay design.
    I guess THAT is what has surprised me the most so far. The PSP has a smaller screen and so on, but it still manages to be as epic and bombastic as the PS2 version I'm currently playing!

    As far as the story goes, I get the impression that the events in Chains of Olympus actually pre-date those in God of War so from that perspective I guess I've actually played it in the right order! I'm kind of confused about that however...and the fact that the game's narrative is described in racconto doesn't help either.
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    jp's God of War (PS2)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 14 November, 2009

    GameLog closed on: Monday 7 December, 2009

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    Well worth it. I'm not into combos and brawlers, but this game is exceptionally well done with great attention to detail. Quite gory as well...

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

    Related Links

    See jp's page

    See info on God of War

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