The Wizeguy: Art Of War

I always expect greatness when a new ‘God Of War’ game drops. However, this new iteration feels like a chance for the franchise to try something new. Based on what I’ve seen in preview videos, Kratos is still an incredibly dangerous, violent individual—he’s just mellowed out some, and his priorities are different (meaning they exist at all) this time around. I think that’s going to be refreshing, and if it’s pulled off correctly, it’ll constitute the kind of significant character development we just don’t see often enough in franchise-level releases.

Let me break it down for you. God of War II is arguably a better game than the first one; it features solid iterative improvements to all of the systems available in the first game, and it adds some fun new twists to existing gameplay models. By the time they got around to III, the formula had just started to feel like, “Holy sh*t, how long can this guy stay in an absolute murderous rage? Does the fury never relent?” And, sure, the rage is Kratos’ tragic flaw, which aligns with the design philosophy of Greek tragedy—but there’s only so many times an author can return to that well before the whole thing starts to feel dry, y’know? They changed the whole thing because the original formula was stale. If you weren’t sick to death of the spectacle on spectacle, fixed camera angle, feeble stories and Blades of Chaos by Ascension, then your a special breed of person who mustn’t fall prey to monotony.

Let’s take a second to remember the brilliance of the PSP games.

I cut my teeth on Chains Of Olympus. That was the one that got me into ‘God Of War’. After I beat it, I went back and played the others. The action, the graphics and the story all hold up brilliantly. The controls are compensated very beneficially which makes the combat easy to pick up and play and the amount of depth you get is enormous. Some may say it’s too short or it lacks the craft of its PS2 counterparts but those are absurd remarks. Ready at Dawn crafted a masterpiece. While Chains holds a special place in my heart…

I think Ghost of Sparta might be the best game in the entire series.

-It’s got all the big set piece moments (all the more impressive given the hardware).

-Some of the most mechanically diverse gameplay—you had to swap weapons on the fly with the shoulder button to take on different enemies, and you could even do it mid-combo.

-The most interesting story—not a high bar to clear, but still, it’s more than just Kratos being angry. There’s some neat stuff about his brother and the choices they both made.

I might have some nostalgia goggles on because it was so impressive to play on PSP, but it’s definitely a series highlight to me. 

And as far as rebooting/reimaging classic IP’s for the next gen of gamers. Sony hasn’t tried to do anything fancy at all, just make regular console games like you always have, they say to their developers. Their teams have, since probably two years into the PS4’s lifecycle, been firing on all cylinders just doing what they’ve been doing for years, on a platform they were able to learn pretty quickly. Which isn’t a critical remark…there’s something to be said about focusing on that low risk, high quality games (look how great the results have been).

I am very excited for this game – probably the most excited that I have been for a AAA game in a couple years. I have it pre-ordered, and know exactly how i will be spending my nights this coming weekend. Good bye social life. Let the Spartan rage flow through me.


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