Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Why Do People Like God of War So Much Again?

A while ago I posted my thoughts on a replay I did of God of War and I followed it up by starting to play God of War 2 and while I am having a certain amount of fun I can't help but be a little confused as to just how these games became so huge.

Now don't get me wrong, these aren't bad games by any stretch and the production quality on pretty much all the titles in the series are top notch but the review scores for these games are always really REALLY high and I don't quite understand.  For example God of War 1 on Gamespot got a review score of 9.3 and God of War 2 got 9.7(!) on IGN!  That's a damn near perfect score and maybe it's just because I've become cynical in my old age but I just don't understand.

These games do have some good things going for them such as great cinematic quality and an insane level of violence which is rather satisfying to watch after battling your way through a horde of enemies.  There's also a decent variation in enemy types and the soundtracks are quite nice feeling appropriately epic for the tasks at hand and the main theme will pretty much stick with your forever after playing.

That said though, in the game play department these games are samey and a little dull.  Combat consists of nothing more than mashing square on an enemy until the prompt appears above their head and then doing a little QTE sequence to finish them off.  The game tries to give you lots of tools to try and deal with all the enemies such as magic spells and alternate weapons but there is very little reason to use any of them because mashing square is easily the best thing you have.  If mashing square doesn't seem to be working quite as well as usual against a certain enemy then click in both your control sticks to activate Rage of the Gods which is basically a win button.  Rage makes you strong, removes hitstun and makes your standard combo so insane and screen filling that even bosses don't stand a chance against you.

Aside from the combat the puzzles are insultingly easy at best and frustratingly obtuse at worst.  There have been instances during my God of War 2 playthrough where I'll be stuck in a room for a few minutes not knowing what to do because the key to a puzzle is some kind of pullable block but the block just looks like a background prop so I end up stumbling on it by accident and I never would have known if it wasn't for the big stupid R1 prompt in the corner.  The worst case of "puzzle" solving though is when the game wants you to find keys.  Usually there's a locked door and another path, go down the other path, kill dudes, get key and then loop back on yourself so that you can go through the door.  If this happened just once or twice but this is almost every single locked door in God Of War 2.

Like I said I don't hate these games at all but they get near perfect scores, glowing reviews and hordes of raving fans.  If I worked for one of these websites I would have given it like a 6/10 for being a competently made action game with some annoying aspects and an over reliance on QTE for cool shit to happen.  Devil May Cry let's you look cool as hell without using QTE at all but God of War struggles to pull of anything visually impressive in the combat without going into canned animation mode.

Still, despite my complaints I'm gonna finish off 2 and probably go play the third one again too, good bit of mindless fun after a stressful day.

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