Thursday, April 07, 2005

God of War: End of the Honeymoon

Now that I've gotten all the requisite cliches out of the way...
  • ferocious
  • brutal
  • ultra-violence
  • palpable rage
  • savage disregard for life
  • joyfully brutal
  • gleeful decapitations
  • unrelenting gore
  • extremely cathartic
  • and so on
...and gotten a few more hours under my belt, I can say I'm finally through that starry-eyed honeymoon phase with God of War. Don't get me wrong, I still love it and will play it through to the end, but after the umpteenth harpy de-winging, the combat has lost some of its initial "OMFG" factor. I'm no longer impressed when Kratos tears some hapless undead minion in half or shoves flaming blades down a minotaur's throat. The combat's starting to get harder as well. Now, rather than reveling in the chaos of it all, I'm spending more time concentrating on utilizing all of Kratos's powers to get through a fight.

This actually makes me happy. It's indicative of solid gameplay underneath all the bloody trappings. And the really cool thing is that other quality aspects of the game are starting to show through. Many of the puzzles actually continue the violence of combat in sometimes disturbing ways (think human sacrifice). They aren't a breather from the brutality. The story remains intriguing; I still want to learn more about Kratos. The little flashbacks sprinkled throughout the game give just enough information to tantalize my curiosity. The camera still troubles me occasionally, but it also affords some amazing views. In more than one instance, the camera makes the counter-intuitive move of pulling backwards as Kratos moves forwards, emphasizing the vastness of the spaces. All of these things contribute to my sense that God of War is an extremely complete experience. It has clearly been designed well from many perspectives.

So, in short, God of War is still good.


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