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I've Never Played God of War

The things I've missed.

I’ve never played God of War. It’s one of PlayStation’s most iconic brands, featuring one of its most recognisable and potentially interesting protagonists and it has spawned multiple sequels across numerous platforms. It leaves a gaping hole in my gaming history.

I have dabbled with the series at various times. I vaguely remember trying God of War II on the PS2 many years ago. I played bits and pieces of one or both of the PSP games (I can’t recall), Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta, on the PSP but no more than an hour or two. I played the first few levels of God of War III shortly after it came out and quickly lost interest. I bought the first HD collection in the US before it was released in the UK and never took it out of its cellophane before giving it away.

That's just a nice relaxing face massage, right?
I’m sure everyone has these holes in their gaming history that leave others aghast at how you could pass up such a classic. Sometimes a game or an entire genre just doesn’t appeal. I have several gaps in my own CV of gaming but perhaps we’ll talk about those later. For now, let’s focus on Kratos’ adventures and why I may be a fool for missing it.

I just don’t connect with games of this type, which is fine – there are plenty of other great experiences for me to enjoy and God of War has enough fans that it won’t miss me.

I didn’t enjoy the Devil May Cry games, Dynasty Warrior games or even more modern touchstones of the hack-and-slash action genre like Dante’s Inferno or Bayonetta. Even though I’d generally be inclined to anything that uses historical periods or ancient mythologies as a basis, I couldn’t get over my general lack of enjoyment for this genre. But that’s not what I want to dwell on, it’s clear that I’m the odd one out here – the God of War games have all been very good.

So I would rather focus on what I might have missed. What does God of War have that nothing else does quite so well? Why has this series cemented itself so firmly in the hearts of PlayStation fans around the world?

One of the most obvious things, and something that I can enjoy without even picking up a DualShock, is the graphical accomplishment of each of the games. God of War was beautiful, God of War II surpassed it and the two PSP instalments were home to some of the most attractive visuals that the handheld console saw. God of War III is a couple of years old now and still wouldn’t look out of place on a list of most graphically impressive games. Partially I think that’s about the lighting, modelling and textures but I also think there’s a sense of scale in each of the God of War games that is unrivalled anywhere else.

The narrative of the series is also something I can enjoy, albeit in a diluted state. In this age of discussion boards and copious internet post mortems (not to mention excellent comedic abridgement), I can enjoy the general twists and turns of the series’ plot without playing the games.

Kratos' brooding presence does seem very interesting.
So what else is there, aside from the gameplay which I’m purposefully avoiding? What about character attachment? Reading about the developing plot is fine for knowing what happens but I miss out on forming any attachment with the characters that can be built by things like visual cues (settings, facial expressions, etc.) or dialogue delivery.

That’s something that I generally really enjoy about games – the emotional response they can incite. Does God of War do that especially well? Does it have moments of crushing, painful despair and instances of sheer elation?

Is there a thread of humour weaving through the series that any cold plot summaries I could catch up with are missing?

In spite of knowing that I simply don’t enjoy the gameplay mechanics on offer from God of War, I do still feel that I’m missing something. Perhaps it’s only the cultural connection with so many of my fellow videogame enthusiasts that I miss? I don’t have that shared experience, which is so widespread, so my associations and references will forever be slightly out of kilter in this area.

What am I missing?

  1. SpikeyMikey23
    Since: Jul 2009

    Zombie Games. ZERO interest. Not played Resident Evil (any of them) or the myriad of clones that came with them.

    I don’t bother with COD Zombies either.

    I do however, like zombie films. Work that one out eh! Perhaps I should change Zombie Games to Survival Horrors.

    I also plan on playing the Walking Dead so I’m about to break my Wall of resistance very soon.

    The End

    Comment posted on 04/12/2012 at 17:06.
    • SpikeyMikey23
      Since: Jul 2009

      True story bra!

      Comment posted on 04/12/2012 at 17:06.
    • bunimomike
      Since: Jul 2009

      Walking Dead is obviously a zombie game but is all about the human characters to be honest. It won’t feel like anything else anyway (zombie related).

      Comment posted on 04/12/2012 at 19:52.
  2. A2J7C
    Since: Dec 2010

    It happened to me too, but then i bought the GoW Collection and i was amazed with the GoW 2 game. Then i bought GoW 3 and the Collection 2 and they’re just sitting there… Not motivated at all to play them.
    Best “wake up” i’ve had, was with Borderlands. Bought it once, didn’t liked the game. And then i saw the GOTY edition being sold for 15£, and decided to give it another try. I just love the game! The beggining is a little boring, but after that, it’s just excelent. Now i bought Borderlands 2 in day 1 and i’m playing it slow and enjoying every damn moment of the game :)

    Comment posted on 04/12/2012 at 17:11.
    • Peter Chapman
      Team TSA: Editor
      Since: Forever

      funnily enough, I did exactly that with the very first Gran Turismo game. I bought it (or rented it, I can’t remember) but took it back for a refund after about half an hour with the license tests because I thought it was the worst racer I’d ever played. Then, for some unremembered reason, I played it again months later and fell in love!

      Comment posted on 04/12/2012 at 17:18.
      • Forrest_01
        Since: Jun 2009

        I don’t know if they are different now, but the licences in the very first GT put me off of it for life. I was really enthusiastic about the game too… Until i played it.

        If i buy a racing game, you better make damn sure i can actually ‘race’ from the off!

        Comment posted on 04/12/2012 at 17:31.
  3. cc_star
    Team TSA: Writer
    Since: Forever

    Fun, satisfying combat – Hit a button, something instantly happens on screen. There’s no treacle to fight through like most games since the end of the 16-bit era. It just feels indescribably right with a perfect sense of weight.

    There’s a ridiculous sense of scale, things that happen are jaw-droppingly huge.

    Graphics are always best in class. GoWIII still probably has the best graphics on a console, although there is its inbuilt advantage of its fixed camera which allows artists to embelish what you can see whilst not needing to render the rear side of an object for example.

    It’s key thing for me is how the game feels & plays rather than its story, to be honest I think Kratos’ story is finished and GoW:A is a huge mistake with Sony Santa Monica better off moving on to a new mythology whether that’s Egyptian, Norse or whatever, but Kratos’ journey has ended and has back story has already been told.

    Comment posted on 04/12/2012 at 18:03.
    • Kennykazey
      Since: Mar 2010

      But would it still feel like God of War with a different mythology? To me, the Greek setting is the best part.

      Comment posted on 04/12/2012 at 19:37.
    • bunimomike
      Since: Jul 2009

      Couldn’t disagree more about the satisfaction although I know I’ve mentioned this before. He’s some sort of God killer yet the basic grunts can often take so, sooooo many stabs at the buttons which turns the game into an absolute mash-fest of button slapping. Also, the QTEs frustrate as you’re so busy waiting to react promptly you often didn’t know what you did in the first place! Sure, you were on the back of creature X and ripped out body part Y but you couldn’t actually sit there and enjoy it. That’s how GoW 2 felt. “Meh” to you, I say. ;-)

      Comment posted on 04/12/2012 at 19:55.
  4. Kennykazey
    Since: Mar 2010

    I’ve never played Gears of War…

    Comment posted on 04/12/2012 at 19:35.
  5. DoucheVader
    Since: Oct 2008

    The BIGGEST problem with playing an EPIC EPOCH like God of War so late in the game is it will be hard to enjoy it after years of your friends hyping the game.

    I have experienced the reverse situation many times, where people will shit on a game for months and I play it only to find it’s not THAT bad. :)

    I say you should play the whole series starting with God of War I. Give yourself a good 2-4 hour chunk to play it and just sit back and do your best to forget everything you know about the game. :)

    Comment posted on 04/12/2012 at 21:16.
  6. Blayney
    Since: Sep 2009

    I have the same gap.

    They passed me by entirely until God of War 3. I have a mate in work who was raving about it. To be fair he raves about a lot of games, and films…, but he really insisted it was amazing. So I borrowed it off him.

    I got to the first boss fight. Got bored with the QTE and decided that I had missed a grand total of fuck all with the GoW series.

    Comment posted on 04/12/2012 at 21:27.
  7. Broonba
    Since: Mar 2009

    I’ve never played a GoW game but plan on picking one of them up soon….which one’s are out on PS3?? (I could probably google for the answer but can’t be arsed)

    Comment posted on 04/12/2012 at 21:31.
    • Kennykazey
      Since: Mar 2010

      All of them. There’s one hd collection for the ps2 games, one for the psp games and the third one which is a ps3 game.

      Comment posted on 04/12/2012 at 21:37.
  8. Broonba
    Since: Mar 2009

    Cheers matey ;)

    Sorry to go off topic but here’s the list of Decembers Plus Content….

    PlayStation Plus December content:
    5th December: Batman: Arkham City (PS3)
    5th December: LIMBO (PS3)
    5th December: Vanquish (PS3)
    12th December: Big Sky Infinity (PS Vita and PS3)
    19th December: Mortal Kombat (PS Vita) – not available in AU
    21st December: Knytt Underground (PS Vita and PS3)
    Additional offers and savings TBC
    Titles removed from IGC:
    5th December: Crysis 2 (PS3)
    5th December: Scott Pilgrim vs The World (PS3)
    5th December: Double Dragon Neon (PS3)
    19th December: Chronovolt (PS Vita)
    21st December: Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack (PS Vita)

    Comment posted on 04/12/2012 at 21:41.
  9. aerobes
    Since: Aug 2009

    I’ve played it. Unfortunately.

    Comment posted on 04/12/2012 at 23:54.
  10. The Von Braun
    Since: Oct 2012

    Loved the 1st on PS2, bought the HD collection Vol.1 on PS3,as never played the 2nd game (EPIC) and had’nt completed the 1st (still have’nt, that damn rotating spikes tower of death section near end….).

    Played and completes Chains Of Olm.on PSP, got Ghost Of Sparta sat here waiting to be tried and completed GOW3 on PS3, but feel series done now, needs a change of direction.

    Something like Norse God Of War or Celtic or Eygptian..or……

    Comment posted on 09/12/2012 at 16:09.

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