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god of war
games Posted 2005-12-28 12:49:05 by Jim Crawford
I played God of War on a recent trip back to San Diego. The primary game mechanic of God of War is the combat, which I am told is similar to the combat of Devil May Cry and Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, but more complicated and more violent. I haven't played either of those games, so I couldn't tell you if the comparison is apt. I have played Ico and Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, though, and God of War certainly bears a striking resemblance to those. One way to describe it, ignoring the combat, is like Ico but without Yorda. Another way might be like POP:SOT without Farah or the acrobatics.

I liked it a lot. The story and setting, based (loosely, I assume) on Greek Mythology, were pretty good, the puzzles and platforming were ok, and the megaliths were great. Some of the non-megalith scenery was also great, e.g. the titan crawling around with a megalith on his back.

Also, the combat was excellent. It took me a long time to find that out, though, having button-mashed my way through the game on Normal difficulty mode, right up until the final boss. It's not a spoiler to tell you that the final boss is Ares, the Greek God of War, by the way. After I died a few times on his final stage, the game gave me a chance to switch to Easy mode, which I jumped at. On easy, button mashing was quite sufficient.

Beating the game unlocked a lot of things, one of which was another difficulty level called, amusingly enough, God Mode. I started a game on it, just to see how far I would get, and surprise of surprises, button mashing no longer worked! It actually mattered when I got hit, and as a result I needed to develop some technique in order to succeed. Normally this is where I give up and go shopping, as I get stressed out easily by difficult video games, but... there's actually something calming about playing a game that's explicitly difficult, or that has a reputation for being very difficult.

See, I'm good enough at video games that I don't expect to lose at them, so when I do, it's an unpleasant surprise. When I expect to lose at a game, I'm freed of a lot of the stress and can focus on just getting better. And then, when I win, it's a pleasant surprise. c.f. Super Ghouls and Ghosts. It also helped that I'd seen all the content already, so I didn't feel like I lost anything by not finishing the game. Have I discussed this before, about explicit difficulty not bothering me so much? It's not a new thought to me; I may have written about it.

I didn't actually beat God of War on God Mode, but I got a lot further than I expected to before having to return it. And having to actually learn how to work the combat mechanics is how I learned that the combat mechanics were good. Now, the Prince's xxxtreme aggro is the only thing stopping me from playing Warrior Within.
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