So I saw ads for God of War 2, and read various bits online about it, and found myself in posession of a Best Buy giftcard (Birthday! Nice!) So, I figured, might as well pick up GoW 1, which was available on the ‘greatest hits’ PS2 label, so it was only $20 off my card.
It’s extremely violent, and even has naked ladies in it. Well, topless ones. But as I’m playing through it I start to realize – this is one of the best-produced games ever. It has polish. Every time they violate one of the rules, they end up doing something right before or right after to make it okay. There’s a big nasty trap that you only know about by springing it and immediately dying? That’s okay, they checkpoint’ed you just before. You have to walk or do a jumpey-jumpey routine somewhere and fell and died? No prob, checkpoint! And just the level design and character design and the way they made almost everything interesting, even as you’re killing the same damned type of creature for the 50th time.
I won’t spoil too much of the story – but it’s interesting, and we learn more about our Protagonist/anti-hero Kratos as the story progresses. It keeps you interested for sure, and there’s lots of stuff going on. It’s surprisingly puzzley, but I suppose it would have to be or you’d just be pounding away at creatures all day.
Unfortunately, the polish starts to appear thinner and thinner as you get further along in the game. It’s almost as if you can see the ‘seam’ where one QA team finished and another took over. Cameras start getting in the way. You start running into problems where you have to do some long, lame routine of stuff and if you die at the end you haven’t been checkpointed, and have to do it again. Or you find you’re dodging the same two monsters for 15 minutes because you can’t find any health anywhere. As you get to the end, the cameras get hilariously bad – I’m fighting an enemy and all I can see is the back of him, because the camera is behind him and I can’t even see my character at all. Plus, in the third phase of the final battle (I don’t know if it’s the last, yet), the game crashed. I didn’t like how they handle this particular phase very much to start with, but then the game crashed. And there were no savepoints in the middle. I would’ve been happy to hit one and stop for the night 2 hours ago, but there were none to be had. Suddenly you get sprung with a new type of weapon, and it doesn’t work like the other ones did, and besides, you can’t see yourself anyways to see if you’re doing it all right.
So I haven’t yet beaten the game, and I’m assuming it’s just a matter of time before I do. I think I got it…last week? 2 weeks ago? I’m not sure. But, considering that the part where the game crashed is called ‘Final Battle’, I think I can give a somewhat thorough review. I would still, despite the various late-game nasty flaws, say the game is Good. I have enjoyed it and it’s confounded me (in good ways) and pissed me off (in bad ways). And it would only bother me as much as it does if the game is, in the end, good. And it is.