Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Oct 262018

In January, if I question why I never seem to make a dent in my game backlog, remind me that when people recommended I play the new God of War game, I decided I wanted to see the full progression and bought the God of War Saga collection.

Going into the first God of War, I had a vague impression of the original series as “angry Kratos kills everyone.” Now I lean more toward “Kratos’s life is awful and you’d be angry too.”

Our story begins with Kratos despairing, and then the narrator tells us we’re going to learn what brought him to that point. The majority of the game, therefore, shows the events leading up to the beginning.

As Ares attacks Athens, Athena tasks Kratos with killing him. In exchange, she promises that his sins will be forgiven. Kratos is plagued by nightmares and wants Ares dead anyway, so he accepts the seemingly impossible task of killing a god.

The story was more prominent than I expected, with important flashbacks to Kratos’s past in addition to the present-day events (and a few lore/worldbuilding notes here and there, too). I already knew the basics of what happened to him, but I almost wish I’d gone in completely blind so those moments would have had a greater impact.

When it comes to the gameplay, all I really knew going in was that it was an action game with hack-and-slash combat, so the puzzles came as a pleasant surprise. The sheer amount of platforming challenges were also a surprise… though not quite as pleasant. Some of those platforming sections were brutal.

I didn’t particularly like all the quick time events, but back when it came out, I suspect QTEs still felt fresh and epic, so I can’t really fault it there (except for the parts that make you mash R2, which is awful on a PS3 controller).

I enjoyed exploring and searching for treasure chests, and even though the series is known for its combat, I often had more fun with these action-adventure moments than when I was just fighting enemies.

Back to the story, though, what I really liked the most was how it felt like a Greek tragedy. It could have easily borrowed from Greek mythology without capturing the same tone, but many moments made me stop and think about how well it fit in with those stories.

Kratos’s backstory has all the key parts to make him a tragic Greek hero (he even parallels Heracles in several ways). Now he’s obsessed with revenge, filled with rage, and really not a nice person at all.

When I was in college, we read the Iliad in one of my classes and reached a point where Achilles was being particularly brutal. We stopped and discussed the fact that heroes in Greek mythology are not necessarily good people. They’re strong and capable of amazing feats, but they also might be angry and vengeful.

And that’s perfect for Kratos. He’s serving the gods and fighting powerful monsters, overcoming challenges no one else has managed. He’s their hero, even if he might not seem like what we’d call a hero.

Sure, I felt guilty at a couple points (that poor guy in the temple…), but Kratos’s actions fit both his backstory/motivations and the sort of Greek tragedy vibe the entire story had going for it. I enjoyed that a lot, and I’m interested in seeing if the sequels stay true to that feeling.

Have you played the original God of War? What did you think of it?

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  7 Responses to “God of War: Starting With the Original”

  1. Donโ€™t expect the platforming to get much better in the sequel. I had to stop playing most of the way through God of War 2 because I would get way too angry and frustrated. Or maybe my inner Kratos was just starting to show ๐Ÿ˜›

    • Huh, I had someone else tell me that the sequels don’t have the same brutal platforming as the original. Still, surely it can’t be as bad as those horrible beams with all the spikes… (Krato’s scream as he falls to his death has been permanent burned into my memory.)

  2. I didn’t think the first game would have aged at all well thinking back on it, so it’s good you managed to enjoy it in spite of any clunkiness. It has been years since I last played it so I don’t remember it too well, but I did enjoy it. I’m looking forwards to buying God of War 5 sometime when it’s cheap, that one looks amazing. I don’t remember the platforming ever being an issue but it was quite some time since GOW 4.

    • The only thing that really felt clunky to me was the mashing R2, which I assume would have felt much better on a PS2 controller since it would have been a button instead of a trigger. But I don’t think I’m a good judge of how a game has aged. I see people all the time talking about how Tales of Symphonia’s combat didn’t age well, and I thought it was great. XD

      Most people seem to refer to the new one as 4, so if you’re considering that one 5, which one are you counting as 4? Ascension?

  3. Never enjoyed the button mashing stuff or the QTEs either. ๐Ÿ™

    It’s funny you ask me that because when I made that comment I kept trying hard to remember which one 4 was but I could have sworn the one which came out this year was called GOW 5 but after doing a image search it shows the box as not even having a number on it. I just shrugged it off when I could remember and figured they must have gotten blurred together in my mind. xD

  4. […] finishing the original God of War last month, my marathon through the God of War Saga continued with its […]

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