Slow Day, Tennis, and God of War 3

So I had a very slow day. I woke up naturally with the sun rising up. And by naturally, I don’t mean it is natural for me to wake up with the sun, but that I woke up without any external stimuli. I thought fuck that I’m not getting out of bed this early, it’s Sunday for fuck’s sake. I actually said those words… out loud… to the universe… from my bed. Then I stayed in bed in a half sleep state until about 10:30 when the pain in my bladder forced me to get out of bed. I had a slow lazy morning and then went to tennis.

It was the first time I’ve been in three weeks. Actually I missed three sessions, so it was the first time in four weeks. I was a little rusty at first but by the end I was getting all my serves in and was having a lot of fun playing. I am looking forward to playing more tennis. I hope my health doesn’t get in the way, as it’s been for the past month. It was fun to move around and do something that requires physical energy expenditure. After tennis I went back home to see that while I enjoyed playing tennis my intestines didn’t. So I ended up staying home even though I had plans to see friends. I stayed home and did what I had to do, I played God of War 3. And I am ashamed to say, not really I’m very proud of it, I finished my first playthrough.

What follows is what I hope to be a spoiler free review of the game. I know some of the readers of this blog don’t know the story and haven’t played the first two (I’m talking about the ones who care not the ones who don’t. You know who you are!). So in an effort to not spoil their soon to come enjoyment of the series I will try not to spoil anything.

The first God of War came to the PS2 a few years ago (it’s this kind of accurate and thorough reporting that will no doubt get me a job as a newspaper editor). It took the world of gaming by storm. It is an action RPG that delivers on every level. It was epic and grandiose. The sets, the music, the story, everything set the game to be a classic. It was one of the first games, at least the first I’ve seen, to incorporate quick time events in the gameplay. In fact, almost everything was done by the player. Opening doors involved pressing buttons and doing things, rather than just pressing a button and watching the character do everything. It was very effective in immersing you in the game.

The gameplay in general was great. The combat was ruthless and, while it was possible to go a long way with button mashing, one had to master the combos and think about what button to press in order to win the game. The battles are huge and epic. The character Kratos is a great character. All in all, it was one of the best games ever made.

The thing is though, it was supposed to be the only god of war game. But sony felt they could make tons more money and so made a second one. Now the second one is a fantastic game as well. But it lacks the genius of the first one. It felt a little bit laboured, especially with the story. While the first one comes to a natural and fitting end, the second one, while having a great story, does seem to try too hard. But anyway, this is only a minor complaint. The second one was in many ways even more pretty than the first one. Also, it involved very minor changes to the gameplay, which was a good surprise. Sequels in games sometimes are ruined by designers breaking a system that works very well by introducing new gameplay mechanics.

Anyway, the third one starts where the second one ends. Literally, it begins at the moment the second one ends. And it is epic from the first second. Everything is beautiful, grand, and just eye popping smack you round the face pretty. Also, like all God of War games, it starts with an epic battle. That’s a trademark of the series. But this one, unlike the previous two, has so many of these epic battles in that it is dizzying at points. Clearly the fact that this game is on the PS3 shows. It has used the machine’s, if not full then damn near-full potential. I mean the other two games, being on the PS2, could not support so much stuff happening.

The bosses are wonderful and the puzzles are just, for lack of a better word, epic. I have to say some of the puzzles were proper crazy. They involve brain power, and crazy platforming, and some quick thinking. The final battle is everything you want it to be. The game ends in an expected way, though still satisfying. There is however, one loose end that I don’t understand properly. I hate to admit it, but I think they left it in in order to give themselves the possibility of making another one. The last scene of the game seems to indicate as much. I mean I’d be very happy to play another God of War, but I’m sick of this trend in games. Why can’t a game just end? Why do we always have to have an open ended ending.

Anyway, apart from that minor complaint, the game was fantastic. I highly recommend it. Although it is incredibly gory. The God of War series has always been gory, but this one takes it to new levels. Some of the finishing moves of the bosses are very hard to watch. In the end this game is my second favourite of the series. The first one still reigns supreme. Not for its graphics or anything like that, but because it was so original and its story was so well told.

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