I’ve been an opposing force to the God of War crowd for a while now, and it’s always an interesting topic of discussion. Bill Harris of Dubious Quality (which, on a sidenote, is one of the most frequently updated blogs I’ve seen) bought the game only a few weeks ago, and have heralded a few interesting annotations on it since then. He says a lot of what I would have if I’d bothered to and were equally articulate. In short: story and visuals are stunning, gameplay repetitive/mediocre. To put it in a bit of Haarball-perspective, here’s what I said on a blog entry on the Escapist Lounge:
As for God of War, that game was completely let down by its lack of originality and inspiration and overwhelming cosmetic and audiovisual focus. Hacking, slashing, hacking and slashing and more hacking and slashing (which is my way of saying that the game is a tedious hack’n’slash with an exasperating range of moves/skills and that its creators must have the imagination of a severed thumb) DOES NOT become more entertaining or worthy of my time because my “hero” grunts more eloquently than a wild boar mid-intercourse.
Slightly overstated, but that’s the gist of it. From the above paragraph I might not come across as someone who can recognize the visual splendor of it, but I actually do. It’s perhaps the most successful game on the PS2 in regards to graphics and animation, and that’s not to be taken lightly. The problem I have with it is that it goes to a disastrous waste when the playing/fighting itself lacks the quality it needs to be able to utilize the maximum potential of the visuals.
Bill Harris puts it nicely several times.
It’s not that God of War isn’t good–it is. But its excellence lies not in innovation, but in refinement. God of War is (very basically) a combination of Devil May Cry and Prince of Persia with the shitty parts thrown out. Nothing new, but a recycling of existing elements in a more well-balanced package than the originals.
David Jaffe certainly seems like a bright guy, but I wonder why he’s being looked to for his opinions on the future of gaming when his signature game doesn’t represent the future at all.
…and while I still don’t understand how this game makes Jaffe a visionary, I certainly respect the care with which this game was made. Outstanding animation, terrific sound effects, excellent voice acting, intricate design–it’s all top quality. Yes, the camera is a pain in the ass, and yes, it rips off half a dozen other games, but there’s nothing wrong with being derivative as long as you’re good.
Harris later posted a longer, more in-depth piece.
It’s a shame that the phrase “outstanding animation, terrific sound effects, excellent voice acting, intricate design” and the words boring, annoying and dreadful, paired with a comparison to the ancestor to the domesticated pig, all pertain to the same game.