This will be the first article that dives into my journey through what I have deemed, “The Box of Many Things“. Let me set the scene. My good friend, Zach Noble of Commerce, MI, sent me a big box of games, none of which I had ever have touched before. I quickly realized that my neglect had been criminal seeing as these games were AWESOME! First out of the Box of Many Things are the games of the God of War series.
I successfully delved into the world of gods and monsters as the ghost of Sparta himself, Kratos. The God of War Collection was sublime with all of the extra content on top of the combination of the first two installments. Kratos quickly became one of my favorite video game characters. He was a hardened soldier, but still very human in the beginning. For those unfamiliar with the story, I’ll recap. In the first entry in the series, Kratos loses his wife and daughter through a cruel trick by Ares, the soon to be former god of war, and becomes engulfed by hatred and desire for revenge. By the second game you take your rightful place as the new god of war but your maverick attitude has pissed off the gods and you’re quickly demoted to earthly mortal. This only fuels the rage of Kratos even more, and from here on out the badassery level soars. Not only do you get to mangle such iconic characters as Icarus and Perseus but you literally punch the frackin’ gods in their collective face. In the final chapter, God of War III, all bets are off. With the help of the Titans, you lead an assault on Mount Olympus to kill all of the remaining gods including Zeus himself.
The story through the God of War series was great. I could connect with Kratos and I genuinely wanted to see his quest through to the end. The cinematics, for me, were on par with Uncharted in that they felt like hooking a controller up to a movie. I also liked how the games continuously evolved. Most running titles of late don’t upgrade or improve on what they did in the past the way these did. I felt with each new entry in the series, they added enough to the scenery, weapons, and enemies, to keep the game strong and fresh. People complain that you visit Hades more than a Tijuana restroom but every trip there only made me feel more badass when I returned. God of War uses repetition but restricts it enough so that it doesn’t feel regurgitated. As much as I was hooked throughout these games, they did have some of the most annoying and tedious puzzles ever. Crate pushing will never be the same for me, but despite needing several rage breaks from the games I kept coming back to push Kratos a little further down that road to vengeance.
Another aspect I enjoyed with God of War was the massive amount of easter eggs throughout. This series definitely rewards the curious. Around every corner, just far enough off screen, is a trinket or chest with little goodies waiting for you. Even this repetitive gesture of rewarding you was upgraded in God of War III with the use of a special item that allows you to see hidden objects. This gives the game some points for replay value, because only those who looked up all the secrets or the truly paranoid could have gotten everything on their first run through.
My criticisms with God of War were few, but substantial. First of all, not everyone is a puzzle whiz. I had to call bullshit on some of these puzzles, because I just could not continue without checking in on youtube every now and then. It felt cheap and I kicked myself in the head after seeing some of the solutions, but sometimes you have to resort to a walkthrough. I felt the game had some very annoying bugs in combat, too. I constantly found myself hitting a button, watching the animation for a move begin only to be canceled by a fury of quick hits from an enemy. This makes you lean on the most boring light attacks in the game and detracts from the point of glorified combat. Another problem is that unless you know what a certain enemy’s weakness is, you’re going to get your ass handed to you. The system relies too much on trial and error when trying to get through enemies and puzzles to the point that you’ll want to rip the controller in half.
This epic tale of bloody revenge was at the top of my list from the Box, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I’d recommend the series to anyone, regardless of their interest in Greek Mythology. Since this is technically a review, I’d have to give God of War Collection a C+ and God of War III a B. All excellent games and, like a fine wine, they only got better with age.
I have a long way to go in my adventures with The Box of Many Things, but I’m always open to other suggestions too. Whether it be a well known hot seller or an obscure game from the past, send me an email and i will get on it.
Up next in The Box of Many Things: the Uncharted series.