I played this game a while ago now. I picked it up in the store when it was on sale, just out of curiosity, without even knowing what the story was about or what the gameplay was like. And I fell in love with it. The music was epic, the graphics stunned me, the story got me right away and the gameplay was just on point, tho a bit difficult at the beginning being the first souls-like game I'd ever played (and since I'm a masochist I started playing it on GMAC but then restarted it just after a few hours on GMGOW). But I loved it. I went for everything, platinum included and then I went for GMGOW+. Beating Sigrun on gmgow+ for the first time was so fucking thrilling. And then again, GMGOW++. After 100%ing the game for the third time I even started a 4th playthrough but eventually told myself "Hey dude, there are other games out there, you know? You should play them too". I locked the game in a cage protected by a man-eating monster (ok now I'm being a bit dramatic) and I decided to start playing something diffrent. I tried and tried but nothing seemed to get me. I bought Horizon Zero Dawn, I tried to play the Uncharted spin off I never finished, but nothing. I was only able to finish the main story of Zelda Botw with some side quests and to play Pokémon because Nintendo games are just mh.. different. But I still missed this game so much. And now, booting it up again and thinking about it rationally, I finally realized why I loved it so much, which is actually very simple: everything is just great without being huge and it's actually FUN to play.
Many, or should I say most of modern games are leaning toward open-wordness. And gow is kind of an open world game itself, too. The difference is that in gow there is big JUST enough. Just enough to make you REALLY want to explore every corner without feeling overwhelmed. In the same time you'd finish a classic open world game (30-50h) you'll actually know the places where you go, but at the same time it doesn't feel little and in the meanwhile everything is filled with action. Walking around in a new island? Okay, now fight. Now solve this. Now look around for the crow. Now listen to the story that the head tells you and tell him to shut up. You never really feel bored, you never just walk around purposeless. Even when you're just looking for collectables, since the map isn't too big you don't feel like you're just wandering in a lonely place. Then, the story. SPOILER AHEAD. It isn't complex, but it is effective. Just a journey for a father and his son, a "the last of us" formula if you like. But since it is not complex, they NAILED the characters development. The dialogs feel right and realistic, the cutscenes are well executed and directed, the music is always on point. There are no useless rpg elements – which are not bad themselves, but in games where the story is pretty much scripted it feels just distracting when they make you choose between two things that actually lead to the same conclusion, maybe with a VERY slight change, not mentioning that this forces the actors to record more lines and the writers to write them, the developers to make them fit in, bringing the whole level of writing, acting etc. way down – so the story really gets you as if you were watching a movie or something. Remember when Kratos takes his blades back? Or when he kills Baldur? Or when his mother curses him, crying for the death of his son? They're not just powerful moments story-wise but they're actually WELL DIRECTED. Most of the times when I play videogames I feel like the developers try so much to give us a complex story but they just can't keep a really good level of writing for all of the stuff and most of the characters' interaction seem just fake. Even horizon which is so praised for its story falls on this. But appatently a lot of people don't even notice this, I don't know why. Maybe they're just used to just play games and hardly read a book or watch a good movie/tv show. Because I'm sure that if they did, they'd notice how bad most of the dialogues are in most of the videogames. GOW on the other hand, in his really simple plot, manages to have some really well written lines which are also well played and directed. Moreover, it never makes you feel the gimmick they have to use in videogames to make you play. You see, in videogames there have to be some standard tropes to make you play. For example "Hey I've lost this, can you go there?" "Something has happened, go there and kill everyone" and that's actually okay because there is a limited amount of actions you can do in a videogame (walk, fight, select things) and the plot has somehow to make you move from point A to point B for a reason and during this A->B the game should happen. But in most games the gimmick is far too obvious and that's just it: you get to walk from point A to point B, maybe on a horse or something since the map is too big. And the story almost explicitely tells you "go there because I need you to move otherwise you will be bored of just listening to bad written dialogues". In gow you almost can't see the gimmick. They make you climb the mountain only to say "no you have to go to another mountain" (classic super mario trope "peach is in another castle) but there is a story reason for it which you'll discover later in the game, it's not just "whoopsie, wrong mountain, how come you didn't think of it?". As a player you never feel like you have to do something just because. Every obstacle feels quite natural and in line with the plot. And the most important thing is that even if you completely took away the story, the gameplay is still great and fun, which is not always true for many games today. The fights are fun and engaging, you can do a lot of things even with a single weapon. You have so many combos, you can develop your own combat style and when you think you're done you start experimenting with talismans, armors, runes and everything the great rpg system gives you. The controls are responsive and make you feel the weight of every action you make. You can feel the heaviness of the axe when you press r2, you can feel when you block a hit or when someone hits you or when something is to powerful to be parried. When I booted the game again I found myself near to a Valkyrie and just fighting her I had so much fun. The riddles are fun, too and provide a nice variety to the gameplay. And even REPLAYING the game is fun since they add NEW things when you start the game again. Damn it, they found a way to make even THE LOADINGS fun by adding to the AC-Style "wandering in a room doing random shit" Mimir who tells you interesting stories I MEAN WTF EVEN WHEN LOADING DURING FAST TRAVEL THEY MANAGE TO KEEP YOUR ATTENTION WHAT IS THIS?!?!??!?!
So fuck this game. Fuck it for making me realize how monotonous most games are, how little of a "game" is in there, how much unnecessary plot (if I wanted that much story I'd have read a good series of books) and how badly designed they are.
Of course this represents my personal opinion and I'm ready (and actually I'm willing to since I want to enjoy other games) to change my mind.
I'm sorry for any grammar mistake I could have made. I'm not english and I've written this in a hurry.
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© Post "Honestly, fuck this game." for game God of War.
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