Monday, April 09, 2007


You know I have been hyped about this game. I have been. I was hyped before it dropped. I blogged about it here and at 1up. HYPED. I barely have gas money these days, but I hustled my $50 to get my hands on this thing and PUT IT DOWN. I have been putting it down for weeks. It is one of the best video game experiences of my life, but believe me, I am at a point where I am totally pissed off with this thing.

God of War stars Kratos, the Spartan warrior who beat the hell out of Ares and assumed the position of "God of War" on Mount Olympus. His story continues in part 2 as the gods conspire against him.

On a side note: what is up with our current fixation on Spartans? I just finished watching my online rip of 300 and I am trying to figure out the theme here. Spartans were badasses. They liked a good fight and they are legendary in how they managed to beat their opponents down. Are we as a country slapping our own back as a war machine? Are we transposing the Spartan lore upon our own compromised American state? Are we through the guise of pop-culture, pumping ourselves up for this battle that we fight that we cannot possibly win? Just a thought.

God of War 2 has come full circle for me in regards to my obsession with mythology as a kid. The story works. Kratos (the anti-protagonist)ultimately becomes more of an asshole than Ares, the God of War that he killed ever was. Zeus steps up and tricks Kratos into giving up his go-powers. As he falls into Hades, the Titans step up and show Kratos how to get his god-powers back. Kratos has to slash his way out of hell and continue slashing until he has an audience with the Fates. Kratos then bends time to get back to Zeus at the moment of all the trickery in the first place. And there is more. I was wondering what his drive to take Zeus down was all about and they explain that stuff too. The re-imaging of the Fates and the Titans is superior. The game has the feel of a story that could have been told around some Greek campfire 3,000 years ago. It is epic and it is over the top, and there are moral lessons to be learned embedded throughout.

What I dig about it is that there is actually a story. The story is deep. I can't count off how many games I have played where there is a lackluster storyline which is just there to carry whatever gaming engine there is. I can't tell you how many ambiguous storylines I have played through, where the lines between speculation and fact are so great that you can fill the blank with whatever perversity or strange desire or jibberish you want, because the blank is that big.

There is even a cliffhanger at the end of the game that says: GET YOUR ASS A PS3 BECAUSE THIS IS GOING TO BE EVEN MORE FUN.

GOW 2 serves it up better than I though that it would be served. It was a 12 hour test of skill and I enjoyed every drop of it. Till now.

Playing through the story-mode is work. I was killed more times than would be considered "good" for someone who plays games as much as I do. GOW2 sets you up though. There are many times when you are doing what seems to be "correct", and all of a sudden "YOU ARE DEAD" is what the screen chokes at you, in a blurry, bloody scrawl. I dug on that stuff. The story-mode had lots of puzzles to work through, and lots of absolute beat-down brawls to fight through. Beating it was a serious accomplishment.

However this last Saturday, I just about broke that disc in pure frustration. I flipped the screen off multiple times and let a torrent of profanity spatter the walls around me. I was pissed. I am still pissed. I am pissed and I know I am not done, I am going to have to block out some time and KICK THIS GAME'S ASS.

What I am talking about is the Challenge of the Titans mode. Yeah yeah, there are all of these gamers out there that are knocking the stuff out and saying that it is easy, and they can all read my middle finger. The stuff is hard as fok and it is unfair. The odds are so ridiculously stacked against you that you will lose...for hours on end. All strategies will eventually fail, until you find the one key method for laying out an absolute beatdown for all the characters onscreen that plague you so. Once you find the method/pattern, then the ass-whupping that they administer to you is palatable, because you know you will eventually win. What happens when you see no light at the end of the tunnel though?

**Below is a bunch of gamer talk, if you don't know gamer talk, scroll down to the next set of asterisks**

I am talking about the challenge called "Protect the weak." First off, you have to hit the L1+R1 to get the time-slowdown. This is not an easy feat in the heat of battle. I don't know how many times Kratos has assumed a block stance when time should be moving slow. Because of this, you take extra hits at points. Yeah, someone is going to step up and say, "I get it every time and there never has been a problem for me." Well good for you sporto, but in my case, it isn't a 100% deal. I know how to hit buttons on the synchronized tip too, I am not some scrub here. This whole situation is bad gaming mechanics.

So I have to protect this praying guy in a circle while wave after wave of abuse comes my (and his) way. If that isn't enough, the circle that prayer-dude is in moves and I have to transport him to a different spot on the board. If he stays outside of the circle, he loses health. Furthermore, sometimes, you are kicking MAD ASS and he takes collateral damage. I can't count how many times I have seen him bounce because I have thrown an enemy in his vicinity.

The cussing started when I was sure that I was almost done with this challenge. I had moved him to his 4th different spot, I was low on all magic and I had no Rage of the Gods meter. Then another wave of motherfuckers dropped in on me. It was a sick wave too. I am sure that it was the last wave, but I had nothing and my little worshipper buddy had nothing too.

Of course, I am going to have to tune my game up in order to beat this thing. But that is not all, I have to hit Titan ranking on this sucker. That means that little worshipper guy is going to have to take less than 50% damage. I have watched the training videos on this site and I have seen it done, but it doesn't seem to be that easy for me.

Maybe it is the fact that when I play GOW2, it is a gorge session because I don't know how long the famine will be. I can't sit down and put in 2-3 hours every night. I have a life. so I am at it 2-3 times a week TOPS.

FOK JOO GOW2. The mettle that is required of me to open up the arena of the Fates (Titan ranking on just about all challenges) is OBNOXIOUS. And if I make it, the reward isn't worth it.

I will load up and read all the strats I can find, but the bottom line is that I am probably not going to finish this one. It took me a serious month away from GOW1 before I was ready to go in and get my ass served to me in the challenge stages there. I actually took 8 hours of a Saturday to do it. That gorgon stage kicked my ass more times that I care to admit. However, now, I can play those challenges straight through. The gorgon stage is actually a stage that I look forward to. This one? The challenge stages are so fokking unfair that I just don't know if I am going to continue.

**post gamer talk***
Sometimes you have to slash your losses and move on. This might be one of those situations. I enjoy playing video games. I enjoy a good challenge. I feel that this is a situation where I as an average video game player am getting abused.

Will I finish this last challenge in front of me? I suppose the gaping, loosed floodgates of profanity you may have heard from a top of a hill in Santa Cruz last Saturday dictate that I probably won't.

Perhaps I am getting too old for this stuff.