Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A true feat of gaming in every regard!

HERE THERE BE SPOILERS FOR "GOD OF WAR 3!" DON'T READ IF YOU INTEND TO PLAY! (Not much is revealed, but still...)

My housemates are video game addicts. They know more about them than I ever did, and I sometimes believe that Cody exited the womb and suckled a console controller for nourishment instead of a human breast.

Since 2004, or so I was told last night, a series of games entitled "God of War" has been bouncing around. It is the epic tale of Kratos, who was duped by the Olympian gods, betrayed by them, and driven to outrageous levels of rage. (Seriously, if anyone was in need of a Xanax, it's Kratos.) Thus, the main character takes it upon himself to seek the death of as many Olympian gods as he can get his hands on...and he gets his hands on all of them, including Aphrodite, whom he stabs in a very different manner.

Okay...that's the summary of the main trilogy. Now we come to the events of last night. You see, the third game was released yesterday. Upon his arrival at home from work, Cody sat down to play the game...and beat it in just under nine hours.

There is a part of me that is most assuredly adult, looking at life and realizing I have responsibilities to myself and those around me. Last night, the kid in me took over, and I didn't DARE remind Cody that he had work today. I was too enraptured by this game, its story, and the utter beauty of its graphics.

Sidetrack a moment. I'm sure my readers have seen the Lord of the Rings trilogy as presented via Peter Jackson. One of the things that made those movies fantastic was the fact that it all seemed quite real. The characters would get could see pores on their skin...and when a cave troll arrived, it looked like a creature they'd actually found somewhere on Earth and tamed to play a specific role.

The opening screen on God of War 3 shows half of the main character's face. He looks pissed off at something, keeps glaring to his right, (the player's left), and breathing...Seriously, gang...He looks alive! And as the game opens into the action, it apparently starts where God of War 2 left off. Kratos is on Gaia's back, she is climbing Mount Olympus along with other titans, and the gods are launching themselves into battle. As if this was not epic enough, the camera angles then start making gargantuan sweeps across the screen, giving you better views of the action that some movies. It was just...amazing.

I couldn't sit still during the game-play. I was thirsty, hungry, and craving information as the others in our little "audience" made guesses about who was voicing which character. They didn't slouch on the talent. You may not know the names, but if you look some of them up, you may remember them. Linda Hunt narrates. Malcolm McDowell as Daedalus. Clancy Brown as Hades. Adrienne Barbeau as Hera. Kevin Sorbo as - you guessed it - Hercules. Rip Torn as Hephaestus. These are the talents I recognize, but if you look on your own, you might discover others that you know.

We went to bed shortly after 6:00 AM, after watching the end credits and speculating on why there didn't seem to be a named actress behind the voice of Aphrodite. (Each game in the series has had a side "sex game," and if you keep repeating it...well, it's too funny to reveal more, and I don't know if any of you intend to play the game. Just keep going at it a few times for your own laugh.)

Some other thoughts on the game...

Cody plays video games very differently from me. If I succeed at a task, I save, simply because I don't want to have to try again. And I mean many little achievements. Did my thief open a safe? Save! Did I find valuable loot? Save! Did I win a mostly minor battle against a dozen minions? Save! I'll also engage multiple files, rather than rewriting the same one over and over again. Cody does none of this...

...which means he has a greater chance to miss something on screen. As the player, you concentrate on the main character and taking care of business. GoW 3 has things going on in the background that you can easily miss if you're not paying attention to ALL of it.

There is a bit of toying with our monotheistic values of today. I mean, if we were to assume the Olympians really existed, what happened to them? GoW's premise is that they were killed...and that G-d just might actually be one of them, and a woman. (A previously murdered god returns to claim they have evolved into a higher consciousness. Is this our G-d today?)

Why...WHY...WHY HASN'T THIS BEEN MADE INTO A SERIES OF MOVIES? The story is truly epic, with a mortal ascending to godhood, losing it just a bit more, and seeking some very bloody revenge. Take the game-play out, and you could still get two good movies from the story alone. Oh, I know most movies based on video games tend to be trash, but if you leave most of the original dialogue alone, tighten up the puzzles and fights into genuine action sequences, it could be done. (Having said that, George Lucas will probably end up directing and have Kratos fight Sith instead of Greek gods...Or have none of you ever seen the video of how George would have handled Lord of the Rings?)

Nine hours of working to complete an epically visual game. It truly was a feat of gaming in every regard.

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