A tale of God of War

God of War III comes out today (YES!), and with all the hoopla surrounding it, I thought this would actually be a good time to recommend/pay tribute to the other God of War games. I’ll explain.

I’ve always considered myself to be a hardcore gamer — up on the big new releases, aware of what’s going on in the industry — but for some reason, I completely missed out on God of War and God of War II. I have no idea why. I hadn’t really slacked off in my gaming at all. (Maybe I was still collecting all those dumb shards in The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. That took forever.) Yet I didn’t buy them when they were first released, and I didn’t really know anything about them.

Anyway, sometime in 2007, the Wii was my current system of choice, and I was making my way through Paper Mario. It was alright: It controlled well, it looked nice, and it was cute. But I’d continually be asking myself, “Am I having fun?” I really was becoming jaded and disinterested in games at that point, I’d realized.

One day I found myself at a Best Buy, and saw God of War for PS2, now a Greatest Hits title, priced at $19.99. I still really had no idea what it was about or what type of game it was. I just knew the name. What the hell, I thought. Let’s do this.

All hyperbole aside, I was truly blown away. I’d never seen anything like God of War — the music, the graphics, the scale, and the sheer fun of it all. The brilliance of Kratos’ weaponry, combos, and pace gaining new powers. I thought about Paper Mario — and not to throw Nintendo under the bus, because I truly love that company and its games — but this was way ahead of anything the competition was doing, especially something like Paper Mario. And I wasn’t impressed by just the game; the bonus making-of documentary was fascinating and, most importantly, brutally honest. Kudos to Sony for including it. Overall, the experience completely reinvigorated my love of gaming and led me to rethink the possibilities of the medium. I bought God of War II the day after finishing God of War. It was also quite excellent, if slightly weaker and sloppy in the story department, but was still a great entertainment.

So yes, I’m excited for God of War III. But if you, like I once was, are unaware of the God of War franchise or what all the hubbub is about, trust me. Pick up the God of War Collection (an HD remastered package of the first two games) for PS3. It’s a great way to get up to speed, and you will be amazed; if you care about games or gaming history — or just want to experince Greek mythology on steroids — it’s essential.