Category Archives: Videogames

God of War (2005 – 2018)

God of War, 2005:

The game begins in the middle of a storm; the player’s ship is being attacked by a hydra; during the first 10 minutes of play, the player confronts and kills one of the most recognisable creatures in Greek mythology.

God of War, 2018:

The game begins with a funeral. In the first 10 minutes, the player confronts and kills a trio of common enemies, who seem to have been ripped straight from the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

God of War, 2005:

The graphics were good for their age; today, they feel dated, but still hold a certain charm. The panoramic camera gives a good feel for the world’s epic scale.

God of War, 2018:

It’s possibly the most beautiful game I’ve ever played. A true visual tour de force that single-handedly justifies the purchase of a PS4Pro and one of those shiny 4K televisions. The HDR lighting makes the eyes hurt if the camera is pointed directly at the sun. The details are impressive, every millimeter of scenery, the skin of the characters, every fiber of armor… Everything looks unique, tactile, and real.

God of War, 2005:

As the game progresses, the player confronts and defeats a true rogue’s gallery of mythical beasts from Greek folklore, culminating in a final confrontation with Ares, the titular God of War. Our character is made giant, and both titans brawl amidst a burning city whose buildings barely reach their heels. In this final battle, the players must to apply all the techniques and skills that they have become familiar with throughout the game.

God of War, 2018:

With a couple of exceptions, all bosses are reskinned versions of the bosses fought during the first 2 hours of gameplay. The final confrontation is against a god who will be almost unknown to all but those with an intimate acquaintance of the Scandinavian pantheon – and again, it’s no more than a “spiced up“ version of a confrontation that happened during the first hours of play. This final battle is trivially simple if the player has spent but a few hours exploring the world and collecting better equipment.


God of War (2005) was a game made with a modest budget, and suffered from the technical limitations of the time. But it impressed at every juncture, showing itself more ambitious at every step, more capable of surprising, more epic. This is a game that played with the full hand of cards that fate had dealt it, without giving up, with the unique ambition of providing the player with the most ecstatic experience within its reach.

God of War (2018) is a game that will have cost more to produce than the GDP of some African countries. It represents the zenith the industry’s audiovisual craftsmanship, and counts with fantastic feats of digital acting. But it discharges almost all of its creative cannons in the first couple of hours, and from there on, it’s busywork. It’s a game that repeats all of its impressive moments to the point of banality, and that seems to be afraid to use up all the raw material provided by Scandinavian mythology, already thinking about what it will have to save for display in the obligatory sequel.

God of War (2005) is not the best game of its generation, nor that of the library of the console that saw its birth, and not even that of its genre. But it is an entertainment product, and with laser-like focus, it single-mindedly gave all that it had to give in order to do just that: entertain.

It was made for you.

God of War (2018) was ranked by many as game of the year, and by many others as the second best game of 2018. But it is an industrial product, and only entertains to the extent that it must.

It was made for the people who made it, for the people who paid for it, for the people who were going to review it. You?

You didn’t even make the top 3.

From Topical to Timeless

I’m revisiting the idea of a hosting a podcast about videogames.

The truth is that my playing habits have changed a lot, and are much less eclectic than they once were. I’m at a place in my life where I may spend several months playing the same game, because I have other priorities, and also because the kind of game that I enjoy the most usually takes anywhere from 40 to 100 hours to finish.

So it would not be especially interesting to hear me talk about what I’m playing.

One thing I would like – because I think it is fun – would be to comment on the current videogame news. The world of video game journalism is a bit lacking in content, but there’s at least one news item every week that’s worthy of comment.

The problem with this is that this kind of content is one that by nature is not valuable over time. Yesterday’s news no longer mean anything to anyone, tomorrow.

But is it possible to distill such news into more general themes, timeless themes?

The comments are open for this one; your opinion is welcome.

A Stranger’s Kindness

The best online games (or games with online components) are those that are designed to provide moments of spontaneous cooperation. That is, they are made to be played solo, but in a way that the player’s fate inevitably intersects with that of other players.

Most modern MMOs work like this. Even 15 years ago, there were few moments more fantastic in World of Warcraft than saving a stranger (or being saved by one) from an enemy ambush. But even the simple gesture of curing or blessing a stranger met on the road made our hearts smile. In modern WoW, these situations are less common, but not extinct.

But the ultimate exponent of this philosophy is probably the Dark Souls series. Here are games that require the player to display mastery over them; games that do not forgive mistakes… Unless… You find a mark left by the spirit of another player, ready to help you with information about the upcoming dangers, or even by offering a spiritual hand to fight by your side. Even in death, these spirits are generous – they allow us to witness a replay of their final moments, giving us the chance to deduce the nature of the deadly perils ahead.

You can’t arrange to play Dark Souls with a friend, at least not without some sort of trickery. And that’s by design. The message is powerful: in your darkest moments, there is no balm like the unexpected help of a stranger.

Photo Credit: Gotham Game Chronicles Flickr via Compfight cc