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.

Laplace’s Daemon

“She is the Prophet!” Alessya raised her voice.  “She has foreseen our every move. She knows our thoughts, she can anticipate our attacks.  How can we hope to defeat such a foe?”

The white-haired man fiddled with his mustache with one hand; the other flipped an hourglass over the wooden table, again, and again, and again – never letting the grains quite settle on either end.

“How can she tell, if the future is ever changing?” He asked.

“She can, because it does not.” Intervened the cat-man, his brutish armoured frame leaning against the wall, fully blocking the view of the door he purposed to be guarding. “You assume it is ever-changing, because you do not know. You make a decision, and you think you could have done otherwise, you feel that as true as you feel anything, but you cannot – it is a lie perpetrated by the universe upon your mind.” His whiskers twitched. “Were we to rewind time as many times as you flip that timepiece, you would choose the same, again, and again, and again. Had you perfect information about all that is – each particle of dust, each humour flowing inside you body – you too, would be able to foresee.”

“So, Jagger, you mean to say, then, that the Prophet knows us better than we do, ourselves?” Asked Alessya, shaking her blonde mane. “That’s… Depressing.”

“In a manner of speaking, yes. And it is not depressing,” added the cat-man,  examining the extended claws in his right hand “it merely is.”

“Hum…” The white-haired man let the grains fall all the way to the bottom. “But what if, when we strike… We are not ourselves? What if, indeed we are someone who never existed in this world…?”

Jagger and Alessya looked at each other. They didn’t speak, but the pair had been together long enough to be able to read each other’s eyes. We found ourselves a loon.

“I’m quite sane, thank you for the vote of confidence.” Said the man. “You didn’t come to me for conventional answers, did you? You don’t hire magi for those. You want your Prophet down?” 

He flipped the hourglass again, throwing it at Jagger in the same movement. The cat-man grabbed it with the usual deftness. 

The grains were moving up.

The magus grinned. “Same hourglass, different grains.”

Suggestion of the Week (IV)

The world is full of great writers, poets, philosophers and other types of thinkers with whom to learn. Quotations from such individuals can fill us with inspiration, re-energize us along the path, or help us see an old challenge from a new perspective.

ZenPencils is the site of an artist who specializes in turning great quotes into comic book stories. The format works well, giving new life to old words of wisdom, and making them more memorable.

My favorites? Books Are Awesome (Carl Sagan) and Litany Against Fear (Frank Herbert).