Crispy Gamer

Outlook 2010: God of War III

God of War III
Gus Mastrapa

Gus Mastrapa: I'm incredibly wary about God of War III. I loved the heck out of God of War II, but I'm beginning to wonder if it was a game of its time. Remember that it came out at the tail end of the PlayStation 2's lifespan. As such, the game makers were able to leverage the power of that console deftly -- the transitions between action and cut scene were nonexistent. You rarely had to look at a loading screen. I fear that won't be the case on the PlayStation 3. But my larger concern has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with tone. Kratos, with his brooding, snarling attitude, always bordered on parody. When I played God of War: Chains of Olympus, I found myself growing tired of his shtick. Playing through the God of War III demo at E3, I found I'd lost patience for his over-the-top anger. There's got to be something more to Kratos. Revenge works as a motive once or twice, but it's hard to stretch a grudge across three games without everything seeming robotic. I secretly dread God of War III the way teenagers fear that their parents will embarrass them in front of the cool kids. Because I'm afraid that the people now holding Kratos' reins aren't in on the joke. Maybe they never were.

Evan Narcisse

Evan Narcisse: I disagree strongly. Out of all the angry, maladjusted game protagonists out there, Kratos has been the only one whose anger has felt real to me. Call me a fatalist, but I really identify with Kratos' raging at his fate and cursing the gods. Destroying the Colossus in God of War II felt like taking down every bully you could never reckon with in real life.

What I think we're going to get with God of War III is not just the sense of a man on fire, but how his rage sets all of Greece aflame. I'm guessing that we're going to move from Kratos' thirst for revenge to an object lesson on how sad and alone such single-minded rage ultimately makes him. It's tragedy, after all, so there can't be a happy ending. I am eager to see just how miserable Kratos' ultimate fate will be, and how he gets there. I'm also looking forward to seeing the mythological scale of the God of War world get expanded on the PS3, especially after seeing how the Ratchet & Clank guys blew out the visual sense of their universe once they landed on the PS3. Everything I've seen so far makes me more excited. The lighting seems more naturalistic, and Kratos' animations make him feel more feral and ominous than in the previous games.

Maybe I'm stretching here, but one man's vendetta against the Powers That Be speaks to me. In this time of economic turmoil, we all feel like big, vague forces are acting on us, and not for the better. Mythology is supposed to explain the world, and right now Kratos feels like a good stand-in for a lot of people's anger. I'm cranky about life but unabashedly hopeful about God of War III.

Our Outlook for the first half of 2010 continues...