I’ve been to Alfheim, I’ve collected the light, I’ve killed the dragon and chopped off the head of a guy stuck in a tree, and Kratos is still completely uninteresting to me.
I know, I know, still a lot of game to go, but come on! I’m so surprised that a game like The Order 1886 got slammed for all their QTEs and God of War was universally praised for what amounts to pretty much the same thing.
Perhaps it is the pedigree of the studio or perhaps it has to do with the story told?
So far in God of War, there’s a gallery of men in the leading parts. Kratos, his son, “the stranger” and his two friends, Brok and Sindri and the guy in the tree. The two women – out of which one is dead – are a minority.
While the order isn’t much better, it is at least better in that it has several named women and in positions of relative prominence.
Perhaps the topic plays in as well. The Order is ultimately about the problems with colonialism and empire building. Topics that are far reaching and in addition responsible for much misery in the world.
God of War is about a father who has the emotional intelligence of a lump of rock. I’m sure his emotional journey is interesting to someone but to me it feels flat and boring.
To be honest, I think this is yet another reflection of what kind of stories men think are important. Because the men who make games are suddenly having family and maybe getting divorced or finding themselves all of a sudden with the smile responsibility for a child they previously only hung out with on their spare time, the bond between father and child becomes something they want to investigate.
We all “know” that a story isn’t worth telling unless it is based on the “default human existence”, which happens to be that of a man.
This is why stories of women’s lives and struggles are labeled “women’s literature” and valued less than the same type of stories told from a man’s perspective. In those instances it is art.
The story of Kratos the incompetent father is simply a more interesting story to the guardians and gatekeepers of gaming culture.
My guess is that there will be uproarious comments around how – mechanically – God of War is a better game1 and how the cover system of The Order didn’t live up to the state of the art cover systems of games like Gears of War or whatever other combat focused game that spends most resources on a combat system rather than an intricate and costly narrative.
To me, the cover, mechanics seemed totally fine. The awkward combat and interactions in God of War still trip me up though. Interact on circle? Really? That’s the worst. And the hybrid cursor/ d-pad navigation makes me break out in hives.
I get it, I shouldn’t write these things, because my attractiveness on the job market is steadily reduced by my opinions, I know this. But I also have a hard time keeping my mouth shut.
I’m not particularly enjoying God of War, yet, but I’m playing it anyway. A half-hour slog daily to be able to say “I played it, I disliked it”, and you can’t tell me that “if you only played it 10 hours more…”
I known my tastes. I know what I like. I like stories that aren’t navel gazing exposes of men realizing that other people have emotions while simultaneously pointing at all women as devious and poisonous. That’s not my jam.