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God of War

(Crossposted to the Superbusnet.com blog. And thanks to TheEnd for signing up).

I'm playing Gods of War for the first time. And...

It's a good looking game. It seems to combine platforming elements with button mashing elements. And it's nice to have a combo system, and the graphics are very nice, and all that, but...

I've played this game before. Waaaaaay back in 2002, as a matter of fact. It was called Rygar, and despite being critically acclaimed, it didn't sell nearly as well as this game is. Main weapon attached to chains? Check. Level up system based on some sort of point system? Check. As a matter of fact, this could be Rygar 2 if it wasn't for the fact that you gain power up orbs and life up orbs by sucking them in off of dead bodies. In other words, they've basically stolen from Legacy of Kain and Devil May Cry.

Ironically, I went back to look up review scores for Rygar, and compare them. Here are the results (taken from gamerankings.com

GOD OF WAR:
Gamespot: 93/100
IGN: 98/100 (!!! Then again, they gave the fucking MAN GAME a 75...)
Gamespy: 5/5
Electronic Gaming Monthly: 98.3% (10, 10, 9.5)
Game Informer: 10/10
OVERALL RATIO (incorporating all of their reviews): 93%

RYGAR:

Gamespot: 73/100
IGN: 84/100
Gamespy: 87/100 (why did they suddenly go back to a 5 point system?)
Electronic Gaming Monthly: 88.3% (9, 9.5 8)
Game Informer: 9/10
OVERALL RATIO: 82%

Now, 82% is nothing to sniff at, especially when averaged out over 50 reviews. But why 11 points lower? It's really almost the same game. Why was Rygar scoring lower back then, two and a half years ago, than this game, which is just a couple of popular games pasted together with Elmer's Glue, which came out two months ago?

Is it the graphics? Yes, God of War is more graphically pleasing; the lighting effects are much better, and there are less "jaggies". But in two and a half years, I expect those kind of improvements in the graphics. I don't think the fact that GoW supports Widescreen and Progressive Scan is a big difference in scores, either.

Is it the gameplay? Hardly; I haven't seen anything here that hasn't been done before. Even the reviews that I scanned said that GoW's combat system isn't deep.

Is it the makers of the games? That's nothing but conspiracy theory nonsense. Yes, Sony of America made God of War, and it's critically acclaimed, but let's face it: Sony's stuck out before, and gotten hammered for it. Remember Legend of Dragoon? It was hyped to be better than Final Fantasy VII (which was THE GAME back then, even more than it supposedly is now). When it finally came out, it got HAMMERED. Maybe some of that was the thought of following up a game like FF VII, but it really wasn't that good. That, and Tecmo isn't exactly some independent shitstain company, either; this is the same company that came out with Ninja Gaiden, and Dead or Alive, and has been making kickass games now for about 20 years, since... the original Rygar, in the arcade! :D

Is it the story? It's possible that has something to do with it. Rygar had a bland storyline, with a personalityless hero and bad voice acting. God of War has what Gamestop called a "mean, yet sympathetic anti-hero", and, so far, has been produced very nicely. I'm also hearing good stories about the storyline; it's a nice, hardcore story based on aincient gods.

But I don't think that's the reason why Rygar wasn't as highly ranked as this, basically the same game. So what changed? I think it was the timing of the games coming out. Rygar was released on November 25, 2002... right in time for the Christmas rush, and the quality games that came out during that time. I don't remember what exactly came out during that year, but I do remember that there were a lot of games, and with the competition between the three systems (XBox, Gamecube, PS2) as hot as it's ever been, a lot of them were very good. When you're comparing 10 rare diamonds, it's easy to think that some of the ones that rank near the bottom of that list aren't as good as they really are. On the other hand, God of War came out on March 22nd... a SLOW time for video games that aren't related to baseball. Basically, even as a good game, it went to the top of a small mountain.

Was this done on purpose? Maybe. But the fact remains: God of War is a good game... but it's not as revolutionary as a 93% average would attest to. It doesn't reinvent the wheel... it just refines it a bit.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
theangryyam
May. 30th, 2005 01:05 am (UTC)
God of War is fun. Very fun.

It's actually less buttonmashing than it seems at first. Using the right combos and special attacks/magics/etc at the appropriate time is the only effective way to upgrade your stuff. Otherwise it takes forever. :
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )