Tag Archives: gods

Xenogears 08: The Ballad of Billy

Here we go!Let us consider the unwavering faith of Billy Lee Black.

Like many of the people we have featured in these sermons, Billy had a difficult childhood. When Billy was barely ten, his father went out for a pack of smokes, and didn’t come back for a decade. Billy was left alone with his mother and little sister, but zombie-like Wels attacked his home soon thereafter. While Billy and his sister were able to survive thanks to the quick thinking of Bishop Stone, Billy’s mother was lost to the Wels. When Jesse Black came back, Billy and his sister, Primera, were already forever traumatized. Primera would not speak, and Billy had turned to God for help with his broken family. Billy joined the Ethos, and took up the guns his father gave him to exterminate the Wels creatures that had killed his mother.

So when Billy encounters a group of strangers that are trying to help their sick friend, Billy does everything he can to help. He escorts the injured Fei to a church of Ethos, hoping that the advanced medical technology of the order will help the wounded boy. Billy then leaves these new comrades, because he must go back to the orphanage he runs (with the support of Ethos, naturally), so there are less children alone in the world. And then, when a ship full of Wels floats near his home, Billy works together with his new companions to eliminate the threat. Why, it is almost like these strangers were a gift brought to Billy by God!

But it seems that God was not home when the Ethos Headquarters was attacked. Billy initially suspected his truant father of being a genocidal murderer, but soon discovered that Ethos was not all that it seemed. The technology and religion of Ethos was all a front to control people, and every Etoner in the place was a puppet of the Solaris government. And when Billy’s friend Verlaine reveals himself to be an assassin, it is unambiguously demonstrated that Billy’s entire religion is a lie. Oh, and then Bishop Stone revealed he was responsible for the death of Billy’s mother. Billy proves to be the only pious survivor of the Ethos massacre…

Lil knife guysBut does Billy lose his faith? Does Billy give in to his father who has always renounced religion? Does Billy give up on being a better man? No! Billy joins Fei’s friends, and continues to fight for the good of people everywhere. He still eliminates the perverse Wels. He defends the Thames from encroaching monsters. He infiltrates an Ethos dig site, and rebuffs the nefarious Bishop Stone. He still serves his faith, but rejects the philosophy of “only the chosen will be saved”. He will save everyone! And, through it all, he still prays after every battle. Even when faced with the seemingly invincible Id, Billy’s true faith never waivers.

No matter what happens, Billy Lee Black has faith.

… And we will see if he is still praying after he punches God.

Even Worse Streams presents Xenogears
Night 8

Original Stream Night: March 9, 2021
Night of the Silver Star Story

Random Notes on the Stream

  • We’re back after taking a week off. I cannot for the life in me remember what we were doing that week. Oh, and I accidentally activated a stupid card game.
  • Maybe we could just stop playing and listen to Xenogears Creid album?
  • “Billy’s obviously a fucking nerd.”
  • “I do appreciate that your characters are now two grown men lost in a church.”
  • cut cut cutAs we hit Billy’s orphanage, we discuss NFTs. My position on this matter is clear.
  • Jessie doesn’t know how chairs work. This is canon.
  • “I wrote an entire article about how that game is the worst.”
  • “The Robin Hood movie is why we have furries.” Sure, but I blame Chip ‘n Dale.
  • Enjoy hanging out with Bill Gunhaver.
  • While raiding the boat, it is important to know how exploitative Dead or Alive 6 can be. 462 items on Steam, all at $2… so it only costs nearly a thousand dollars to completely own that game.
  • What is your worst bathtub in all of gaming? I’m voting for Eternal Darkness.
  • And then I die to the giant Wels. Whoops!
  • Trynant stops by for the night while we make attempt number two on the boss.
  • And then Kishi! Maybe they can help!
  • The Giant Wels has been defeated… forever.
  • “Oh, my dad committed genocide? Yeah, that makes sense.”
  • World Heroes: it had a Goku in it.
  • Billy: currently having a crisis of faith and looking smug doing it.
  • Love you galsThere are apparently mass-produced Jesuses in Neon Genesis Evangelion. This should surprise no one.
  • Over at the Thames we are asked to, “Just try to imagine an action sequence.”
  • Deathscythe is not so much a thing as something that is fun to say.
  • There are so many of the same monsters in this undersea dungeon that it gets kind of ridiculous. But the snail mutants are awesome!
  • “It’s not Porygon’s fault.”
  • The Elements have freckles? They sure don’t have enough fanart…
  • I pronounce Id wrong. Also: here’s Id.
  • And we close on one of our longest streams by talking about making Kishi sad through eggs.

Next time on Xenogears: It’s about the climb.

Mole Mania!
“The moll’s got a mole!”

FGC #644 Pocky & Rocky Reshrined

Go Pocky!Videogames are complicated, complex creations. Miss one goddamn thing in there, and the whole thing can fall apart.

Pocky & Rocky Reshrined is the latest in a series of games released within recent years that nobody would have ever predicted we would see, but, impossibly enough, here we are (see also “American” Radical Dreamers, or that immaculate Record of Lodoss War tie-in). Pocky & Rocky was an astonishing little Super Nintendo title (itself a quasi-sequel to an arcade game) that perfectly captured the chaos and joy of a run ‘n gun like Ikari Warriors or very particular (unpopular) levels in Contra 3. However, unlike many games where you are given a bazooka and an enemy army to obliterate, Pocky & Rocky often erred on the side of adorable. There were certainly scary monsters running around, but you are definitely playing as either a chibi shrine maiden or a roly-poly raccoon, and your greatest allies are gods of plenty that leisurely float around on clouds. This is a scenario where you are saving the world from demonic invaders, but the first boss is also a goblin that is named for partying too hard.

But it is tricky for a player to party too hard with Pocky & Rocky. Despite the cutesy appearance, Pocky & Rocky has always been difficult to the point of parody. This should not be a great surprise, as the game is practically a shoot ‘em up, and that genre is known for a number of entries that were as equally likely to please a player as make them cry. It doesn’t matter if you are steering the Vic Viper through a hail of bullets or Pocky through a maze of oncoming nuts, your health is fragile, and you’ll be sent back to the beginning of the stage in no time if you dare show the slightest sloppiness. Pocky & Rocky was always fun (and easier) with two players, but not unlike Contra or Toejam & Earl, nobody holding a controller was all that convinced they’d see past level 3…

I know this guyAnd Pocky & Rocky Reshrined continues this tradition with aplomb. Is it cute? Listen, bub, you’ve got a playable raccoon and a shrine maiden cosplaying as a fox yōkai (or maybe it is technically a fox yōkai cosplaying as a shrine maiden? Whatever!). There is the signature turn into darkness as our protagonists travel through time to burning villages with disturbingly buff versions of ancient gods, and the challenge is continually buff-god worthy. Unfortunately, the game seems to follow a reverse difficulty curve, as your health and abilities expand dramatically as the game progresses. While there is not a single level or boss that is a pushover, it does seem like the earlier areas are a lot more difficult to conquer with your meager opening offerings. Regardless, even that is arguably Pocky & Rocky to a T, so there is very little to complain about in this remake-y sequel.

Well, except all the nonsense I am about to complain about ad nauseum…

It is hard to pick apart Pocky & Rocky Reshrined. It would be so easy to say this game lacks polish! But that is completely wrong! Pocky & Rocky Reshrined has remarkable sprite-based graphics that must have taken years of experience and craftmanship to appear so beautiful and animated. But you will be distracted from that artistry the moment you notice a glaringly obvious typo…

FORTUNE!
Did you mean “fortune”?

But more importantly than presentation, there are gameplay quirks that frequently detract from the experience. Pocky & Rocky Reshrined continually feels like a “tough but fair” shooter… except when a monster spawns directly on top of you, and how the heck were you supposed to see that coming? Bosses are large and in charge, except for the middle crop of creatures that feel like they could be conquered by a toddler. Oh! And the glaringly obvious issue that 2-player mode is locked behind completing the game, and then an additional character that can only be unlocked by completing the exact same game twice (while other, more appealing modes are available that patently will not unlock said character)? That speaks to a severe misunderstanding of why people are playing Pocky & Rocky in the first place. And, while none of these issues somehow equate to making Pocky & Rocky Reshrined unplayable, there are a significant number of problems that feel like the videogame equivalent of writing an essay but skipping the proofreading stage (fun fact: my original intention was to deliberately add some typos to that sentence, but my autocorrect has thwarted me at every turn, and I am far too lazy to attempt to train it differently. Sorry!).

Not that tailsWhich brings us to the actual make or break of Pocky & Rocky Reshrined. Possibly the worst thing your humble author did to P&RR is play Cuphead’s DLC immediately before switching over to tanuki times. As a result of this blunder, it was immediately revealed that Cuphead possessed one simple action that Pocky & Rocky Reshrined did not: stationary/locked aiming. In Cuphead, you can hold a shoulder button to keep your porcelain playable character aimed at an opponent. This allows for situations where, at the press of a button, you can stay “locked” facing your focus, but back away to a more advantageous position. Or stay stationary, and rotate around so you can aim without leaving your safe spot. This is an essential move in any game where the difference between life and death can sometimes be measured in miniscule pixels, and it is completely absent from Pocky & Rocky Reshrined.

And, to be clear, Pocky & Rocky Reshrined was designed without this function in mind. There are three different powerup options for every character available, and they can be summarized as “spread”, “strong”, and “homing” (more or less). A homing bullet loses an awful lot of functionality when you have more robust aiming options, and the challenge involved in a number of bosses (and even a few of the regular monsters) is based entirely on how you must choose between aiming your leaves in the right direction, or staying safe from a salvo. Hell, there is even the improved melee attack that seems to reflect everything, and that is a defensive option that you don’t see in any other game. Pocky & Rocky Reshrined seems to have been carefully calibrated to not include this feature seen in the likes of Cuphead.

Watch the bugsBut that doesn’t stop it from feeling lacking in comparison. It may be deliberate, but it still feels like something has been lost, and that other, contemporary games are better for having such a feature. In short, it feels like, thanks to one missing piece, the whole thing falls apart.

Pocky & Rocky Reshrined is indisputably a great videogame. But failing to enshrine polish seen in other games leaves it lacking.

FGC #644 Pocky & Rocky Reshrined

  • System: You got your Nintendo Switch, and your Playstation 4, and looks like that is about it.
  • Number of players: Two, but only after you unlock the option, you monsters.
  • Favorite Level: Pocky & Rocky Reshrined is just parallel enough to the original Pocky & Rocky that you can almost recognize some of the new stages as references to the source material. What was once a level where you flew through blue skies is now an assault on a series of airships, and it makes for one of the most fun levels. You must defeat your opponents here to progress, and that means a whole lot of airship destruction. So, basically, if you ever wanted to wreck up Final Fantasy’s main mode of transportation, this is the game for you.
  • Gimme fiveFavorite Character: The goddess Ame no Uzume can float over pits, but her “bullets” are a little too spaced out for my liking. So maybe this is the Stockholm syndrome talking, but Hotaru Gozen, the samurai lady that requires beating the game twice to unlock, is probably my favorite pick. She turns a shooter into something more like… well… I don’t know what genre this is supposed to be, but she does have to get up close and personal with all opponents. It’s like playing as Zero in an early Mega Man game!
  • An end? The finale reveals that the final boss and source of all the trouble ‘round these parts is basically a divine abuse victim that had a few problems with her pantheon before bopping over to Fantasy Japan to wreck up the place. After being defeated in an amazing boss fight that includes way too many lasers, she shrinks back down to normal friend-size and… becomes a new Fantasy Japan goddess. And, like, I get that she had a rough time of it, and may have been manipulated by darkness or whatever, but I feel like she lit an awful lot of the country on fire, and was then “punished” with godhood. Talk about failing upwards…
  • Goggle Bob Fact: I ordered the physical copy of this release well ahead of its release, but it took forever (okay, maybe a week) to arrive. This vexed me to the point that I nearly downloaded a virtual copy in the meanwhile, despite the fact that I have a backlog of approximately five billion games…
  • I recognize this guy, tooDid you know? The original Pocky & Rocky featured a harpy that marginally looked like a naked lady. The American/European version put that harpy in some armor, conferred it a beak, and turned the whole thing into an angry bird. I understand granting her protection against (feathered) nudity, but why go full bird? Not like this is the kind of game where you can’t have female opponents, as your heroine certainly takes more than a few hits.
  • Would I play again: This is a fun game! It is great and I like it a lot! However, a lot of the post-game content feels weirdly grindy, and… Well… There are other games that have the shoot ‘em up features I crave. Put this one down for a strong maybe.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge! Time to slice and dice with some turtle pals! Please look forward to it!

Toasty

Xenogears 05: In Chains

Soulful BlankaLet us consider what it is to be imprisoned.

Just when he had gained some small measure of contentment as a soldier fighting for the freedom of a nation, Fei Fong Wong was captured by his enemies, and detained in Nortune D Block. D Block was a prison for people from all walks of life, whether they be enemy soldiers, malcontents that threatened the safety of others, or simply those unable to afford the conveniences of modern of society. But while this area seems to be open air and “free” for its downtrodden residents, Fei is outfitted with a bomb collar that will detonate and literally blow his head off if he contravenes the rules. The message is clear: obey or die.

And so Fei is forced, against his will, to do… exactly what he always does.

First, Ricardo “Rico” Banderas attempts to establish the proverbial pecking order by forcing Fei into something like a prison Fight Club. Fei’s indomitable will triumphs, and he trounces those that would battle a man who is barely even awake. This wicked “baptismal” is then followed almost immediately by a recruitment by Imperial Battling Committee Member Rue Cohen. Rue wanted Fei to forsake his fists and once again get in the robot Weltall to (eventually) defeat Rico in Gear combat. Fei was told he would earn his freedom through this act, and that appeared to be the only way Fei would escape his unjust incarceration. In order to have any chance at a life, Fei would have to fight yet again.

And (after an unfortunate bit of sabotage on the part of the champ) Fei fights and is undefeated in the arena. Fei is an excellent martial artist and Gear pilot, so of course he is practically invincible when battling the jalopies of the local residents. This gear is the god-slayer; what hope does W-Shaver have?

This is surprisingly funBut when pilots start going missing, Fei is suspected of being a murderer. Rico, believing Fei to be seeking revenge for any one of many reasons, joins Fei in trying to find “the real killer” either thanks to a feeling of duty or a general fear that Fei is going to murder him next. And how does Fei clear his name? Why, he fights every last mutant in the sewer. Sometimes twice! Eventually, Redrum is discovered and executed for the crime of being a freaky mutant sliming his way around the underground. Was Redrum really responsible for murder? Fei believed so, so Redrum was punched into the stratosphere.

So, complete with solving (“solving”) crimes and fighting in two loose fighting tournaments, was Fei’s life on the inside any different from his existence outside those bars? No. The prison that Fei had created for himself was so much stronger than any bomb collar ever could be. It was the trappings of his own life that kept Fei bound, and he would only find true freedom when the cycle of violence ended.

After he punched about a thousand more soldiers and mutants, of course…

Even Worse Streams presents Xenogears
Night 5

Original Stream Night: February 2, 2021
Night of Battle Arena Toshinden 3

Random Notes on the Stream:

  • Welcome back to the ‘gears. Rico is Soulful Blanka, the saddest of Blankas.
  • And this turns into a history of Blanka / Street Fighter racism.
  • Caliscrub shows up early… but still misses the Blanka fight.
  • BEAT does a Paradise Lost.
  • And now… BEAT found Donald Trump fanfic. We will not discuss such further.
  • Being on stream is “like being alone, but better.” This… might be an own.
  • Hammer has glasses… no one knows why. Why do we have glasses? Nobody knows, either, but at least we can note Hammer’s first appearance.
  • And then we remember all the cartoons we ever liked are a million years old. … Also, Fei had a bomb collar removed. Sorta.
  • Fei lives in a porn universe. Just with robots. There will be no further elaboration on this fact.
  • Dangerous MindsBEAT quotes Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” That’s one of the good ones!
  • If anyone is counting how often we mention Hulk Hogan’s Pastamania, here’s another instance. Soon, we will fight in a fake fighting game.
  • Fei lost his fight due to Weltall exploding… so let’s talk about why the Ninja Turtles chose their weapons.
  • “They built a fighting game into Xenogears and nobody noticed.”
  • We insult Amazon while streaming on Twitch… this may end poorly.
  • “You wanna see something soul-rending?”
  • As we enter the sewers, we talk about the ugliest King of Fighters. I will continue to defend Max.
  • “Mychronics, what a country.”
  • No one knows the lyrics to Rico Suave. But we have to do something to stay sane in this sewer dungeon…
  • “Those are some gross dolphins, dude.”
  • Hey, this was the stream right before Boxboy + Boxgirl times.
  • This sewer is driving us apart as we argue over whether Gamecube games are any good. I am firmly pro-Double Dash.
  • We can at least agree Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time is terrible.
  • This dude is murder backwardsEveryone knows how long it took to get to Redrum. It was forever.
  • “Have you ever found Waldo? It’s a pain in the ass!” … Oh, look, we close as Elly gets her own “meanwhile”. Been a while since we saw her.

Next time on Xenogears: Fei gets early release for good explosions.

It has to be somewhere around here

FGC #641 God of War 3

Gonna war tonightHere is my idea for the perfect action game: just make 100% of a game based on 10% of God of War 3.

God of War 3 was released in 2010, so you will be forgiven for forgetting the current state of Kratos when this title first hit the Playstation 3. God of War (1) was a self-contained tale of a man that loses his family, blames the God of War, and then fights through hordes of mythical monsters to eventually grow to substantial size and murder/replace that other, equally vengeful god. But, despite this story ending on whatever is the opposite of a cliffhanger (sorry, too many Marvel movies have erased the concept of “finality” from my mind), there were multiple sequel hooks established in a host of unlockable endings. One such finale made the assertion that Kratos was aided on his quest by the almighty Zeus, and the thunder god was only so helpful because Kratos was one of his many bastard children (not going to judge here, Zeus was just not the kind of god that was fond of monogamy or protection). 2007’s God of War 2 decided to run with this thread, and the majority of that game was Kratos defying the Fates to earn an eventual confrontation with his deity daddy. But the deicide/parricide would have to wait, as Athena suffered the killing blow in place of Zeus, and the Z-Man escaped. But! Kratos was joined by the enormous and equally vengeful Titans, and GoW2 ended with the promise of a rock monster versus Mount Olympus battle that would justify the console generation upgrade. You can’t have those kinds of celestial fights on the piddling Playstation 2, mortal!

That's gotta stingSo three years later, the Playstation 3 granted us the conclusion to the Kratos(-is-super-angry) Trilogy. One thing was certain: Kratos was going to fight a lot of gods, and get all sorts of revenge on Zeus. But the in-between could be virtually anything! The God of War titles were never real time strategy games, so how would the multiple assaulting titans be handled? Would Kratos separate from them immediately? Would there be “titan-based gameplay” like what was seen in Shadow of the Colossus? Would Kratos be thrown to entirely new locales by the fury of war? Would you have the ability to summon titans to at least marginally aid in your dirty work? The possibilities were endless!

… And… well… God of War 3 was ultimately a typical God of War title. Kratos dies almost immediately, and once again must fight his way out of Hell/Hades. There are hordes of mythological monsters, and they all can be ultimately trounced by smacking the circle button until something or other is decapitated. Most of Kratos’s surrounding environments are either “magical (deadly) temple” or “generic (deadly) Grecian architecture”. There is the opportunity to participate in a sex-based mini game (this time with a goddess while also cucking a god you are about to murder). And the end of the story is exactly what everyone expected: Kratos formally overcomes his Oedipus complex by punching his father to death… even if that means the collapse of human society. Everybody, please, get over it. Kratos was working through some stuff. If half of Greece must be downed, destroyed, and exposed to a brand-new pandemic to get there, sorry, but Kratos really needed this release. If Zeus was your dad, you would be a lot more understanding.

But long before Kratos is within grappling range of Zeus, there is the start of God of War 3. And the absolute beginning of GoW3? That is one of the single best openings in gaming.

Ye GodsGod of War 3 does pick up exactly where God of War 2 left off. Kratos is literally standing on the shoulders of giants, and he is about to have a big, grand adventure assaulting all of Mount Olympus. And the trick of what happens next? It never stops. Kratos weaves his way in and out of the titans’ assault, and there is not a single moment when the screen is not shaking from a war that will ultimately shatter everything. This is still the beginning of a modern videogame, though, so there are plenty of tutorials, and the narration does seem to assume the player has never so much as pressed an X button before. But even if there are disembodied instructions for how to run following everywhere Kratos cares to go, Kratos is going places. An epic battle is raging, and Kratos is wiping the floor with the legions of heavenly warriors, monsters, and one entire god (on watery crab-horseback!). There is the prerequisite “learn how to push things” block puzzle in there, but it is snappy enough that Kratos can learn how to coddle cubes and get back to the battle in short order. And other than that? It is all battle, all the way, with Kratos utilizing all his end-game abilities from God of War 2 to cut a bloody swath across the area. And even though it feels like the war is never ending, there are still moments in there to introduce important items like save points, the Chains of Olympus, and a few glimpses of areas that will be visited much later in the game.

But whatever the details of the opening of God of War 3, the result is the same: the adrenaline is pumping, and flowing along at an amazing rate. When you are barely ever in the same spot for longer than thirty seconds without a massive flaming boulder destroying the place, you stay alert. When you are constantly fighting, using techniques that are both crushing and (visually) stunning, you are truly feeling the rage of Kratos. And you are already at maximum level from the finale of GoW2! You don’t have to so much as gaze upon a menu to power Kratos up any further. Your anti-hero is already as good as it gets, and all you need to focus on is the death of thousands by your bloody hands.

And then Kratos goes to Hell, and it all goes to hell.

Don't get stuckUpon defeating Poseidon and officially ending the prologue, Kratos falls from Olympus down to Hades. Once there, he accidentally bathes in the River Lethe, loses 90% of the acquired abilities of GoW2, and 100% of health and magic powerups. Oh, and since there is a river involved, Kratos has to swim, which is the most boring thing Kratos ever does in his opening trilogy (leaving some wiggle room here in case Dad of War ever makes swimming fun). From there, you are back to normal God of War “action”. Sure, there are epic battles again (sometimes against Titans, for a change), but it is all very… interruptible. Clear out some ghouls, and it is time to use your red orbs to power the weapon of your choice. Earn a new tool, and then you have to do a tutorial puzzle at the speed of snail to “learn” your new ability, and then perform another two puzzles just to prove you really know what you are doing with your new skill of “can run faster”. Beat a boss, and there is an inevitable refractory period where damn near nothing happens for like three screens (and maybe there is more swimming!).

Basically, once God of War 3 gets going, it frequently finds reasons to stop going. Do damn near anything, and you will be forced to pause to utilize any spoils of battle. Stop and smell the roses, Kratos. You’ll live longer.

And can you think of a worse way to spend an action game? I didn’t come here to pause! I came here to swiftly murder every mofo between here and the top of the mountain!

Even this is funSo here’s my ideal action game: just focus on that intro. Drop the leveling. Drop the pressing against every wall to find hidden health powerups. Drop any puzzle that cannot be solved outside of thirty seconds. Drop the tutorials for every new thing that comes along. Absolutely do not give a player time to “get used to” a new skill: just drop it in there, and if Kratos dies while trying to figure it out, let ‘em die. Keep the pace. Keep Kratos running, jumping, and swinging his chains around like a madman. Do not let the poor, undead godling breathe. Speed never had a twenty-minute intermission where Keanu Reeves had to navigate a skill tree, and Crank never had Jason Statham solve a crossword puzzle for a half hour. This is an action game, dammit, give me some action.

So what do I want from a new action game? The very beginning of God of War 3, and nothing. God of War 3 isn’t a bad experience, but its opening is sublime. And if we could get that, and only that, as an entire game? Well, that would make me as happy as a Kratos with a dead god-dad.

FGC #641 God of War 3

  • System: Playstation exclusive, though that may be Playstation 3 or Playstation 4. I think some of these screenshots are technically from a copy of the HD version being played on the Playstation 5. I can’t remember exactly which controller I was holding at the time…
  • Number of players: Kratos gives friends no quarter.
  • Other Offenders: On the subject of keeping the action going, while God of War 3 does not commit this particular sin, I can safely say that a “Mission Clear” grading results screen is a lack of action, too, Devil May Cry. While we’re at it, Sonic the Hedgehog is on notice.
  • I like green thingsFavorite Weapon: The Nemesis Whip is all sparkly and green, so why would you need anything more? Truth be told, I just like it because it feels like typical “Kratos whip blades” gameplay, but is just different enough to distinguish itself from the previous two games of swinging around the same stuff. Conversely, the Nemean Cestus feels appropriately bulky, but is too much of a departure from the reason I’m playing the game in the first place. You can punch out bad guys in any other game…
  • Favorite God: After lauding the opening, you might think I would choose Poseidon, the deity that caps off that section. But, truth be told, I prefer the “fight” against Hera, as she pretty much just keels over after drinking herself to death. This is an inglorious end, but I appreciate the fact that the designers did not attempt to create a three-part boss battle out of the stages of alcoholism.
  • Favorite Boss Battle: If we are going outside the gods, you have to respect the enormous fight against the gargantuan Cronos the Titan. This really feels like something that was intended to be in God of War 1, but was axed for hardware limitations. But now you can attack a giant’s thumbnail like it ain’t no thang! What more could you ask for?
  • This at least looks funStuff to do: There are a surprisingly high number of ridiculous minigames in this serious game about serious people. There is a “flying” section that seems like it would be more at home in a Sonic the Hedgehog game, some ridiculous puzzles in the labyrinth, and, of course, harp hero. I am not certain who on the design team wanted Kratos to participate in a rhythm game, but please find them, and commit Kratos upon them.
  • Did you know? Kevin Sorbo is the voice actor for a Hercules here that is very different from Sorbo’s role in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. This is being noted because any appearance by Kevin Sorbo in 2022 is tinged with a bit of… disgust.
  • Would I play again: Why not? This is the most God of War of the original God of War trilogy, so it will likely see a playthrough again before ever touching the PSP “side game”. And, hey, if I get bored, at least the best part of the game is all right there at the beginning…

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Portal 2! It’s still alive! And coming next week! Please look forward to it!

They're best friends