After listening to the album Illinois, I had the feeling that there should, perhaps, be some kind of licensing requirement for instrument ownership. Playing God of War II gave us a similar feeling. This isn’t entirely fair, and I’m aware of that, but the power of the game on an artistic and technical level constitutes a challenge to an entire industry.
Part of it is probably the sheer scale of the events you are taking part in. Kratos is literally pruning the Greek pantheon as he prowls from game to game. Deactivating them omnipresent warheads or averting global conflict should motivate, and deeply, but God of War’s brutality has a spiritual dimension that the stock metanarrative which runs through so many games doesn’t have. You aren’t fighting with your best blood in order to simply retain the status quo. Every time you swing a sword, you are shifting an epoch.
Even solving a simple puzzle in God of War II is a savage affair that affirms your apostate rage! Everything is united: This was all true in God of War, and now the thematic stakes are even higher. New gameplay twists and inhumane finishing animations reaffirm that this is a franchise without peer.
One of the attack vectors against Sony is that they moved slowly and this caused them to lose many exclusives. Even at the dizzy height of my rage against them, I never found this line of reasoning especially compelling. Even hearing that Metal Gear might go to a Microsoft system - and it’s not as though there’s no precedent - doesn’t especially shock me. To be honest, I would be happy if this game appeared on less than one platform. But for the longtime gaming enthusiast, what Sony can deliver as a first party has the power to compel - and this was before they started siphoning the cream of independent game development. Think seriously about the franchises and teams they represent, and then ask yourself how Nintendo is considered the king of in-house development.
You’re in for a shock going back to the old system, graphically I mean, but I am pleased to announce that this shock is of a short duration. I felt my stomach roil for a period of (I believe) five minutes, after which epic feats of art direction and animation began to assert themselves. Eventually, it just looks like your screen is dirty.
When Final Fantasy XII was released, we were told that the Playstation 2’s swan song had arrived, and then when Rogue Galaxy dropped, we were told again that we were sending this draped hero to eternity on a smouldering pyre. Now God of War II is available at retail, and we are being offered the same narrative. I wonder if it will be any more true this time.