Recently, I purchased a Playstation 3, a TV, and the God of War trilogy (among other games). After playing Prototype, a game that’s too fun for its own good, I decided to dive right into playing God of War. Though I’m not terribly keen on my inability to change the camera angle in-game, it’s still a ton of fun.
What struck me most about the game, though, was the story. Without going too in-depth and letting loose a stream of spoilers, I just want to say that it’s very Greek. Yes, I said it. It’s very Greek.
What do I mean by that?
Let’s do a little backstory here. We’re going to take a trip back to my childhood when I’d go to the library and devour mythology books. I had a particular fondness for Greek and Norse mythology. Sure, I got the sanitized kid versions of the story and didn’t know just how. . .interesting things could get. Still, it didn’t take a classicist to draw thematic parallels between different Greek tales.
From Jason to Odysseus and Theseus to Hercules, there are a lot of common elements in Greek mythology. There are petty gods whose whims dictate the lives of others and heroes brought down by their own hubris. No matter the greatness of their deeds, their defeats are partly their own making and partly the whim of the Olympus-dwellers.
The story of Kratos in the God of War games follows that same literary tradition. Kratos is plagued by his own hubris and the will of the gods of Olympus. The games follow his journey. The fact that the game developers decided to stay true to the thematic origins of the source material they were using just makes me so very happy in my mythology loving nerdy place.
This is one of the things that many people don’t understand about video games. They’re not just pointless pieces of fluff used to while away the hours and distract the masses. They’re just another link in the long cultural legacy chain. Game developers and writers are pulling from the stories and tales that have been told for centuries. That’s one of the things that makes them awesome.
Also, Kratos is a badass who’s fun to play.
And I can SKYJACK HELICOPTERS in Prototype!!!!!!