I saw “300” over the weekend … and I just got “God of War II” in the mail this morning. If I were to experience both in the same day, I’m pretty sure I would try to rally everybody in the movie theater and lay siege to the Italian restaurant nearby. That’s what material like this does to people.
I think part of the reason so many people fell in love with the first “God of War” and are gushing about “300” is the same reason people liked the wrestler Goldberg in his prime, or “Gladiator” when it was released in theaters: People just like things that live up to their ideal of the inner badass.
This isn’t to be confused with the inner “thug” — the thug usually preys on the defenseless or helpless. Lots of times, you don’t even see the thug coming. With the vintage badass, there’s no fear of the numbers or how “good” an adversary is. The badass doesn’t care if you see him coming, because in the end, there’s nothing you can do about it anyway.
And in an entertainment sense, that’s empowering. It’s a different kind of satisfaction … you foil a missle plot with Sam Fisher and you can feel proud of your skill and patience. With Kratos, the satisfaction comes with administering merciless, what’s-my-name beatings to hordes of creatures or putting an angry giant on the ground with extreme, bloody prejudice. Kratos allows the player to feel invincible and nasty, appealing to the snarling dog that I think is in everybody to some degree.
That doesn’t mean I’m going to be an apologist for the game’s flaws — the combos are a little too easy to do, and I still thought the game was dangerously close to being considered short. I just didn’t really notice it — I was too busy being The Man.
Well, I’m off to be semi-godlike. Blades up.