Just admit it. You really don’t care about God Of War’s narrative. Really? When have players been invested in stories or storylines in the action/adventure genre? The love of God Of War are mostly for the combat, graphics and detailed environment, and maybe some voice acting. Also, Kratos saying boy.
I have seen many older players not give a flip about narrative in games. I had a consumer who didn’t want to buy games if it contained reading. READING. To him, God of War doesn’t exist because it’s not simple enough and he’ll be forced to hear and watch the game plays out. Of course, no matter what was being advised and recommended, he’s one in a million of picky players.
Of course, the RPG community would look at players who love GoW story and be puzzled. Stories in RPG have dealt with many themes and evolved but yet still be ignored by many. You love the relationship of Kratos and Arteus? How about you come and try out Tales of Symphonia? I think most will refuse due to the mechanics RPG consist of. Yet, why does one get praise for its narrative and the other is ignored?
The RPG community understands themes. Not so much for the Action/Adventure crowd. Most will meet in the middle because of Mass Effect 2 (and don’t act like it hasn’t). God Of War, for some, has raised the bar in storytelling. I think it lowered it and at times, match it. How come? The grandiose and scope that these cinematic visuals in God of War capture you before dropping you back into the game. Which is fine. It has to keep repeating that in order to heighten the experience. Not one can’t stop grabbing your attention. In RPG’s, there tends to be a balance where certain story points don’t have to be forced but express the moment that is presented to you. It helps develop the characters and maybe explain their action which can give that character a chance to change. In God of War, we never see that because what about Kratos and Arteus changes with any big moments presented to you in the main quest?
Yes, during the adventure, things about Arteus grows. Kratos still has to be protective and deadly to survive. Kratos opens up too late to be honest and with using that close to a certain point, it doesn’t become effective or plays any significant part. It’s part of the narrative but it won’t last long with the player. With RPG’s, things have to build at times when a secret comes into and when it’s revealed, it has to be utilized and effective. Most times, in RPG’s, it becomes a familiar twist.
In my honest opinion, as great as God Of War is, effective narrative belongs to The Last Guardian. Nothing is explained to you but you look for the narrative and interact to see how strong a relationship between two things can be. Most will see that as babysitting and since you don’t have to do it in God Of War, the story-driven sections are easy to consume. Since GoW is a take on Norse Mythology, that world can easily be used as its foundation and insert the creator interpretation if this fictional world was mixed in another fictional world. Which is great and acceptable.
When its all said and done, what part of that narrative though, will people take from it? Can it change how parenting is perceived? We still talk about sacrifice and death in games. It’s part of the story and theme. Final Fantasy VII raised that bar. Mass Effect raised that bar. Horizon Zero Dawn raised that bar. God Of War just places that expectancy.
Not to knock God Of War having raised the bar for anything but it didn’t do it for its narrative. It may raise it for Sony’s games only, but not for different genres in general. There have been stronger narratives that get ignored because of other problems or parts of a game that get called out. Since God Of War encaptured the players with the other parts, the narrative gets a pass because those parts being executed very well. If God Of War did do one narrative part right, it should’ve been able to be done in various ways throughout its adventure.