Reviews Comments: Complete Monster: The Game

Complete Monster: The Game
I'm going to make this review short and to the point: I cannot stand God of War. I've always seen it as a self-important, needlessly mean-spirited series that desperately tries to be Rated M For Manly. The series fails in this regard, if not every regard. The only thing I can really compliment the series for is its mechanics, and even they are not unique.

The game's writers try to make Kratos seem like a Byronic hero, a bad ass who rages against the system that has taken everything from him. In theory, this could make for an interesting character; I'm reminded of Guts from Berserk, who fits a similar mold but is ultimately far more sympathetic — he's aware of his flaws, but has trouble overcoming them, and he tries to do the right thing despite the brutality it may involve. Kratos, on the other hand, is more like an unintentional parody of this trope: he has no redeeming qualities, he's incredibly selfish, he's childish, he slaughters innocent people, and he manipulates other victims of the gods. This last point is especially troubling, because it shows what a hypocrite Kratos is. I doubt the creators meant to portray our "hero" this way, but it's interesting that Kratos spends the whole series wangsting about how the gods betrayed him and trying to get revenge for the things (he believes) they've done to him, and yet he has no qualms with murdering people who are trying to achieve the same goal, or are simply trying to survive the horrible circumstances they've been given.

Apart from Kratos' Complete Monster status, there's also the rampant sexism prevalent in the series. Yes, I know that women (and men) were heavily sexualized in Greek mythology, and are often portrayed as nude or semi-nude; however, in a series that strays so far from the source material that it might as well change the names of the mythological figures, I won't accept that it's "being true to the source." Female characters rarely wear more than panties (or the Grecian version thereof) or a shift. I would be more accepting of this if the men were just as sexualized (after all, it is Ancient Greece).

In the end, God of War is an ultraviolent foray into an adolescent boy's fantasies, where the hero treats other people like garbage, kills for the hell of it, is an all-around Marty Stu, and doesn't have to answer for his misdeeds.


Alternate title: "I Don't Care About This Protagonist: The Game."
comment #15958 Fleming 29th Aug 12
^That is how I pretty much felt. Gameplay's decent, but Kratos is awful.
comment #15959 Scardoll 29th Aug 12
All I want to know about is the meaning of that "self-important" line.
comment #15961 VeryMelon 29th Aug 12
Wait, I thought Kratos is supposed to be like that. That he is pretty much a satire of anti-heroes.
comment #19366 Strejda 15th May 13
It feels like this review is describing GOW 3 Kratos only. In the first two games, he's not manipulating or killing for the hell of it (unless you decide to grab some npc and gut him for health).

Now, for GOW 3

"I doubt the creators meant to portray our "hero" this way"

I think they did in fact mean to, and they're pretty good about having other characters call him out on his blind rage. And its not until the end, when he has nothing left to kill, that he's left to realize all the shit he caused.

As for the women, the only ones who wear anything less than panties are the ones you can "choose" to sex up.
comment #19493 MrMouse 22nd May 13
Extra Credits had an interesting poitn about Kratos: in the first game, he was pretty much your standard tragic Greek hero, one who was willing to do terrible things for absolution, but ultimately denied it and forced to confront the monster he was. And then they threw all that way in the sequel...
comment #19496 dragonfire5000 23rd May 13
The guy goes through a fair bit. He brought it on himself by asking Ares for power, but he's forced into killing his family with his own hands, and is asked to put an end to the god for being a rogue - and the one thing he was asking for this deed doesn't go to him. He asked if he would forget the deeds he'd been tricked into, and Athena dodges the question to trick him into doing the gods' dirty work. even when he tries to commit suicide, he's stopped by the gods and made the new God of War.

His characterization suffers in the sequels, but each time something shitty goes down. In 2, he's depowered by Zeus for helping Sparta conquer Greece (Rhodes in that case, not a city you want to sack if you fear the gods) - after being pushed away by the other gods, essentially, because he was from the mortal plane. Sparta is crushed by Zeus, and Kratos kills the last other Spartan without realizing. He learns that he's Zeus' son, and kills the only other goddess sympathetic to him.

then in 3, the Titans who promise to help him gain revenge on the gods for fucking him over in turn fuck him over. The guy can't catch a break at all; there's no-one who'll treat him as anything higher than a tool. And in the end, he realizes just how much he's screwed up. He sees just how horrible his rage has made the world - and hey, the one person who showed him compassion is using him too. He attempts to kill himself again, And may have even failed at that.

the guy isn't just killing for pleasure, he's killing because he's just being used as a pawn - and he's absolutely sick of it. He brought it on himself by asking for the power or Ares, but he did not deserve to be lied to by everyone just so they could advance their own agendas. His actions are understandable, and his rage is somewhat justified - even if killing the Greek Pantheon was the wrong direction to take.
comment #19504 MrMallard 24th May 13
Notice that Kratos also usually doesn't kill if he can avoid it, as it's the instances he has to fight heroes, demigods, etc. like Hercules, and even gods like are on less deadly terms. However if some horrible deed is needed to solve a puzzle and pass he wont hesitate, and sure he's a monster for doing it, but as seen by the memoirs of architects, the deities are the fucked up ones that made that ordered these places built. Kratos just shows what happens when one hero (yes hero) gets fed up with the arms race the gods have with one another using people lower on the scale as the tools, and how even with or without divine reason this so called heroes actually looked to everyone but their own side.
comment #19506 marcellX 24th May 13
"Kratos doesn't kill if he can avoid it"

Didn't he drop that guy into the hydra's mouth right at the beginning of the first game?
comment #19524 Scardoll 24th May 13
"Kratos also usually doesn't kill if he can avoid it"
comment #19525 marcellX 24th May 13
I must say, I love this review. I always hated Kratos myself.
comment #19529 BonsaiForest 25th May 13
Kratos is an asshole, but he was never completely devoid of redeeming qualities even at his very worst.

Ascension: This was actually Kratos at his most sympathetic. First it's revealed that he HAD been screwed over by Ares. Ares tricked him into murdering his own family (and if Tisiphone is to be believed may well have made sure that they would be caught in the crossfire. He did this both to "cleanse" Kratos of his "weakness" and to complete the final blood trial that would bind Kratos to Ares's will. After Orkos and Kratos becomes friends, Kratos is reluctant to kill Orkos even when Orkos asks him (doing it only as an act of mercy.)

Chains of Olympus: Gave up any chance to be with his daughter to save the world from Persephone and Atlas

God of War I:

In the case of the captain he was after the guy's key so that he could save the women in the cabin from the monsters. He also expresses disgust at Ares's atrocities, and also goes out of his way to help save others.

God of War II: Is genuinelly horrified by his accidental killing of Athena (in fact Zues, who K Ratos has spent the entire game trying to exact revenge upon is able to flee because Kratos is distracted trying to tend to Athena.

God of War III: For most of the game he is indeed an asshole. After meeting Pandora he does finally start to change for the better. Even though he's well aware that achieving his revenge will require sacrificing her, he chooses not to do it because he's come to care for her. While he did ultimately do it, it was a choice made in the heat of anger that he regretted instantly. He expressed disgust that pandora died because of his need to get revenge, and his suicide is to try and give humanity the power of hope.

In essence, he's not a nice guy. But in the end he does get called out, and in GOW III finally accepts responsibility

comment #19575 DARTHYAN 30th May 13
If that was supposed to be excusing him throwing the captain inside the mouth for no reason, then it was a bad excuse. :P
comment #19578 kay4today 30th May 13
It wasn't. But it shows that he wasn't devoid of redeeming qualities. He did have a regard for human life, and a part of his quest stemmed from genuine guilt over his crimes. and not just because his boss fucked him over. He does take responsibility in three, after being forced to choose between killing someone he has come to care for and getting revenge. Even when hephestus tried to kill him Kratos flat out stated that he did what any father would have done. He could easily have saved the captain too, but it wasn't entirely "horr horr i'm gonna walk in and throw him in. He actually did want to save people on the ship.
comment #19580 DARTHYAN 30th May 13
To be fair, the captain had it coming. He locked a bunch of women in his quarters to go down with his ship while he tried to flee; he could have easily tried to help them or even just left the door unlocked so they could try to escape - but no, like an asshole, he locked them in. That's why Kratos threw the captain into the Hydra's stomach.
comment #19583 MrMallard 30th May 13
Wut. I don't remember that at all. The only thing I remember was him and the other crewmembers attempting to fight the Hydra, but then were swallowed.
comment #19586 kay4today 31st May 13
It was a while since I've played it, but he locks the door to the cab of the ship and goes off, and you sort of follow him to get to the Hydra - it's the only corridor to the Hydra after all. When you kill it, you walk into its mouth and find the captain who's holding the unique key for the cabin door, which Kratos takes. As a punishment for locking innocents in the ship, Kratos kicks him into the Hydra's stomach and sails the ship to port with the girls.

I'm assuming they wanted to rush to a lifeboat and get off the ship or something like that, but even if that's not the case I still insist the captain was an asshole for locking innocent women (well, combucines or however you spell it) into the cab of a distressed ship, with no way to get out should the ship sink. At least if they were free they could cling to a bit of driftwood in the event of the ship sinking, if they're locked in that room they're almost certainly going to drown.
comment #19588 MrMallard 31st May 13
You're totally misusing the term "Complete Monster"
comment #22442 Codafett 9th Dec 13
Also this whole review is just kinda maddening. You clearly don't like God of War, but you review it as though you're an expert.

You have no comprehension of what a Complete Monster is, Kratos may not be a great guy but he is in no way a Complete Monster. While he may not show it, he has redeeming qualities, he honors his promises, he genuinely cares for people who are good to him, and he's fiercely loyal to Sparta.

And as for him being an overly aggressive nut, he was born and raised in ANCIENT SPARTA. There was never a chance for him to turn into pacifistic nice guy.
comment #22443 Codafett 9th Dec 13
"You clearly don't like God of War, but you review it as though you're an expert."

You need to like something to have a valid opinion of it? Also if he has redeeming qualities, but may not show them, how is anyone supposed to know that they exist?

I don't honestly think that Kratos is a complete monster either, but if there was a scale of monstrosity, he'd only be one step above it. His positive qualities don't redeem the negative ones - he kills people (sometimes innocent) if they annoy him, if it would be helpful to him if they died, or if he's just in a bad mood at the time. He's petty, bloodthirsty, brings most of his problems on himself and constantly blames others for any mistakes he makes. But I don't think this makes him a bad character, it makes him very interesting, because his douchebaggery is matched only by his self-loathing - why should he not act like an irredeemable monster if he believes he is one?

The only big problem I see with Kratos is that he's an interesting character who acts incredibly inconsistently due to a terribly-written game script.
comment #22456 Elmo3000 10th Dec 13

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