Disclaimer: The following is a repost of a comment I made, with a more fleshed out premise, as well as crappy photo editing. Its also going to upset a few people. Have a nice day.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. God of War is terrible. As a game it's pretty solid, but it's just so impossible for me to get into it. Aside from Marcus from Gears of War(What is it with these games that have War at the end of the title?) Kratos is the ultimate embodiment of what insecure twelve-year-old boys wish they were. Normally it's not terribly hard to get past an unsettling presentation of a video game, but it's so prevalent and constant I literally couldn't get past it when playing the games. It's like walking into a creepy kid dreaming about what he wants to be when he grows up; completely masturbatory and immature.
Kratos's so called hyper masculinity is a complete joke. I'm still unsure if he's supposed to be an antihero or a villain protagonist considering how the games glorify Kratos's love of murdering gods, monsters, and priceless artifacts. Kratos is a complete Marty Stu. He's just a wish fulfillment for the people who actually think this kind of thing is cool. While people can say the point is that his brutality and heartlessness are his flaws, they aren't a character's flaw if they are how he manages to accomplish anything and everything he does. Its only really lead to his downfall once, and to be honest I don't think he really cared about the death of his wife and kid, just the nightmares it caused him.
I'm not really against violent or amoral characters, and there isn't anything wrong with making a antihero or villain protagonist interesting and even sympathetic, and enjoying the bad things they do as characters, but the way Kratos's faux machismo is portrayed and how it's the one and only reason why anyone even likes him is just creepy to me. I can't stress the "walking into a creepy 12-year-old's wet dream about what he wants to grow up into" enough. It's so pervasive that every time I've played one of the games I felt like showering afterwards.
I'm always shouting the praises of Legacy of Kain series, a lot of it has to do with its main characters. Kain and Raziel are the gold standard of how you make a video game antiheroes. Kain is a smug bastard, merciless, arrogant but has a good sense of humor and irony and is revealed to be more caring as the games progress. Raziel, however, is the perfect comparison to Kratos. Raziel shares a similar theme to Kratos, one of revenge, fighting fate, self discovery, redemption, and sacrifice. A huge difference is how its presented, and shown. Raziel wasn't a nice guy in any of his previous lives, but his subsequent execution by Kain is extreme, brutal, and gut retching. And it takes place all in the span of a two to three minute intro cut scene. This is an obvious and easy way of making Kain, the previous protagonist of the first game, a dislikable character, and to make the players sincerely want to defeat him. Raziel is on a roaring rampage of revenge
, just like Kratos is. He mercilessly kills his brothers and their vampiric children, to the point where he annihilates every vampire in Nosgoth aside from Kain.
The biggest difference is how the characters are fleshed out and what they do from game to game. Raziel is out for revenge, but only particularly in the first game. But see, this isn't the only thing he does and cares about. Throughout each of the games, Raziel meets new characters, and treats each of them differently depending on how he actually feels about them. If he has no reason to dislike or distrust them, he treats them with respect. This brings up the fact that revenge isn't and all he was or ever is. In addition, he makes new discoveries of his past and about the world and its people along his journey that subtly or radically change his perceptions and thinking, with a new theme each game. When a protagonist struggles, and overcome obstacles, meeting and losing new people they care about along the way, they grow a little. This is called character arc, and it is something Kratos doesn't really have. The only real change he makes is his sudden and ridiculous decision to care about what happens to the world, with nothing that really builds up to his death in any way to indicate that he'd ever be willing to die for it. Raziel on the other hand, had his eventual sacrifice for the fate of the world built up throughout the course of three games.
Why do people like Kratos? Because they think he's cool. Why do they think he's cool? Because he does nothing more than kill things really spectacularly. And despite what the game's other characters might say about him, his brutality isn't really a character fault, it's his one and only strength, the theme of him being this perfect awesome manly dude that everyone should want to be because of it is a constant in the games. Raziel on the other hand, does have faults. He is impulsive, and unable to understand whats going on around him, which leads to him failing several things spectacularly even though he was honestly trying to do good. Kratos is what we call a one dimensional character, and his only character trait is something I find laughable in its immaturity, blatant pandering, and bullshit. Raziel on the other hand is a three dimensional character, is dynamic, and changes throughout his journey, all while being sympathetic and likable as a human being and just as brutal as Kratos is. This is why intelligent people like Raziel, while only twelve-year-olds like Kratos.
I do not apologize for the pun.
Am I wrong in this thinking? The constant stream of bullshit faux machismo in the God of War series is undeniable, but as a gamer does this make me wrong in my thinking? Is my dislike of the game's themes and main character to the point of me disliking the game reasonable? I think so. I do honestly believe that everyone has a limit of what they can personally stand from a video game as far as presentation goes. If there was a game where you played as a serial rapist with a chainsaw dick, who fights against evil baby eating women, would you really want to play that even if it was a fantastic game? I'm not faulting you if you would, but everyone has a limit somewhere.
LOOK WHO CAME:
Discarded Couch Sandwich 1