The profound evolution of “Dad of War”


Evolution is such a subjective word these days.

In a prime example, bands Paramore and Linkin Park have stirred chaos with their latest albums, After Laughter and One More Light, respectively, which had nothing to do with rock or nu-metal sounds. The new sounds have divided fans like the Red Sea. One side are on denial of the change, and the other side of fandom, the ones who love the band as they are and not for their sound, have defended this as “mature” and an “evolution.” It’s funny how these things were considered “mature” but that’s a different matter. But, as an evolution, that’s a little tricky. When you say “evolution” it’s supposed to mean they have transformed into something better, picking up old set pieces that worked and amplifying it with something newer that would turn it to gold.

Evolution is, when Agumon turns into Greymon to MetalGreymon and then WarGreymon. It’s the same procedure for Charmander reaching its final stages as Charizard, with a Mega Form as an epic encore. 

Then again, the tyrannosaurus rex is believed to be the ancient form of a chicken, and has evolved into humans’ happy meals in order to accommodate its own shrinking food supplies. Evolution is an adaptation to the environment, and if we look at it this way, no one can deny the commercial success of pop music, and so does that mean both Paramore and Linkin Park are… sellouts?

In any regard, the newest God of War happens to be the videogame equivalent of Paramore and Linkin Park, because the change of style and gameplay has been so drastic, it’s cleaving people from head to groin. 

When God of War was first released in 2005, it was the height of fast-paced and aggressive hack-and-slash trend jettisoned by Devil May Cry in 2001. It was gritty and violent. It gave you a simple story, Kratos, the game’s anti-hero, is pissed at the god of war, Ares, and so sets out for revenge. Instead of wild exploration – and exploration, we mean backtracking ten billion times like in DMC – God of War gave you puzzles, which served as breathers between the carnage sessions. It gave you amazing sceneries and epic moments delivered through Quick Time Events. I will always remember in God of War II where you had to swing between a series crumbling pillars. Try swinging through that Nathan Drake! 

In short, it was a violent action game done right. But the times have changed. Devil May Cry is nothing more today than a distant echo of the past just like all the classics we yearn to return some day. And God of War: Ascension had been a valiant effort to keep on milking the franchise, but after six games of encountering the same exact gameplay with the same exact length with some whatever excuse to strip Kratos off his powers and equipment, things do get stale a little. The game has an 80% Metacritic score, the lowest ever in the franchise, despite having being a really cool game that basically did everything what the first five games did.

Developers needed to consider other options. Today that seems to be two things: Combat and exploration. The latest trend that many developers love copying is Dark Souls, first released in 2011. And every since that game blew way out of its head, tiny shreds of Dark Souls DNA has been scattered throughout various games: Nioh, Lords of the Fallen, Salt and Sanctuary, and even The Legend of Zelda: Breathe of the Wild are primary examples.

As seen in the trailers the new God of War has a different combat mechanic. Instead of an angled top-down view, we get a full 360-degree camera controlled view. We see Kratos having his axe ready in one arm and a raised shield in the other. This lets us know combat mechanics will cater some similarities to Dark Souls, in a more, thread carefully approach. And yet, we see in the same trailer how Kratos takes on multiple enemies, swinging his axe like a rabid mountain man and doing cool stuff with it. What does this mean? We’re playing the same aggressive hack-and-slash game, only with actually new weapons with new tricks that encourage a more tactical approach. It’s old school God of War with the addition of newer, cooler stuff to turn it gold. Or at least, hopes to turn it gold.

In 2005 God of War was deemed mature because of its high-level of violence, gore, and the mini-game that required you to knock a vase off the table. Today, the new game is being considered mature for its sophistication and dad elements, where Kratos now looks after a young boy. Kratos now stands among the “Sad Dads,” next to Joel, Booker, and Logan. And there’s usually one way how the dad makes it out in the end.

But it’s so much more than that. The possible tactical approach in combat is the developers telling everyone how the games have gone “mature” and how it has evolved in the times today after six games since all the way from 2005. Let’s also chuck in that scene in the trailer, where the World Serpent appears, and Kratos, instead of going full berserk mode, asks, “What is it saying?” Kratos has aged and has gained wisdom, learning to speak first before cracking skulls. Well, maybe not exactly, we’ll find out next year.

It has also confirmed that the controversial mini-games—you know, the ones where you need to topple a vase, make a peeing statue pee harder, and, well, bang a goddess of sex—will not return to the game. The developers are letting people know that this game is no longer a game for bros who are into bloody action and boobs, especially with the height of gender roles in games, films, and in the community, are being scrutinized and criticized. If you want to check out boobs, there’s Google for that, and if you want the same bloody action again, there are six other God of War games out there.

For Honor gets Open Beta

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I just received a press release from Ubisoft. I’d write a more proper article but oh, I have this headache.

Anyway, I first ran into Ubisoft’s “For Honor” at E3 2015. I was with a group of other games journalists from Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. And they were all crazy about this game and none of us could get a decent schedule to view it because there was just so many people to wanted to check it out.

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For Honor Closed Beta Peaked at #1 Streamed Game on Twitch on the First Day

 Ubisoft announced that the “For Honor” Open Beta will be available to all players from February 9 to February 12 on current-gen consoles and PC. Prior to the Open Beta and to continue the War of the Factions, Ubisoft will dispatch some of the fiercest warriors including Lauren Cohan, Jason Momoa, Alfie Allen and Demetrious Johnson, as well as several of the top Twitch streamers to pledge their swords in a live For Honor battle taking place on Tuesday, February 7 at 11:00 p.m. CET Paris Time. This live War of the Factions competition, which will showcase the new Elimination mode, will be livestreamed on the For Honor Twitch channel.

For Honor Open Beta Trailer

Players can continue to hone their skills on the battlefield by joining the For Honor open beta from February 9 to February 12. This beta will include the new Elimination mode, a best of five rounds four-versus-four match with no respawns. Elimination joins three additional modes playable in the open beta including Dominion, Brawl and Duel, and nine playable Heroes. At launch, For Honor will feature twelve playable Heroes and five different multiplayer modes.

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The War of the Factions will continue into the open beta giving more players a chance to fight for one of the three Factions – Knights, Samurai and Vikings. Following the closed beta, the Vikings led the War of the Factions, which pulled data from the performance of players across all three platforms. Although the Vikings are currently in the lead, Samurai and Knight players have the chance to lead their Faction to victory during the open beta and earn rewards when “For Honor” launches on February 14, 2017. (Just in time for Valentine’s Day! Yay!)

Here are the details for the Open Beta.

Dark Souls 3

Much thanks to the YouTube peeps called The Know for spreading the good word. But seriously, can we really believe them that these are actually leaks, and not intended to hype us up? I’m on the latter. But that’s besides the point. Dark Souls 3 is believed to be release next year and a lot of people prolly just shit their pants.

I’m not going to repeat what they’ve “leaked,” as several other websites have already did. Instead, I’ll just pour out some of my thoughts that no one would ever give a damn.

10 Starting Classes

They make it sound as if it’s a big deal. Personally, it isn’t. We’re definitely getting a knight, a sorcerer, a cleric, maybe a pyromancer comeback. Unless they’ve decided to follow Bloodborne’s unique take classes.

12 Locations

Now this is interesting. Locations throughout From Software games have been incredible and fascinating. Rich with lore and dark places to explore, such as New Londo, Heide’s Tower of Flame, and so forth. And in the latest-gen console, we can expect these 12 to be huge and much bigger than the original Dark Souls will ever be.

15 New Bosses

Sounds too few, eh? Dark Souls 2 had a shit ton of bosses, many of them are humanoid douche bags. Bloodborne bosses were, interesting, lore-wise and detail in design, but for some reason they’re missing that flare . Let’s face it, without bias or prejudice, Dark Souls 1 had the best bosses throughout the whole Soul series and Bloodborne. Artorias, Sif, Manus, Gwyn, amazing lore, amazing background music, and an amazing boss to ogle at — I’m looking at you, Quelaag.

45 New Enemies

Those better not be re-skinned hollowed farmers, knights of something-something, and ultra sized machete-wielding trolls. Please, please, make them unique.

60 Minutes of Cutscenes

This, for some reason, seems to be bothering people. From Soft’s games have always delved into minimalist structure, and the one hour worth of in-engine cutscenes makes it sound more story-driven than ever. That has never been the strength of the series we love so much, it’s the minimalist storytelling where the entire community works together to piece the entire puzzle is what gives us this illusion of sophistication that’s so fucking alluring. A story slapped on our faces, doesn’t sound good, indeed. But, I don’t know, maybe each boss will get an intro and we will get to appreciate the locations more when first introduced in a cutscene. Let’s assume each boss and location get a 30-second intro. My math is horrible but I count about 12 minutes at most… yeah, there’s still a lot of time there. Game intro will probably have at least 5 minutes, and we’ll probably get 2 endings with 5 minutes each at most. That’s about 28 minutes total. Some people have speculated that NPCs will get their own cutscene intros. We might as well assume that some bosses might be able to change forms mid-battle and get a cutscene for it. Then there are 15-30 seconds of trigger events. So yeah, I don’t think there’s anything to worry about here.

Something about Sacrifices

Okay, this one actually sounds cool. Dragging bodies and sacrificing them to create bonfires and invade other worlds sounds a whole lot more interesting than just writing “Help Me” on the floor. From this point on, we don’t really know anything and due to the lack of info, I can’t think of anything cool, I just know it will be damn it! Creating bonfires sounds fishy, almost as if to dare players into some trap. This leads me to believe that there are no permanent bonfires throughout the game. We create one bonfire, we’ll keep respawning there, until the next bonfire is made. Or maybe, restarting the game after quitting, would extinguish the bonfire — forcing us to stay in the game without reloading. It’s possible then, restarting after a quit would take us back to a bonfire, instead of the spot we saved and quit. Makes sense since players have been known to exploit save and quit tricks to get out of nasty spots and access shortcuts. It’s almost a nod from the developers, “You don’t fuck with us, we fuck with you.”

Heat Up

Speculation is that Heat Up is similar to Demon’s Souls World Tendencies. How you progressed through the game, would affect certain things. In this case, switching bosses. If this were the case, it works as an advantage for players who cannot beat a boss. Though I imagine the process would be painful. You know how From Soft’s “Risk and Reward” philosophy. It’s also possible that Heat Up is just a term, where bosses actually have a second form — whether they go morphin’ time with low health or they get a new filled up health bar right after the first one depletes to zero — which would be a bullshit experience. Their redeeming factor would be the rematch the boss starts in its second form. And NG+ totally screws that over. But, we’ll see.

Sword Fighting Arts

Basically, we get melee magic, or, actually skills — as in, RPG term “Skill.” This could make the game easier, since, we have a whole new trick up our sleeves. At the same time, it’s worrying how difficult the game will be with the inclusion of this.

What we can hope to expect

— A half-nude chick attached to some morbid motherfucking insect/arachnid.

— Expect handicap matches. Two-in-ones like the Throne Watcher and Defender, Ornstein and Smough, Maneaters and Gargoyle, or three-in-ones like the Ruin Sentinels or the cleverly named Shadows of Yharnam. It’s going to be a bitch if From Soft has come up with something far sinister than anything mentioned so far.

— An epic one-on-one final or penultimate boss battle against a human. Let’s look back a bit, Demon’s Souls had fake Allant, Darky 1 had Gwyn, Darky 2… I don’t know, I’m going to say the Burnt Ivory King. Bloody had Gehrman, or however you spell it.

— A great, vast world, and the more we explore, the smaller it becomes, making it even more awesome.

— More information is believed to be revealed in E3 next week. I will be there. I just hope my sponsors would allow me to wander, and I hope for Wi-Fi access.

— Prepare to die.