If Euripides, Eumenides! I’m shocked that this one hasn’t already been covered in Have You Played, given that it appears on our Best Management Games Ever list, but this does mean that I get to be the one writing it now. Zeus: Master of Olympus (frequently now bundled as Acropolis with its expansion Poseidon: Master of Atlantis) is, and will probably forever remain, one of my most treasured games, let alone the specifics of genre. It carries the perfect balance of beauty, difficulty, detail, and puns. They’re Ancient Greek puns, too. In Zeus your role is to build the great city states like Athens. This means you must not only contend with the usual headaches of city planning (fire, earthquakes, plague) but also some suitably Grecian ones (citizens like to have good access to theatres and philosophers), as well as the threats of myth made literal. These will often stand in the way of your victory goals. You need to mine a load of marble? Stick this hydra in your … [Read more...] about Have You Played… Zeus: Master of Olympus?
It all started so simply. In the original God of War, you piloted the wrathful, ashen-skinned Spartan Kratos as he tore through beasts and gods ripped from the pages of Edith Hamilton’s classic Mythology on his way to enact vengeance on the titular Ares, stopping only to deliver grim monologues about the tragic loss of his wife and child. Now, after the ensuing avalanche of sequels, prequels and side stories, the saga of Kratos’ star-crossed life has become as tangled and complex as the mythic tales that inspired the world he’s inhabited. And though the upcoming PlayStation 4 follow-up does its best to leave the lyres and winged chariots of fantasy ancient Greece in the rearview mirror, here’s a quick primer on all the major revelations from the previous games, and how they shaped the angry antihero at the helm. As revealed in 2007’s God of War 2 and the 2010 PlayStation Portable entry God of War: Ghost of Sparta, Kratos was born in the Greek city-state of … [Read more...] about God of War: The story to date
The "home depot axe", Sony Santa Monica nicknamed it during development, and for all the grandness of the title and the arcane butchery it facilitates, the new God of War's Leviathan Axe can indeed seem rather homely. It's an enchanted weapon, whirring back to your fist like a well-trained falcon after you hurl it across a clearing, just the thing when you need to shorten a giant or pin a Draugr to a wall. But with its worn leather handle and mottled blade, it also looks like something you might chop up kindling with in a quieter moment, something that might gather dust in a corner between outbreaks of deicide. The axe says a lot in a little about Sony Santa Monica's attempt to defuse and humanise its protagonist, a shark-white hulk of scar tissue last seen punching his own father and thereby all of Ancient Greek civilisation to death in the wreckage of Mount Olympus. It's a tool of destruction, and you will do things with it that are every bit as eye-watering as in the previous games, … [Read more...] about Remembering the original God of War trilogy’s biggest hooks
NetherRealm and Warner Bros.’ Injustice 2 makes its way into the hands of gamers and comics fans today. The sequel to the 2013 hit Injustice: Gods Among Us takes place in an alternate world where the Joker tricked Superman into killing Lois Lane, so Superman murders him and becomes a fascist dictator — and things only get wilder from there. If all of that sounds ridiculous, that’s because ... yeah, it is. Luckily, we’ve got a handy recap of all the power players in this relatively new universe. Here, it’s divided into three sections: the five years between the game’s prologue and Injustice: Gods Among Us; the major events of the original game itself; and the gap between it and Injustice 2. Pre-Gods Among Us Our story begins, as previously mentioned, with the Joker duping Superman into killing Lois Lane. The Clown Prince of Crime uses Scarecrow’s fear toxin, combined with kryptonite, to gas the Man of Steel into thinking that Lois is Doomsday, … [Read more...] about DC Universe’s Injustice series and its weird, wild backstory
Do you remember the first time you realized Kratos might just be an asshole? When the original God of War came out for PlayStation 2, I was a 19-year-old freshman in college, and my reaction to meeting protagonist Kratos was one of wide-eyed astonishment. I thought he was a badass, an unstoppable, rage-driven killing machine with just a touch of angst that I found novel. By the time God of War 2 was released in 2007, I was deep into my college life and didn’t have as much time for games. But remembering how much I enjoyed the original, I found a few weekends to devote to the sequel. While I loved the game, I found myself increasingly less invested in the story and character of Kratos, despite having liked him so much initially. God of War 3 was then released for PlayStation 3 in 2010. I was 24, done with college and in a full-time job — albeit one based around video games. I was eager to finish the trilogy and see my time with Kratos come to a satisfying conclusion. By … [Read more...] about God of War: the quest to redeem Kratos