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by Eric Kravcik

13 May 2010

This discussion of God of War 3 contains spoilers.

Unlike the previous two games in the series, God of War 3 finally confronts Kratos in a more substantial way, especially the result of living a life filtered through the eye of revenge.  Cover art can sometimes give an insight into a developer’s artistic intentions and Sony Santa Monica decided to make a statement by dismissing Kratos’s backside (as seen on the boxes of the previous two games) and decided to concentrate solely on representing his eye.  It is said that the eye is seen as the entrance to the soul, and that through this window, we can see what kind of person someone is.  This emphasis on the eye foreshadows a difference in the way that we will feel about and perceive Kratos once his saga comes to an end.

At the start of the game, there is an emphasis on perspective and scale as Kratos is climbing up the back of a Titan on his path to Mount Olympus.  The way that the camera pulls in and out to showcase the sense of scale is nothing new, but the fight that comes shortly after with Poseidon introduces a new perspective on this protagonist.  After completing a familiar series of quick-time events, we eventually come face to face with Poseidon. Only this time, we see the world through Poseidon’s eyes.  From this perspective, we see the brutality that Kratos inflicts on others with no remorse or sense of morality.  At the climax of this encounter, we are instructed to poke out our (Poseidon’s) own eyes.  If you thought that Kratos was on your side, then you should rethink your position.  Kratos doesn’t care who he has to kill, even the one responsible for his success thus far (the player).  The end of the battle leaves Kratos covered in the blood of a character whose perspective you, the player, have been seeing from. In a sense, he has murdered how you perceive him from now on.

by Nick Dinicola

29 Jan 2010

So finally, Dragon Age: Origins offers an open ended, branching narrative without a karma system. This is something that gamers have long asked for from BioWare, a company known for making games that focus on choice and consequence. We know our actions have consequences because we see those consequences play out in the plot and character development. This combination of a branching narrative and plot related consequence is so effective at making our decisions feel significant that at times it seems like every little choice that we make will have a dire impact on the world. But what’s most remarkable about Dragon Age is how it can create this feeling of importance in us, and then take it all away when we actually get to see the long term effects of our actions.

There’s no explicit morality attached to our choices, and the story reinforces this ambiguity by putting us in situations that seemingly have no easy solution. A child is possessed by a demon. Do we kill the child or sacrifice his mother to kill the demon? This moral ambiguity makes any consequence more meaningful to the player since we’re not doing what the game thinks is best, but what we think is best. We’re not influenced by outside forces when making a decision, it seems.

//Mixed media

Con Brio: The Best New Live Band in America?

// Notes from the Road

"There’s a preciousness to McCarter and the rest of the mostly young band. You want to freeze the moment, to make sure they are taking it all in too. Because it’s going to change.

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