Jaffe: GoW Was Never "Some Amazing Combat Simulator"
Well, this ought to generate plenty of discussion amongst the action aficionados.
If you've been following along with David Jaffe's railing against EA Louse at the designer's blog, you might've already stumbled upon this; if not, Spong stumbled upon it for you. In the comments beneath Jaffe's rant against the soon-to-be infamous EA Louse, a poster named Matthew said- "...to this day God of War series is mired in clunky, poorly automated combat (dodge on the right analog stick lol) and anyone with a clue considers Bayonetta, Devil May Cry, or Ninja Gaiden to have far superior controls and combat mechanics."
Now, that right there is enough to raise the ire of fans and one might think Jaffe would defend his creation - God of War - with great gusto. But you might be surprised at his reply:
"Matheww, you miss the point. We were not trying to go head to head with those games. ANYONE can see the pure technique involved in those games- or games like Bayonetta- blows the doors off GOD OF WAR. They are SUPPOSED to! In GOD OF WAR our goal was to get the player to feel like they were on an adventure that was easy to play, had cool scenarios, puzzles, platforming, etc.
The goal was NEVER to be some amazing combat simulator. Your reaction proves my point: you may not LIKE GOD OF WAR but you don't even stop to think that perhaps there are other goals and ways of doing things, not JUST the ones you like. And if you look at the GOD OF WAR sales compared to those games you mention, clearly- at least from a sales standpoint- we did something right."
Okay, well, here's our two cents on the issue- Jaffe's last point is the most important. While what he says is true, the God of War franchise outstrips the others simply due to better overall quality; each title is almost flawless in design and execution, which is why GoW will always stand head-and-shoulders above NG, DMC and Bayonetta. We do remember telling you Bayonetta had the deepest, most accomplished combat mechanic of the generation (which Jaffe may agree with), but we wouldn't even give the Xbox 360 version as high a score as any GoW. We doubt any critic would.
The point is that GoW's combat isn't broken. Far from it. It's actually pretty close to perfect for what it attempts to achieve. It strives to be both engaging and accessible, and allows us to appreciate other aspects of the production; aspects the developers likely put more effort into than in any DMC or NG title. This all being said, it's interesting to hear how Jaffe separates action experiences into "battle simulators" and non-battle simulators; we always thought it was relatively clear but apparently, it needed clarification.
10/15/2010 10:03:49 AM Ben Dutka