Published on March 9th, 2013 | by Malcolm Spinedi16
Should We Be Mad at God of War?
God of War: Ascension is not even out yet, and it’s already surrounded in controversy. Heck, myself and Joe Garcia had a talk about God of War on the last episode of the Firmware Update Podcast. The God of War franchise, known for being so violent that it’s almost torture porn, has a upset a large chunk of the gaming community thanks to a trophy. The story broke thanks to reviews from multiple websites for the upcoming title. Most notable of these are Arthur Gies in his God of War: Ascension review for Polygon, and Adam Sessler’s video review for Rev3 (video below).
The controversy comes after a boss fight with one of the Furies, the main antagonists in God of War: Ascension. After you defeat her, Kratos proceeds to kill her slowly. Now I will admit I haven’t seen the footage, but Arthur did describe it as having “an almost pornographic level of intimacy to the violence here that pushed things too far for me”. Now despite this viscious assault, this is not the issue that people are having. The problem comes about 45 seconds later, when you get a God of War trophy. The title of said God of War Trophy is “Bros before Hos”.
The rub comes from the last word there “ho”. Adam Sessler went on to call the trophy “a gut punch of misogyny” that turned the game into a “frat house joke.” We now have a pretty epic discussion on the topic all over the internet. As I’ve heard this explained, the use of the word ho to describe the antagonist pushed it too far. Once again, it was not the act of beating the woman, but rather the act describing the female antagonist after the fact. The name of the trophy has brought the topic of sexism into the limelight, and even hurt the overall scores for God of War: Ascension on several of those reviews.
While the topic of sexism in video games is a topic that should be discussed; is this God of War trophy as bad as many are making it out to be? Is this really so bad that the latest sequel should lose points? I’m going to argue no.
Number one and probably most importantly, let’s remember this is God of War. Actually no, more appropriately it’s God of War 6. Quick refresher, this is one of the most testosterone filled franchises out there. This isn’t even the first instance of violence against a woman, as you toss a maiden of Poseidon in a grinder to keep a door open in GoW3. Now it’s not like Kratos focuses on women with violence; he does worse with men.
Heck, sex is a mini-game in God of War! Mermaids, Maidens and even Aphrodite herself have all been “conquests” of Kratos during the series while no one even batted an eyelash; many even thought that this was cool. It seems it’s a little hypocritical.
My point is this: You don’t go into a Porn Theater, and then complain about the sticky floor. God of War has been pushing the envelope with itself with every game. So when Anthur Gies says the trophy made “it all just seemed gross and disturbing and unnecessary,” I have to question how much of the previous five God of Wars he played. Games that included:
1. Ripping off Helio’s head.
2. Gouging out Poseidon’s eyes, and seeing it through Poseidon’s perspective.
3. Multiple instances of sex (though off-camera)
So I have to ask, what were people expecting when they popped the disc in the PS3? That it was suddenly going to gain a moral code? You knew what God of War’s environment was like, why is it suddenly being viewed like this?
Also I think people are taking this trophy completely out of context. What if that trophy is tied to a storyline event? For instance, Kratos’ relationship with the Spartan Army is a key part of the story. What if the fight with the Fury was to save or protect his army? The description of the trophy was “Escape the Fury Ambush”, so what if the “Fury Ambush” was an attack on the Spartan Army and Kratos was defending them? Or what if during the confrontation with the Fury, she offers Kratos unlimited power, or something similar, if he surrendered his armies? Would either instance not work better with the name of the trophy? Once again, I haven’t played the game yet, so I don’t know if I am correct or not. However, maybe if the reviewers spent less time focusing on one word and more on the details, I’d have an idea.
Now as mentioned, the Furies are the antagonists here. Here’s a picture of one of them.
So let’s get one thing straight… The Furies are not human. Quick backstory, the Furies are essentially these deities that are so powerful they operate outside of the Gods. They target Kratos because he welched on his deal with Ares and proceed to capture and torture him to make him pay for it. In fact, the God of War demo begins in the mists of said torture session between Kratos and one of the Furies. Who knows how long Kratos was tortured here? My point here is that there is storyline reason for why Kratos hates the Furies and treats them as equally as anyone else he seeks revenge on. There is a reason to be angry with them, and yes, call them a bad name. Was the name gender specific? Yes, but who cares? Not women, or at least any of the ones I’ve talked to. It does seem like the ones who are angry are all guys. So why is there an uproar when the group that it’s supposedly slighting doesn’t even care? Point is, it’s not aimed at women at large but rather 3 specific ones.
As I said, these Furies aren’t human. Look at the above picture; you can tell they aren’t human. However, the one you fight for the trophy looks close to a full human, so people who talk about the character treat her as if she’s a human and the trophy is calling her ho for no reason. Despite the fact God of War: Ascension builds up the Furies as monsters, people are choosing to forget the fact she’s a monster and treating her like a victim for being called a name. A name which really isn’t all that high on the totem pole of offensive remarks. In fact in many circles, it’s a joke. Point is, she’s not a victim. She’s a character who kidnaps and tortures the main character, and has killed many people. Being called a ho is actually the least of what comes kharma-wise.
BTW, speaking of Ho being a joke saying in some circles…
Going a little off topic, am I the only one who finds people’s priorities in this argument a bit off? Let me get this straight, they have no issues with the actual violence towards the Fury, but the name calling itself. Think about this for a second: It’s fine to brutally batter a woman, but calling them a name is too far?
I want to say, the people’s hearts are in the right place here. Adam Sessler and Arthur Gies (as well as others) thought God of War was being offensive. But if you’re really upset, please ask yourself why. If it’s because its demeaning, violent, or whatever… it’s God of War. That’s what God of War is know for and if you’re attacking it for that, than that isn’t being fair to the franchise. Are you mad because the Fury was a woman and you should never call them that? What if I told you, in thinking that, you are in fact a bit sexist? Here me out. By thinking this, you are saying that you are thinking of the character as a women first. You’re not acknowledging her personality, backstory, or what defines her as a character. You’re not even acknowledging the crimes she committed or the fact that she is in fact an monster, no different than a cyclops. You’re only acknowledging the character is a woman, and that is the most dominating characteristic to you. Which considering the argument, is kind of ironic.
Seriously if you want to strike a blow for women in video games, there are better battles to fight than with God of War. DOA and Dragon’s Crown come to mind. Otherwise, I think God of War is fine for what it is. But what do you guys think? You see where I’m coming from or you think God of War is the devil? Leave a comment and tell me what you think.