'Stray Gods: The Role-Playing Musical' inspired by Greek mythology - Catholic Courier
This is an image from the video game “Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical.” This is an image from the video game “Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical.” The OSV News classification, A-III -- adults. It is not rated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board. (OSV News photo by Humble)

‘Stray Gods: The Role-Playing Musical’ inspired by Greek mythology

(OSV News) — Greek mythology continues to fascinate both the producers and consumers of modern-day entertainment. Its many tales and characters seem perpetually fresh, and their re-use tethers us to a rich literary past. Gamers will find a case in point in “Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical” (Humble).

Players control directionless college dropout Grace (voice of Laura Bailey). An aspiring singer, Grace is drifting through life in the company of her best friend and bandmate, Freddie (voice of Janina Gavankar), when she’s overtaken by supernatural events.

In a stroke of bizarre good fortune, Grace suddenly inherits the powers of the last muse, Calliope (voice of Ashley Johnson). The bad news is that some of the gods of Olympus – led by Athena (voice of Felicia Day), the personification of wisdom – become convinced that Grace murdered her benefactress.

Athena allows Grace seven days to collect evidence and prove her innocence. Some of Athena’s fellow deities offer the accused their help – but others remain skeptical.

Marshaling one of Calliope’s capabilities, Grace can cause potential witnesses in the case to sing their true feelings. The narrative makes it clear, however, that this is an exercise of inspiration, not compulsion. Armed with this ability, Grace retraces Calliope’s last steps to uncover the truth.

Pacing her crime-solving quest with romance, Grace has four potential love interests. In an apparent bid for sexual hipness, they include not only the male Olympians Apollo (voice of Troy Baker) and Pan (voice of Khary Payton) but female Freddie and the embodiment of springtime, Hades’ abducted wife Persephone (voice of Mary Elizabeth McGlynn).

These daliances are at least somewhat innocuous, culminating as they do in a kissing scene at the end of the game. They are also completely optional. Taken together with the handful of vulgar terms that crop up in the dialogue, though, the presence of same-sex subplots clearly renders “Stray Gods” unsuitable for young people.

‘Stray Gods’ contains comic book-style animation

Mature gamers will likely appreciate the degree to which they can shape both Grace’s personality and her story’s soundtrack. Thus they can have her react in ways that make her seem charismatic and charming, clinical and clever or hot-tempered and headstrong.

These decisions, moreover, influence the lyrics that follow and even the genre of the music. Harsher attitudes adopted on Grace’s behalf, for example, result in a harder-core rock n’ roll or rap beat.

The comic book-style animation, with its rich illustrations, is striking. Additionally, the use of this approach helps to blunt the impact of the mayhem in which Grace is sometimes involved, so that it comes across as cartoonish rather than graphic.

With its detailed character development and the wide array of choices it presents to players, “Stray Gods” will engross those grown gamers for whom it’s acceptable. While avoiding plotlines out of keeping with scriptural values, they can enjoy singing along with Grace and following her detective work as well.

Playable on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch and PC.

The game contains nonbiblical religious themes, mild, mostly stylized violence with some blood effects, brief but benignly viewed lesbian activity and fleeting rough language. The OSV News classification is A-III — adults. Not rated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

Adele Chapline Smith reviews video games for OSV News.

Tags: Game Reviews
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