The spartan warrior Kratos is being plagued by memories tied into his violent past. Unable to cope with them, he hurls himself off a cliff towards the jagged rocks in the ocean. The narrative shifts back three weeks, retelling the events that had taken place in the life of the fallen warrior. -summary
God of War is among the last truly great games for the PS2, and I still remember the buzz circulating amongst fellow hardcore gamers spreading the love on their beloved masterpiece. The way this game was cherished, I could have sworn it came from the gods themselves. I mean folks toted this as the next big thing. Curiosity had indeed taken over, and I was put in the position where I had to see what all the talk was about. When I finally popped the game in, two games immediately came to mind; Devil May Cry and Ninja Gaiden. And seriously, what hardcore action gamer wouldn't want another serving of the latter at least? God of War served up one hell of a barbaric dish; that featured incredible action, fantastic cut scenes, awesome visuals, and one epic adventure. So let's take a look at what plenty had hailed as a gaming masterpiece.
God of War is a single player action game, which takes place from a third person view. The story follows Kratos as he seeks to put an end to his tormenting memories, and save the city of Athens from the God of War Aeres, who has all but destroyed the place with his legion of undead. Kratos is the ultimate asskicker, who is armed to the teeth with two blades chained to his arms. These weapons are used to dish out mean combos, which rips the enemies into pieces, and in addition to this, he is also later equipped with powerful magic attacks. These attacks can all be upgraded by obtaining essence through killing the enemies and opening up treasure chest. The action is the main selling point of the game, make no mistake about it, the game takes the action from Devil May Cry, and the offensive and defensive abilities of Ninja Gaiden, and turns them up on their head. Serious action fans will no doubt get their rocks off with this title.
The weapon and magic upgrades enhances the game play, and they help chain together massive combos for very big damage, and by the time all of your weapons and magic have reached their max levels, Kratos will become the meanest protagonist you ever seen in a game, and I thought Ryu Hayabusa was dangerous. There's also a segment that takes place in the form of a mini-game during combat. This allows the player to perform specific button presses to off enemies in style. For example, Kratos will tackle an enemy to the ground, and begin a struggle with them in an attempt to shove his blade in their mouth, and kill them with style. Another one of these segments also ends with a decapitation, there are plenty of moments like these taking place with the lesser enemies as well as bosses. I also enjoy the Greek Mythology setting, and Kratos will take on enemies of myth; such as harpies, gorgons, centaurs, minotaurs, cyclops, and even the hydra creature.
The AI is pretty tough when it comes down to the numbers game, and some of the enemies are tough on their own. It can sometimes be a hassle taking on two cyclops at the same time. Along with the gorgons (Medusa) attempting to turn you into stone, and killing you instantly by smashing you into pieces. However, Kratos is such a badass, that it's possible to own all of these creatures once you get his skills down. The only downside I can see takes place with the boss battles. They're very limited and are quite easy. I never died during one of these fights even in God Mode. This is the only part of the game I was left unsatisfied with.
Now on to the part that could either enhance or ruin the experience for some, and it's the infamous second half of the game. Once you reach a certain chapter, Kratos will begin on a quest to search for Pandora's box, as this is the only weapon capable of killing the mad god Aeres. During this very long portion, the action takes a backseat, and introduces puzzles and instant death segments that can border on ludicrous. These parts of the game which features moving platforms coupled with over-sized buzz-saws, and narrow platforms above lava, can only be completed by slowly traversing across via circus-act, tightrope walking, and this can prove to be a pain for many. This area requires way too much patience, and the player will die plenty of cheap deaths. For those who were use to the balls to the wall fierce action; this change in the game play could be quite infuriating. Personally, I liked this chapter because I felt it added to the adventure aspect of the game. I also felt this was introduced at the right time, because the hack and slash had begun to feel redundant. Overall, this portion of the game will not be liked by everyone, and I remember breathing a sigh of relief every time I finished one of these hellish obstacle courses. For me, this made up for the underwhelming boss battles, but I will admit that this portion was way too long, and slimming it down wouldn't have been a bad idea.
The story and plot unfolds during the game and it is pretty captivating, despite being very predictable. It's a toss up on how the player will feel about Kratos during the story, since he comes off as such an evil human being. The cut scenes and the narration portions are spread nicely apart, therefore, the game play isn't effected at all.
These are the most fluid controls for an action game I thought at the time since Ninja Gaiden for the X-Box. Everything is incredibly responsive and moves with a smooth fluidity. The left analog stick guides Kratos, while the right performs a roll, the directional pad controls 4 different magics, that can be used by pressing one of the four directions. The buttons control strikes, jumps, and even a grab move. It's very easy to perform combos with the blades, and the player can access the moves list by pressing start, and selecting the weapon to see the moves list. The controls really don't have a learning curve, but they do take time to master, and I believe most serious gamers will be racking up combos in the hundreds eventually.
The visuals are awesome, there's just no other real way to put it. The PS2 was no doubt pushed to its limit, and anyone with a keen eye will be able to see that. The character designs are amazing all around, and the animation is outstanding. The characters motions appear so natural, and watching Kratos in action is never boring. Surprisingly, I don't even find Kratos to be the most visually impressive, that honor has to go to the Hydra monster in the first boss battle; the dark setting, and the overall look of the creature is just breath taking. This also goes for the segment before Pandora's Temple. There's this really cool moment of a giant, literally carrying the temple on his back, and it's just amazing to watch. I also enjoyed many of the camera moments, with some really cool close ups, panning, and zoom outs during times when Kratos is descending spiral staircases.
The Greek setting has some amazing backgrounds with some destroyed homes, and I loved the use of lighting for the darker settings. There's even a stage with near-zero visibility due to the hazy sand which looks so cool. I also loved the stage when Kratos must fight his way out of Hades, and you will see the falling souls screaming in the background going straight to hell. The awesomeness doesn't stop there, as the player is treated to some magnificent cut scenes full of bloody violence and great voice acting.
The only issue that I have with the graphics is not being able to control the camera. This is something Ninja Gaiden did very well, by giving the player the ability to center the camera. Many cheap deaths occurred for me, simply because it took time to get used to the area. Had it been possible to control the camera, these segments wouldn't have been so difficult.
I thought the sound effects were awesome too, with at least one key moment that should be mentioned. There's one area with some nice fade ins and fade outs, that takes place when looking for these three creatures called the Sirens. This stage has no music at all, and the player must listen for the singing tunes of the Sirens, which begins really low key until you finally creep up on them. And if you can't get into the epic music score, then you just don't like music. Everything screams listen to me, and the BGM fits perfectly with the style of the game.
This is one area that will only appeal to the serious fan of the game, who must feel it necessary to complete the harder modes. I can see anyone putting the game down forever once they finished it, simply because of those murderous obstacle courses, that can and will grate on anyone's nerves. Personally, I'm putting this game down forever, because I got my fill of it.
I do consider God of War one of the last great games for the PS2. As an action game, it definitely delivers and the blood thirsty will love it for the brutal violence. It also has the adventure portion down, even though some out there may find it to be unsatisfying. If you never played the game, then you're missing out on one of the best ever.
Pros: -Amazing visuals, music score, sound effects, voice acting -Over the top action -High challenge -Very tight controls
GOD OF WAR opens with a cut scene showing the main character of the story, a Spartan warrior named Kratos, jumping off of the highest mountain in Athens saying that the gods have rejected him. The game then rewinds to a time period three weeks earlier. Kratos is aboard a ship that is attacked by the Hydra. Later Kratos is sent on a grand journey to save the city of Athens from Ares who is attacking the city and reigning destruction upon it. Kratos' mission takes him through Athens, into the desert, … more
"God of War" has finally pushed the envelope a little too far and has created a game that is completely unsuitable for children. While the game is very fun, and challenging, it has included too much gratutious violence and even (gasp) nudity for my tastes. While I don't exect every game to be watered down to the level of "Kingdom Hearts" (a game that has similar game play), I also don't expect to see slow motion decapitations. Honestly, the added violence adds nothing to … more
Unleash the power of the Gods and embark on a merciless quest as Kratos, an ex-Spartan warrior driven to destroy Ares, the God of War. Armed with lethal double chainblades, Kratos must carve through mythology's darkest creatures - including Medusa, Cyclops, the Hydra and more, while solving intricate puzzles in breathtaking environments. Driven by pure revenge, nothing can stop Kratos from achieving absolution.