God of War

excellent
key review info
  • Game: God of War
  • Platform: Playstation
  • Gamepad support: N/a
  • Reviewed on:
  • Written by:
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This doesn't feel like a game. It feels more like an action movie from Hollywood and the first impression is total shock. If you think this is just another title for the "entertainment console" from Sony then you have another thing coming.

Story:
This is one of the strongest points. Not many games can have your attention from second one. The beginning is frightening. You are Kratos, a champion for the gods of Olympus. They have abandoned you, so you now stand on a cliff ready to jump. Life has no meaning without their approval and compassion.

A woman's voice accompanies you. She tells the story of a great warrior that wasn't always like this and sends you back in time, three weeks before your final act, to see what really happened.

The action shifts from a high speed collision with some pointy rocks to a ship in the Aegean See, in the midst of a battle between a crippled fleet and the mighty Kraken.

Apparently you are in route to Athens to stop and maybe kill a god, Ares, who is besieging the city. Zeus forbade the other gods from fighting each other, so Ares has no opposition and is about to conquer it.

Gameplay:
You are practically a hitman for Olympus. Champion is just another name so you don't feel awful when you take the heads of the ones standing in your way. Kratos is the kind of guy that leaves the company of two beautiful naked ladies, reconquers Athens all by himself, and return to his duties.

Let's draw a short inventory: one mean looking red tattoo covering your whole body, one big pack of muscles for killing creatures 100 times your size, two swords/blades attached to your body with chains so you can say "hi" long before the other ones even consider saluting you. Let's not forget the ability to use the power of different gods when bloody weapons aren't convincing anymore.

I also have to mention his other gift. Kratos takes the enemies' life energy to use it for his own survival. It's not fair but back then there were tough times. This energy replaces the mana concept present in other games so every enemy you kill gives you either "mana" or life, depending on his origin, earthly or magical.

You got a unique view of Kratos. It's not third person because you can't move the camera and it's not isometric because you sometimes stand right in the back of the character. The closest comparison would be with Resident Evil but on a much larger scale.

There are the usual attacks: simple, heavy and various combinations of both. The other one is magic attack like fire and lighting but are not really as useful as they are beautiful.

His attacks are mostly deadly and you feel pretty much invincible, but the true pleasure comes from the battles with the big boys and I'm not talking here about final level bosses. Sometimes you encounter enemies so powerful that it will require a lot of effort and some special moves to kill them.

What is truly innovating (but for some reason it doesn't really seem like a new concept) is the finishing combos that Kratos is able to perform. Let's take the example of the Hydra, which will remain in your memory as one of the greatest boss battles you ever fought. After weakening your opponent (in this case its heads) you don't just butcher them. You have to do it in style. A small sign appears on the screen represented by the button you have to push on the controller. Kratos will perform a pre-scripted action like jumping on the monster's head and blinding him, one eye at a time. After that you will be required to press repeatedly a certain button so you can impale the creature on the main mast.

There are some usual enemies that have to be killed this way, like the fearsome minotaurs in the burning Athens.

What really makes this game fun to play isn't the mindless killing. It's the intelligent mindless killing. As a player you are often required to use you mind not just your fingers.

Concept:
The principle is simple. Take a god killer and make a great game. Someone might think this hasn't been done before, but he would be wrong. So what sets this game apart from the others? Probably the dark atmosphere, because you could never imagine Olympus and the ancient world being so cruel and unforgiving.

The other reason this is such a good game is the main character. He is so well designed, I have troubles trying to find another one so well defined and with so much finesse and brutality hidden just underneath the skin.

A possible reason is the storyline. No one tried to kill a god before. It's something you don't do, but now you have just the right guy to do it. Every chapter flows slowly and has ties in others.

All and all, it's a fabulous game you cannot miss.

Video:
I think this is the top of what Playstation 2 can do. It looks so good that a PC port would look better than some games released today. Please keep in mind that PS2 is almost six years old.

The main character is quite well built with a lot of polygons to make him muscular without the rough edgeds we're used to see in console games. Even from a distance you can spot his tattoo on a 21 inch TV set.

The first impression you have is that it cannot look that good. You don't expect to be hit in the face with thousands of polygons but the surroundings are very well detailed, with walls covered in blood, corpses and small elements that show just how much work was put in this title.

Sound:
Rattling chains means someone is going to die. They really sound so deadly. Even Kratos' voice tells of things to come. His weapons' sounds are exactly how they should be.

Beautiful coral music gives a lot of depth to the story and a soundtrack that appears to be written 2000 years ago makes a 300 watt system cry its heart out.

Multiplayer: N/A

Conclusion:
After playing Kratos, I want to be Kratos. This 250 pound dude has it all. Glory, women and the grace of gods. What could you want more?

This is in the top five games for Playstation 2 for me. I can't remember the last game I had so much fun with. This is a great title with the potential of becoming a gigantic movie. Do NOT miss this!!!


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story 10
gameplay 9
concept 10
graphics 10
audio 9
multiplayer 0
final rating 9.5
Editor's review
excellent
 
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