By the Gods!
Yes, we know that God of War II is already out and kickin’ ass with all its superb thrills and features. But its first installment, the same that appeared two years ago, still hasn’t lost its allure and is still rightfully considered as one of the best action adventure games ever created. As Zeus said, “Don’t play GoW II without playing this first installment!” Nah, maybe not.
An enraged and insane God of War named Ares is ruthlessly destroying every city in his path. Bound by mighty Zeus’ law prohibiting the divine siblings to engage in a direct clash, the Gods of Olympus can do nothing to stop all this mayhem and destruction. Mortal pleas remain unanswered as their patron cities are burning and people are slaughtered. And then came the chosen one; the man tasked to obtain the power of the gods and kill the murderous deity.
Enter Kratos, a bloodthirsty, merciless Spartan general who lives only to conquer. He kills enemies without hesitation, burning everything that he comes across, only to have his reign of terror terminated when he suffers a bitter and brutal defeat at the hands of barbarians. Near death, Kratos summons Ares and sells him his soul, binding himself to the god as a servant. Then, mutilated bodies brushed aside, Kratos rises from the corpses of allies and foes and begins his newfound life doing his new master’s bidding.
Released in March 2005, God of War was a hit. You should not consider yourself a gamer if you haven’t played it; even less so if you’ve never actually heard of it. But, what is it that makes GoW so special besides the sexual innuendos, gore, blood, torn limbs, and thrown corpses? Well, read on…
Smooth and flawless, that’s what this game is. The developers have created a very impressive engine that defines GoW’s environment to the minutest detail. Thanks to that, players have the chance to sightsee while controlling our hero. From ancient ruins, intricate hallways and burning cities to mighty statues of heroes and gods, expect sharp detail. Every stage is a stunning piece of art.
Another great thing to note and probably something all games should feature is the elimination or reduction of loading times. GoW’s quick loading and non-lagging system allows you to concentrate on mutilating, slashing and dismembering hordes of enemies without suffering latency or slow performance.
Battles are all fast paced and players can create their own attack patterns while swinging those crafty chain-daggers (or wachamacallits) rather than the more conventional sword. Along the way, Kratos meets different gods and gets access to new powers and abilities, provided he has enough orbs to purchase them. Orbs can be extracted from enemies. Oh, and killing is beneficial, too.
As for the controls, well, they are PERFECT. You can combine “heavy” and “light” attacks with “magic” and “special” attacks. Kratos can even execute such combos in mid-air without any problems. Killing large bosses? No problem either. The game is brilliantly designed to allow Kratos to execute amusing moves to defeat the huge guys, while making sure the player doesn’t lose track of our protagonist, who is apparently dwarfed by most bosses.
What’s unique to Kratos as a character is that he is not on his quest to fight for any noble cause like the typical hero would be. He is selfish, murderous and quite definitely mad. The plot itself is twisted, so our character blends in perfectly. One reason why people are attracted to him is because of his dark side. He doesn’t care much if innocent people get slaughtered or cities get burned down.
The quest for Pandora’s Box, the only artifact that can defeat Ares, and the game’s goal, is not a walk in the park. Kratos must face monsters of all types and sizes. From the common skeletons to the hulking Cyclops, he must overcome those hordes single-handedly. But the game is not all about fighting. Puzzles are scattered everywhere. You need to combine wits, agility and instinct to properly navigate the map and complete your goals.
Don’t be afraid of large bosses; the developers were wise (and kind) enough to include “finishing moves” in a way that Kratos will use everything in the surroundings (and his arsenal) to finish and/or deal massive damage to the enemy. These include a series of buttons to be pressed, rotating the analog stick or just good ol’ button mashing. The prompt to initiate said “finishing moves” appears only when sufficient damage has been dealt to the beast.
I personally hate the game’s puzzles. But the sheer entertainment value of the game just overcame the boredom of finding a stupid key and or enduring through mundane tasks of the ilk. Actually, the puzzles are not that hard. And, thoroughly checking out places in order to uncover the clues and solutions is just plain rewarding.
If God of War is ever made into a movie, I am sure it will be a major box office hit. The musical score if perfect both during battles and while casually exploring. It’s not all about a shiny exterior though, as the excellent gameplay helps create a really impressive and gory whole. Blood gushes out on every slash wound, body parts fly off when a critical blow has been inflicted; you name it. The CG scenes are just stunning too and you can be fully absorbed in the ancient land that Kratos traverses.
God of War is a major achievement in the action-adventure genre. Not even Chaos Legion or Drakengard comes close, and as the world slips into the hands of a savage warrior, expect a lot more than a handful of death and destruction. A must-have for any PS2 owner.
Stunning graphics, fine and rich details
Great musical score adds intensity and breathes life into the gam
Controls respond beautifully. Players can combine different attacks in order to maximize their damaging capabilities.
Getting familiar with the game is not difficult. Easy to control and pretty much won’t challenge your common sense.
Finishing the game once unlocks a lot of extras including super hard mode. Players may find repeating the game more than twice is not that exciting anymore.