Review by bbears
"Truly Awe Inspiring"
INTRO: My tag line says Truly Awe Inspiring your probably wondering if I really mean that or if I'm only adding to massive amount of hype adding up for this game. Well I must say that this is one of the top 3 games for this console. Why you ask? GoW may not have the most original gameplay ever given to us, but it pulls everything off to perfection. So what is GoW? GoW is an action game much in like of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and even the Legend of Zelda series.....with buckets of blood and a touch of nudity thrown that is. The heavy action is complemented by a healthy dose of puzzles. Good puzzles too, ones that make you think and make perfect relevance to the game. With that said time to on with my review, now stop reading and go out and buy this game!
GRAPHICS: Gorgeous, best sums up GoW in one word. When my friend came over to play with me after watching an FMV he actually said wow. The FMVs themselves look like their paintings. Completely seamless with an abundance of detail and a touch of realism. The in game graphics will bring back wistful memories of the MGS2. Everything is detailed much beyond what you would expect. There is actually featurettes about the making of the enemies and the environments to show how much effort went into this game. The environments are enormous and huge to say the least. The sense of scale portrayed in this game is unlike anything you have ever seen. The enemies are all recognizable from Greek mythos but unique too. The minotaurs are the coolest looking in my opinion. Every enemy also has a least one animated death sequence, some are pretty hardcore like ripping a guy in half with your bare hands! This of course adds another layer on the badass meter. With all this great design you think they could have made Ares look badass to right? But instead we get some giant with girly looking glow in the dark golden hair. Anyways the only real complaint I have is the framerate will give a little cough when you get 15 enemies screen, which if you can't accept that you're a tad on the anal retentive side. Oh and by the way, the load screens are also seamlessly built into the game looking almost like slowdown in the frame rate, but its not. Pretty impressive for load screens to be nothing more than a blip in the middle of the action.
SOUND: Like the graphics the sound is on an epic scale. The music is really is fantastic, featuring Greek sounding scores that add flair and tension by the bundle. All the music is very well suited and cuts off when you would want it to. The voice acting is also top notch. The actress that plays the future teller in Chronicles of Riddick (the movie) plays sort of a narrator, which really helps set the tone during the incredible FMVs. Kratos and Ares play out their parts with realistic emotion and passion. This is truly one of the most dramatic games ever. There aren't any other characters that really have any major lines but the sound effects from all creatures and characters sound very good too.
CONTROLS: Crisp, responsive, and original best describe GoW. With a fairly large combat system at hand, button sequences can get fairly intricate. There are also mini games that require quick button selections. All of this is pulled off without any problem or lag. In fact GoW probably features the most responsive block of any game, EVER. Mastering this is key to mastering the game and God mode. Of course I do have one complaint though, BUTTON SMASHING AARGHHH!! I am absolutely horrible at this game skill. But some enemy death sequences require this. For example the Minotaur has one of the coolest death scenes, but you must smash O as fast as you can. In my opinion this is THE hardest thing to do in the game. Fortunately you skip these by just pummeling them with your blades of chaos.
STORY: Most action games don't typically put much effort into stories of action games. But of course GoW rises above the rest and delivers a completely original story in a fascinating environment of Greek mythology. Without giving any spoilers the basic plot is you are Kratos, a great pale skinned warrior revered and feared (hey that rhymed!) throughout ancient Greece. The game starts with Kratos about to jump off a cliff but right before he reaches the bottom we get a flashback to 3 weeks earlier where he battles the hydra and an undead army on a ship in the Aegean Sea. This is where your adventure begins, the game tells the story with well scripted flashbacks that slowly tell who you are. The flair and timing of the FMVs help deliver an amazing level intensity to the game. But basically the short version is you want to kill Ares, but you will meet a variety of gods Greek beasts. And the big catcher is only Pandora's Box can kill a god, which of course is far away and heavily guarded. One of the best scripted games ever, up there with Metal Gear Solid and The Thing.
REPLAY: Again the amount of extras put into the game show the sheer effort made to make this a great title. There are about half a dozen featurettes about the making of the game. The cool thing is you will want to actually watch them to see all the amazing concept work and where this game came from. Two trailers are also available from the get go. A few different messages show you different bits of plot and of course set up the sequel. There is even a completely (and randomly) hidden phone number hidden in the game, when you call it (toll free) gives you a hilarious message. There is supposed to be another thing like this but I have no idea where it is. The one I found involves destroying two certain statues. On top of all this multiple alternate costumes are available, they actually affect the game. GoW gives you a plethora (big word of the day) of reasons to play again. The best part is you would want to anyways! Despite all of this in this day and age you need either online or multiplayer, but I can live without it.
GAMEPLAY: The true genius of GoW is shown here, as it should be in the gameplay. Like I said earlier this game probably relates most closely to Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, but also differs greatly. At its most basic form GoW is a hack and slash with puzzles. The action is played out most heavily with Kratos Blades of Chaos. These dual fisted swords are available from the start of the game. They are swords with chains on them that are permanently burned onto Kratos. Kratos uses the chains to swing the blades in wide arcing attacks to inflict some rather easy but powerful combos. The entire combat system even though wide open is incredibly user friendly. Blocking and dodging are necessary skills to be successful in GoW. But thankfully GoW features maybe the most responsive block in all of gaming history. Kratos will also gain several magic attacks and even another blade from the gods as he progresses in the game. All of these special attacks have different moments when they are best used, giving a strategic element to the combat. For example, the practically useless Medusa head turns out to be very effective against minotaurs. Another interesting part of the action is the mini games. The mini games take place after you have sufficiently weakened an enemy. On screen button sequences appear over the enemies head involving either sequences or button smashing. This also plays a huge role in boss fights. The enemies great in design are also introduced very well. You will fight a new enemy one on one for the first meeting. After beating it you are given a wave of the new enemy. This lets you progressively build up your strategy to defeat all enemies, a very nice touch. The puzzles are actually fun too, not just some meaningless side thing needed to progress. Many require some intuitive thought to complete. But all can be solved after exploring the environment and actually are believable to the cause of the game. The platforming sections are the only part that is tedious. The game puts you in several guess and check situations, these are the only parts of the game that can be considered frustrating. Pandora's Temple is a huge circular area that spins every time you progress the game opening new doors. The scale of these types of puzzles remind me of Legacy of Kain and contribute to the epic feeling of the game. The only complaint I have is God Mode and Challenge of the Gods are almost stupidly hard.
BOTTOM LINE: GO BUY THIS GAME! Seriously, this isn't just PS2's best action adventure game, this one of best games of all time, period. No game will give better presentation than GoW and the game features a unique and fun combat system. Really this is a game that all mature audiences will love, so go NOW!
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 04/25/05
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