Review by German Dragon
"God of War is a god among games"
Now if you watch TV, read magazines, or visit any game related site, you must have heard of God of War; A game that came out of no where, and gained prestige, like a snowball rolling down a hill. It was advertised to deliver an insanely violent, and overtly sexual experience, with deep and fluid gameplay. God of War, is a rare game that not only lives up to the hype it receives, but completely shatters all expectations for it by delivering one of the best experiences in gaming, in the last three years. This game truly is that good.
As the game's title may suggest, the concept of God of War is based highly on Greek mythology. Through the course of the game, you'll encounter many influences, ranging from the architecture to the famous monsters like the Cyclopes and the Minotaur, and of course, the god of war himself, Ares. Many of the other Greek Gods play a role as well. However, the game's plot, and characters have not been restricted in the least upon stories of the past. The plot takes liberties in changing certain characters and events, to better suit the story, which in itself, works amazingly well. The outcome is a detailed and exciting story spun around the Gods, the anti-hero Kratos, and Ares who has taken it upon himself, to cause destruction on Athens. As you play, you'll easily be able to associate this with other myths, as it does feel as it belongs. All of the characters in it, from Ares to Zeus are believable. None of the acts they do, or words they say, would be hard to picture them having said in a book on the subject.
The game starts off, with a rather angry, and violent man standing on the ledge of a cliff, ready to commit suicide. This is the main character, Kratos. Kratos redefines the term "badass", but he's not without his flaws. Throughout the course of the game, you'll see many of Kratos's beastly kills, and you'll see him pleasure women on several occasion, but you'll also witness flashbacks of his past. The more you play, the more you'll grow to like Kratos, and the more you'll feel sorry for him. The story pits Kratos on his tenth year of serving the Gods, in an effort to earn their forgiveness for his past sins, his final mission being to kill Ares. However, as you play, you'll discover that Kratos is not a two-dimensional character. Kratos has a background, he has emotions, and at one point, he had a lovely wife and daughter. Kratos has a reason to go after Ares. You can be sure, though, that Kratos is not your average super hero.
All games that are considered great, require more than a nice story, though. They require pretty graphics, a soundtrack that fits in with whatever is occurring on-screen, and above all, great gameplay. God of War shines in each of these categories. All of the graphics are detailed, and gritty. You'll see many types of areas, from blood-covered trapped rooms of temples, to the raging winds of the desert, to the architectual masterpieces in the city of Athens. All of these areas are not only well designed from a gameplay point of view, they look great, and have an amazing amount of detail put in. What's more, the game always seems to have the right type of music on hand. Whether the soundtrack is a hard piece of rock, for those intense fights, or a slow-paced piece of gothic opera, the mood always seems to fit. Although as mentioned, gameplay is the most important aspect of all, which is a good thing. God of War may shine in all aspects, but in gameplay, it's the equivalent of a sun.
The game's gameplay, really is amazing. At some times, you'll be put into well designed puzzles, which test your wit. And at almost all times, you'll be participating in fierce battles, which pits you against many kinds of enemies, each of which have different attack patterns, and tactics. The blend of these elements is done flawlessly, and what you get in the end, is an amazing experience. The fighting in particular, however, really pushes the bar up a notch, for all future games in the genre. You can rack up huge combos by using your Blades of Chaos; Kratos' weapon of choice, consisting of two swords on chains, burned into his wrists. He can uses these as whips and swords, in a multitude of combos, or abilities.
What makes it better, however, is that these Blades are not your only method of attack. During the game, you'll come across other means of attack, such as Poseidon's Rage, a magic attack which emits electricity in all direction, or The Blade of Artemis, a separate sword you can wield. During combat, you can seamlessly switch between these attacks, and slaughter enemies with style. If you simply kill enemies, you're only experiencing half of what God of War has to offer. There are many fancier, and much cooler ways to finish enemies off. For example, you can grab a Harpy, and rip it's wings off, or you can wrench of the head of a Gorgon. Many enemies have several of these special kills, and many work in different ways. How it works, is that you weaken enemies to a point, where an icon appears above their head, you then grab them, with the press of a button, and follow on-screen instructions to commit a brutal, violent kill. For example, you rotate the control stick in specific directions to turn the Gorgon's head, and you rapidly press circle when shoving a sword down a Minotaur's throat. It's easy to be skeptical of the idea of mini-games in the middle of heavy combat, but it works. Somehow, despite any form of logic, this fits naturally into gameplay, and it's definitely fun. What makes it even better, is that the bosses in this game, which are each fought differently, require such events to be used in order to beat them. For obvious reasons, I won't tell about these kills, but know, that each one is different, and all are fulfilling.
Overall, God of War is an amazing game that should not be missed. Do know, however, that it is extremely graphic and violent. It also contains strong suggestive themes. Topless women in a scene of ancient Greece is not hard to picture, and such scenes are tastefully shown in this game. On a separate page from that, however, this game also contains a mini-game of our hero, Kratos, spending a bit of time in bed with the ladies. In actuality, you'll only be viewing a vase shake, while you enter on-screen buttons, but the message is conveyed. This is a rare game that truly earned it's "Mature" rating. That being said, anyone old enough to buy the game, should buy it. Even those who are slightly squeamish, should try to suspend their affection long enough to play through. This is not only a must-have title, it is a system seller; And for good
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 05/24/05, Updated 08/28/08
Game Release: God of War (US, 03/22/05)
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