Review by Mykas0
"No, this game isn't perfect."
Being an huge mythology fan, I knew I had to play this game. From a mythological context, this game depicts an accurate world, the one of a simple human (or perhaps more?) who is taken on a quest. Along his adventure, gods will be appearing and giving him gifts, which also happened in the Greek Mythology. Kratos, the main character, will have his past revealed as you reach further in the adventure, fighting several mythological creatures, all of which are depicted in a terrific way. Be aware that the game isn't 100% faithful to the myths, which may displease certain players, like myself, despite granting a few surprise moments to the game.
Now, before getting you interested in the game, there's something you must be told about: this game is violent, too gory, and while mature users may say that such kind of violence is fitting to a character that comes from Sparta, I strongly suggest you keep this game away from kids. Come on, you don't want them to get upset, as they rip Medusa's head with their own hands, do you?
As soon as you pick ' New Game ', you'll be thrown to the middle of a battle, where you'll be told of the controls. There's one button to give a light strike, one to perform a stronger attack and one for jumping. You can also parry attacks and grab your enemies, which usually takes you to an interactive sequence, let me explain, when fighting any kind of creatures, you may either attack them until they die or you may use, after a certain point, a context kill. If you see a giant circle over the enemy's head, just press the proper button and you will enter a sequence where you'll be told to (quickly) press the buttons shown in the screen. At the end, if you correctly completed it, you'll not only kill that enemy but also gain additional bonus, in the form of having your life restored or, more frequently, extra red orbs.
These red orbs, acquired by certain in-game actions, can later be used to upgrade the many abilities that you'll be getting. They work like experience points, which need to be spent in order to improve your stats. By upgrading "Poseidon's Wrath", the first magic, which is unlocked in the very first level of the game, you'll get extra power and a larger radius. However, if you go and upgrade Kratos' native blades, he will be causing more damage with each of his strikes, apart from being granted new moves, which can be used to cause even more damage. Choices are all up to you, to your needs and to the way you move across the adventure, allowing you to personalize your powers in the way you like the most.
Not only of battles lives this game and while you'll be facing tons of enemies, there are also many puzzles to solve. Most of them are composed by taking an element of the scenario from a particular place and inputting it on another one, before advancing to perform a particular task. By doing so, you'll be able to proceed and find some more enemies to battle and some more puzzles. Oddly, all of them are quite simple, and require hardly any mental skills. Some even require you to dodge across particular parts of the scenario, an action that is done by using the right stick, while controlling your character with the left one.
This is about the time where the game's first flaw becomes perceptible: while the scenario is drawn in an interesting way, it could have been better managed. Some areas are too big, turning into predictable pits of enemies, others are too small, slightly cutting the spirit and feeling of this adventure. Sure, you can explore it and gain new items that increase your maximum life and magic bar, but nothing else comes from it. Enemies never ambush you and even you're hiding, they seem to magically figure out where you are. Their moves are predictable and, after a while, you'll be able to dodge most of them, turning everyone into potential meat pieces.
Apart from this lack of intelligence, enemies are also underused. While Minotaurs and Medusas are found all across the game, some foes seem to be limited to a very disappointing area, allowing you to predict who you'll be facing next and taking proper measures against them. A couple enemies turn out being palette-swaps of their former selves, but despite featuring an increased amount of life points, they stick to their plain old strategies.
The game also has its stronger points, with the storyline presenting you with moments where you have no clue on what will be happening next, but those are quite rare. While I won't spoil them, I can say that fans of Greek Mythology won't be disappointed.
Advancing through the game in a speedy role, it is unfortunate that you can complete the game in less than 10 hours, turning the gameplay time into yet another of this game's flaws. Like it happens with most action games, its predictable storyline makes it unappealing for more than a single run. Either if you complete the game in the easiest or normal difficulty modes, nothing will be gained out of it, which is disappoint. Sure, some elements can only be acquired by completing the game in its harder mode, but that's a task that only the biggest fans may be willing to try, due to its difficulty.
After first completing the game, you gain access to a couple videos, where you're told about several aspects of the game. Sure they're interesting for a limited audience, but wouldn't most players be willing to spend more time playing, instead of watching contents that would be more fitting to an extra disc? Don't get me wrong, those contents are interesting and rather nice, but they sound more like a documentary than something I would want to find in the bonus section of an action game.
Perhaps to solve such problem, another piece of bonus content was included in the game. "Challenge of the Gods", an extra mode that is only acquired after completing the game once, puts you to fight in a small area where you have to complete 10 small challenges, granting you some presents at the end. It sounds nice, but no matter how many times you complete the story mode, you'll never develop techniques that turn out being valuable in this mode. The first challenge, for example, tells you to throw eight enemies from the platform you're standing in, something that you never have to do in the actual adventure. Instead, they even throw unusual groups of enemies at you, slightly trying to make your task harder. While these issues don't halve the overall score given to this game, they provide unappealing tasks to a more general group of users, who would rather put the game down instead of trying to beat a particular challenge for several hours.
There's also a smaller option allowing you to view the characters not included in the final version of the game, and while such option is interesting for a one-time deal, it is just pointless. Why should a player see them if they're doing nothing at all, just standing there and providing nothing more than a few minutes of laughter? Fighting them would have been nice, at least for some added value.
While the main adventure puts you fighting against huge creatures, following the unspoken tradition of making bosses overly large, it also follows the awful rule of giving this kind of game barely any replay value. While I must admit that you'll love the game as long as you're facing the main adventure and its storyline, that's all. You complete it, play a few more minutes to see the extra movies and (perhaps) try "Challenge of the Gods" and then put it down, perhaps forever.
Concerning the graphics in this game, they are almost perfect. There's not a single pixel out of its proper place, and apart from a minor animation glitch, seen when Kratos is reaching the upper part of the ladder, you'll never see any kind of problems. The camera angle, while uncontrollable, tends to give you a clear view of all the action, not harming your gaming experience at all. An important note should be given to the scenario, which is just well drawn and, ignoring a few limited areas, tend to be fitting to the period of time where the game takes place.
Most sound effects are fitting to the game and its environment. So is the music, presenting tunes with a quality that has nothing to envy to the latest Hollywood blockbusters, with their own strong and occasional weak points, which are fortunately less common than you could be expecting.
So, who should get this game? Well, it should in no circumstances be given to younger fellows, as this game's violence is too big. As for older players, they should try to rent this game. Later, if they're happy with the (apparent) lack of replay value, they should buy the actual game. Now available at the small price of "Platinum" titles, this is one of the best games that such a small amount of money can buy.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 04/09/07
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