Review by whisperingmute
"Shows That Amazing Production Values Goes a Long Way"
God of War was released 2005 and was a commercial hit due to it's engaging battles, bloody deaths, and more breasts than Hugh Hefner would care to share in his so called readable magazines. Of course it's not the breasts that made the game big(pun intended) but the actual character Kratos and the brutality of the chains that are welded into his arms and the damage it can deal out to it's enemies. The game in it's time was great but what it will be remembered for is not because of originality, the game is anything but original, but the quality of production values and the attention of good old gameplay can indeed take you far if done correctly.
God of War starts off Kratos on a mission from the Gods to save the city of Athens. In order to do this, Kratos must do the impossible and take down the God Aries who is destorying the city. To acheive such an act, he must find Pandorra's Box and unleashed it's power to take him down. Of course, it all seems like a mission to help save the world and perhaps for the sake of being brutal but as the story develops, you begin to understand Kratos intentions and why he is so willing to take down a God in order to gain forgiveness from the Gods. When I intitialy started the game, I really disliked Kratos due to the lack of backround given to him. Why is he working for the Gods? How did gain those blades? But as the story progressed, I understood the meaning of this. Many of the aspects of Kratos mysterious past(you'll see many run away for they have known what he had done) is hidden and slowly released til the point Kratos actually has character and motivation. His hidden past is probably one of the highlights of the game and has gain noteriety for it and is best not to share it for it's something one should really see. Only when you have beaten the game will you trully understand the story and Kratos himself. I had only wished I had a sense or a connection with Kratos besides just being a total killing machine before I knew of his backround.
If you're not into the story, than don't worry because the game isn't actually heavy in the story department but more a less just really good icing on a cake. Of course, you'll be chopping up bodies left and right, twisting of heads, stabing cyclops in the eye, and slammin your enemies to a pile of guts and blood. The action is so brutal and in your face and more nudity than you can possible imagine(even on a few creatures) which definitely pushes the limits as to what an M rated game could pertain. The action is a mix of presses of quick attacks and heavy attacks combined to make combos and blocking/ dodging enemy attacks and timed press events. It's a nice mix of action and strategy. Add in a few puzzles and you got a healthy mix of an adventure game.(Too bad there are only three bosses.) When GOW(God of War) released, it begun the trend of "timed button presses" or "TBP" if you may. You'll get a chance to grab and enemy(with enough damage to the enemy) which the screen will promt buttons to pressed in order to pull of some extra damage or kill the monster in a brutal manner. You can later see "TBP" in later games such as Resident Evil 4 or even Kingdom Hearts 2. The difficulty in the game is kind of odd. From the beginning, it's pretty easy to defeat enemies and not too hard to get into the swing of things but towards the end the difficulty really peaks up fast and made me want to throw the controller across the room because sometimes the enemies can be really cheap. Wait til you try "God Mode"(the hardest difficulty) and you'll know the true meaning of pain. Besides the great action and decent difficulty, there a few things holding the reigns of this beast of a game. One, there are only two weapons through out the whole game. The Chaos Blades which are welded into your arms and the Artemis blade(a really big sword... what is odd is that when you equip the Artemis blade, the chains disappear from Kratos's arms... weren't they welded on there... odd indeed). Perhaps I'm picky and I think variety is the spice of life, but there needed to be more weapons than two and your Chaos Blades was the most useful of the two which kind of bites. I would've like to have seen a lot more weapons. Also, you gain magic and quite frankly sucked also. There were two that were really good like Posiedons Rage(electracute a bunch of enemies in a radius) and Hades Army (souls from the underworld do a load of damage to your enemies)but the rest were hum hum and not really needed to use in combat like Zues's lightneing bolts and Medusas gaze(could turn enemies into stone). There just needed a lil more options in the weaponry and magic. On a side note in gameplay, you can activate the Rage of Gods which grants you high defense and really strong attacks for a short period of time. Also you can collect orbs(kind of like experience points) when you complete combos(can go up to 1,000 hit combo) and destory enemies to help upgrade your two weapons and magic abilities.
There is one feature that really excites me as a gamer when it comes to games... replay value. GOW has huge replay value in when the game is completed, there are other things to do, watch, and experience. You can watch "making of" videos and some deleted monsters and levels not used for the actual game. Adds a level of depth into what goes into making a game. Also, a "Challenge of the Gods" is unlocked where you can butcher through ten stages to reach the ultimate goal. Once that is done, you unlock multiple costumes to dress up Kratos and give him special attributes. Some costumes are like a cow costume which gives you inf. magic, business suit(blades are breifcases), a scuba diver(fins are the blades), or wear Aries battle armor. This adds a reason to replay the game in a different way and have some fun. Once that's done, you can try out God Mode also. The hardest difficulty the game has to offer and is not easy to get through. If you are good enough to beat God Mode, you unlock special videos that give you interesting information on a possible sequal(God of War 2... already out duh) and his past. There's just so much you can do after you beat the game. I think in todays games, a lot of them are missing that replay value. Yeah, it was fun to play and had amazing story but I need a reason to replay it again and get the most out of a game. Didn't spend $60 for nothin and this is where GOW really excells at.
The graphics for the game is a mix of some good and bad. The levels can really good and beautiful showcasing some really good scenary like the City of Athens and Hade's Underworld but there where others that were just bland and uninteresiting at all like the temple where Pandorra's box lies. It just sucked in my opinion... except that the whole thing layed on Kronos's back(Zues's father).. that was pretty neat. Same can go for it's monsters. A lot of them were highly detailed like Hydra, Ogres, and Minatours but many like the Gorgons(madusa like monsters) and imps were just not really interesting to fight. The CG on the other hand is top notch and more realistic breasts that you might want to watch them again some late night when you are home alone... not implying anything you dirty gamers.
The music for game is all orchestrated and can really hear all the brass and the strings in the game to give out that epic theme through out the game. Of course, it comes short with very lil variety in music and got tired to listening to quite a few of the tracks over and over. So again, a mix of a some good music with some bad. Voice acting... was great. Didn't feel forced and felt natural. Great work guys.
Overall, the game is kind of like really good cake. Of course you've seen it before and you know how it tastes, but the way the cake is made really makes it shine. This holds true for God of War. You've played this type of game before and there's nothing new that won't amaze you. But the detail of some great production values, which is graphics and gameplay, with a great plot twist in it's story really help flesh out the game from the others and an excellent addition in anyone's library. All it needed was a lil more variety in gameplay and weaponry and definitely needed more epic bosses.(there were so few of them). The game proves you don't need originality to necessarily create an excellent game and that great production can go a long way.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/14/08
Game Release: God of War (US, 03/22/05)
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