"An epic that is half good and half bad, that ultimately fails to do anything that expands the genre."

INTRO:
I was like the many who noticed the massive hype for this game, and bought it right away. However, as fun as it is to play it (only during some parts) the game doesn't bring anything new. It feels "been there and done that" all the time. It takes the combat of Devil May Cry, and throws in more boring fetch puzzles. Problem is, the combat doesn't have the depth of either DMC1 or DMC3, and the puzzles aren't as grand or amazing as Ico. So what we end up having is a game that is a DMC-lite in terms of combat, and a Ico-lite in terms of puzzling, and slaps them together. How this shapes and forms the game will be detailed below.

GRAPHICS:
The single aspect that that truly wowed me. Hardly any load times (you'll get a slight blurb here and there if you transverse over the environment too quickly). Smooth visuals, and strong presentations. i.e pretty menus etc. However, is it me or is there a massive slap of "Vaseline" on the game. This tactic was used in the N64 days, where developers would "blur" the screen to get rid of the "jaggies" without actually implementing any Anti-Aliasing at all. I find this to be a quick, cheap way to try to make the game look better. But nevertheless, that flaw can't stand up against streaming environments, pretty artwork and level design that God of War has in spades.

8/10

SOUND:
The composer listened to Lord of the Rings, and there you go. Very fitting. Can't say it moved me, but it fits the game so it's not really a flaw. However, this IS YET another aspect where it seems everyone designing this game only wanted to copy everything. Copy the combat of DMC, copy the puzzling of Ico, copy the music of Lord of the Rings, can't they do anything unique and new from their own minds? Which, again isn't a bad thing. But the problem is they fail to capture the magic in each of those regards, so the game ends up falling flat.

7/10

GAMEPLAY:
This is where God of War fails, and fails bad. The IS SHORT, I BEAT IT IN ABOUT 7 HOURS ON HARD MODE. The reason why I bold this because the game is labeled as an "epic" a "one-time movie esque experience." Wow...I thought Epics were supposed to be long, full of grandeur and mystic ventures. Guess not... The game also lacks any sense of replay value. Reason being is that your experience, weapons and magic don't carry over to the next difficulty. Beat normal, and if you want to play on hard your KRATOS starts all over again at no experience, weapons at lvl 1 etc. Man, talk about ruining any sense of replay value and sort of cohesiveness between the challenges in the game.

Then we have the COMBAT. This has to be the most shallow, flashy, non-sensical form of combat I've seen in my life. Talk about mashing Square and blocking. No need to dodge, no need to mix up combos or anything. It's button mashy friendly. No strategy involved. Some would argue that certain attacks can't be blocked...but what's the point? Kratos seemingly has infinite health as the game is so easy (even on hard mode) that there is no point to evade or do anything special with your magic or combos. It literally takes Kratos to get hit 80 times for him to die. And then you'll accidentally absorb a healing orb that heals you. I mean, as childish as this sounds, I must say that it took more effort to actually DIE in this game, then to stay alive and beat it. Next we have the puzzles. The oh-so great puzzles. Actually, not all the time. Many of the puzzles are useless "platforming" fiasco's that involve a character jumping over blocks with a poor, non adjustable camera. Games like Ninja Gaiden and Devil May Cry 3 have a fully rotatable camera, especially in the platforming portions. Press in R3, the camera sets behind Dante. Move the right analog stick, go into first person for Ryu. Yet, none of those things are in God of War...isn't this supposed to be an epic puzzler of grand scale? Yet no camera movement...back in the NES days are we? Not to mention that many of the puzzles are just dumb FETCH QUESTS. Find key, put key here. Find handle, put handle here and move the thing. Find crate, push crate there. Again, some are fun to do but as I said in my title doesn't really expand the genre.

4/10

CONCLUSION:

God of War is a pretty package that takes concepts of DMC and ICO, yet never expands on it. Where as Devil May Cry 3 revolutionized how 'deep' a combo system goes, and where as Ninja Gaiden revolutionized how "precise" a combo system goes, God of War does none of it. God of War is overly easy, VERY SHORT, lacks replay incentive, and the puzzles aren't as hyped up to be.

The three biggest selling points in the game don't even deliver. Combat is overly simplistic, and lacks incentive for use being that the game is SO EASY. The puzzles aren't anything new. We've all seen them before. And the game is short and lacks replay value. For a game that is labeled an epic, not really "epic" sounding is it?

I must admit, I wasn't enthused for God of War pre-release. I never bought into the hype. So hopefully this is why you'll take my review into consideration when you are thinking about playing the game. As a person who LOVES Ninja Gaiden, I hope you Ninja Gaiden fans can relate to my statements. God of War is a pretty game that is "soft" in all regards. It's easy, shallow and short. The game isn't bold (where as Ninja Gaiden and DMC3 were HARD games that were long, and gave you a run for you money).

With only 7 hours to complete, no real incentive for replay as your experience and levels don't carry over, I can't recommend God of War for anything more than a rental. It's a shame to see a big 3 year project be succumbed to a mere "let's copy that game" or "let's copy that movie" and never really putting their own creative talent into the mix.

PRO's:
Great level design
Flashy visuals
Hardly any load times
Great packaging, extras and menu's.

CON's:
Short game
No replay value incentive
Very Easy
Combat lacks substance
Some puzzles are there...just to be there...

Final Score:

5/10=Enjoyable Experience, but not worth anything more than a rental.

Bottom line: God of War, to me felt have good, half bad. Thus a 5/10.


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 03/24/05


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