Review by himurokoken
"God of Mediocre"
God Of War is a game that, with it's upcoming release, was hyped to death. This went from a game I knew nothing about to a game that was high on my list as soon as I saw it was getting better scores than DMC3 (which to me is the most complete action game I've ever played). Turns out, this isn't the God of War, this is more like the God of Mediocre.
Good game but it's not something I would play again and again. Most of The game is spent in some dungeon trying to get one item, and once you've played through GoW once, you've seen it all.
Gameplay: 7/10 (reason for score: fun gameplay, but once you've played a lot of this game, you tend to get bored because of the repetitiveness. Same old puzzles, same old battle techniques and strategy;etc.)
The majority of the game, I felt like it was going nowhere. All it had going for it were very well developed puzzles, and a somewhat intriging fighting system (that gets old fast). While fun, past the coolness that is the circle button (when you land this, you are allowed to murder the enemy in a multitude of ways) and utter shock of taking out enemies in surreal and ultimately sadistic ways, God of War feels like it's missing so much they could have added to it. The game overall feels rushed. It's a good game, but at the end of that day it didn't live up to it's FULL potential due to the short story, repetitive gameplay, and kindergarten aimed difficulty.
When defeating an enemy you recieve red orbs (yes...I know, awful isn't it?). You use these orbs to upgrade your weapons to learn new abilities and moves. The ability variety is astounding given the fact you have disposal of all of your weapons and magic at all times without going through menu's (this is a plus), this allows for ultimately endless combos and strong magic combinations, and extremely fluid battles.
Overall,all God Of War does is bring nothing new to the table, it totally feels like you're playing some other game you've played before, except dumbed down. The fighting is shallow, yes you can string together pretty much any attack in the whole game but there's also little if any difficulty. I was stuck on the game only once (combat wise - the final boss), What's the point in stringing a bunch of combos if there's hardly any use for them? I could get by the game just using the most basic moves. This game's combat is like DMC except it lacks a major amount of depth - it has the fluidity there, but not the *heart*. It feels like they just copied the gameplay from some other games but toned it down for casual players.
Puzzles are done pretty well for the most part, even if they do get a little tiring. Most of the puzzles involve fetch quests where you need a single handle to pull a lever, but in some cases there's a puzzle that'll have you stumped. Platforming can be pretty hard to manage as well, but this is due to the fixed camera (which often gives little if any trouble).
The best part of the game was the beginning of it in fact: the first boss. The whole entire game you're playing the game to see if God of War can top itself with stylish, over the top stuff like that during boss battles (that in other games would be normal cinematics), but there is none. There's only 3 bosses. I think there's something wrong when the beginning of an 8 hour game is the *best* part of that said game.
Gameplay aside, God Of War still has some things going for it, though there are pretty much only 3 areas in the game total, the story is told very nicely in wonderfully animated cutscenes. The story is pretty good, albeit cliche', but it's fun to watch the story move along. The gripe regarding the story however is it's ridiculous length. Most of the game is played in a dungeon that gets dull and boring, the goal: to retrieve Pandora's Box. How can this be an epic story like reviewers have claimed if you only visit 3 places total in the game? The story would have been a lot more satisfying if there wasn't emphasis on only Pandora's Box. Visiting different locales and dungeons would have evened the game out so it doesn't feel dull by the end.
Sound - 8/10
The soundtrack reminds me of Lord of the Rings movie trilogy in a lot of ways, it's an excellent soundtrack but not something I'm dying to hear (which I could get right now because it comes free with the game). Very well done, especially for the time period the game takes place. The voice acting as well, is excellently done, and fitting. You won't cringe because of a voice once in this game.
Graphically...this is where God of War truly shines. A lot of people I know have asked if this is actually for ps2 because of the capabilities this game shows off. Lighting effects, reflections, and reflections..oh the reflections: outstanding art design and computer animation, this is a graphic beast! But by far the best thing about GoW is the art direction. The art direction is superb and extremely well done, the locations and enviroments you interact with range from cliffs and mountains thousands of miles above ground attached to the skin of a gigantic Titan, to walking across a long luminescent sword that reflects the night sky held by an enourmous statue that has that bit of Greek inspiration. Truth be told, the graphics in this will not only turn heads, but break necks. If the normal graphics don't, the open nudity and sexual tension will. But GoW does this maturely, it doens't act as if it's got ladies with bare chests just to have them.
It really makes me wonder what I would think of God Of War if they left it in another half a (or maybe a full) year of development.
Though, the secrets such as Challenge of the God's (an unlockable mode that pits the player against challenges that test wits as well as brawn - if this type of gameplay was shown more in the actual story mode GoW would have been more well rounded) help it, it's not much. I beat the game in 8-9 hours. Usually I do not mind games being this long (like, say...Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow or Beyond Good and Evil) - these games are short, but however, they all feel like they're GOING somewhere and feel uniquely made. God of War however, feels like one ridiculously long dungeon (without the ability or will to back track easily). I generally want to feel like I'm making progress in my games, but with GoW, I felt like I was in the same situation the whole journey. So called "epics" do not feel like this.
I would suggest renting over buying, buying this for full price (50 dollars I might add) and then beating it in under 9 hours with little if any incentive to replay because of sorry and uninteresting unlockables and the fact that weapon levels, abilities;etc. don't carry over after all that trouble makes it even worse. Why would I want to play through such repetitive and uninspired gameplay for ANOTHER 8 or so hours? The unlockables themselves also do not give one a reason to replay. Making of videos? Like I care. Story related videos? Pssh. The story wasn't *that* interesting to warrant going out of my way to look more into it. Give us more than that please.
If you are looking for something that has depth and feels atleast *somewhat* unique, look for something else (read: Devil May Cry 3). Although God Of War is fun, it's shallow gameplay, short story and length, lack of locales/areas, uninteresting unlockables and easy difficulty makes it pretty much a rental only for action game conesseiurs. This is nothing new, and is a game who's project ended way too soon. If this game was in development for atleast 6 more months, I wonder how it would compared to now. Definitely not worth the hype. This will go down one of the most overrated games this generation next to Halo and Splinter Cell.
Oh, and the final boss was one of the worst final boss fights I've ever ever experienced.
7/10 (above average, far from original, lack of replay incentive)
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 04/06/05
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