Review by The President

Reviewed: 03/28/05

An absolutely fantastic game that will blow you away

Some times, games come out that are just so amazing at first sight, it just must be played. The battles, so fluid and perfect, are a sight to see. Action games like God of War come along once in a blue moon. Everyone can enjoy the genius combo system, the intuitive magic and weapon system, the excellent atmosphere, and the well designed puzzles. There are a few itty-bitty problems with the game, but it never degrades the overall experience. God of War is the best action to hit the PS2 in a very long time.

God of War tells the story of Kratos, the Greek Spartan warrior who is a champion of the Gods. However, for the past ten years, he has been plagued with troubling nightmares of his past, and what he has done in war. Now, Kratos searches endlessly around the Greek Isles, defeating enemies of the Gods, in hopes that they will eventually get rid of his nightmares. Now, the Gods have given him one final task: to kill Aries, THE God of War. He must search to find Pandora’s Box, the only weapon powerful enough to help him defeat Aries. The Gods will help him along the way to the mythic temple holding the Artifact. Then it is up to him to defeat the God and finally be at peace. But if you see the intro of the game, you will know not all will be as planned…

In the beginning, Kratos only starts out with the Blades of Chaos, two blades that he can whip around by the chains around his arms. While these blades can kill anything that crosses his path, in the most brutal fashions imaginable. Kratos can grab enemies and rip them apart at the waist, impale them on his blades and spin him around, hitting other targets, or he could just pummel them to death. Also, with the bigger enemies, the game makes a little mini-game of killing them, requiring you to press certain buttons at the right time or spinning the analog stick around in a certain way (Jet Grind Radio style.) This idea is plays out well, as each death by this is gruesome and fun to watch again and again. During the game, new abilities are found. These abilities, given to Kratos from the Gods, and range from magic spells (like the ability to turn enemies to stone) or new, more powerful weaponry. Kratos can upgrade these weapons by finding red orbs. They are found by killing more enemies, and by destroying random junk in each level. Upgraded weapons may make them more powerful, offer Kratos new abilities, or give him new moves. Every thing helps give you gets the highest combo possible. It is the combo system that makes God of War so fun and addictive to play: there are hundreds of different ways to rack up points. The higher your combo score, the more red orbs you get, so the better you are at making a combo, the stronger Kratos will become.

Each combo Kratos can pull off looks great in motion. In fact, the game is beautiful, ones of the best looking PS2 games. The huge environments have no pop-up at all, and there are very few times when a loading screen would pops up, because of the excellent use of disk streaming, so there is no break in the atmosphere of the levels. And that atmosphere is what makes God of War look so amazing. The stunning Greek architecture, all of the magical building that were just fables or now in ruins, are re-created. They have taken all of the famous Greek mythological beasts (Titans, Sirens, Harpies, Gorgons) and used them to give the story the feel of an epic poem by Homer. Including all the blood and violence. Rivers of blood will flow throughout any part in the game. If there was any game that really deserves a Mature rating, God of War would be it. The game rewards the kill of innocent Athenians, you sacrifice people to the Gods, and most of the women wear “revealing” clothing (usually none.) However, you must remember the context of the game, and everything fits well. The awesome environments are what really brings the game together. Put the environments and that combos together plus a rock solid frame rate (never, even in the largest of battles, has the game slowed down on me unless it was put there for effect,) you get a graphically excellent game.

The orchestral soundtrack in God of War is one of the best, ever. One of my favorite moments was when Kratos was running across a large statue and then a choir just beginning singing…everything about that scene was just breathtaking. And the music is what really made that scene. And the music is used sparingly, just in the right places, to fully immerse the player in Kratos’ story. Add the very good voice acting, and then you have a soundtrack that is worth buying by itself. While the action is really what makes the game, there is no reason for the soundtrack to sound terrible. And instead of just being something to break the silences of playing, God of War’s music adds a whole new dimension of playing.

While some people may have a problem with the length, but around ten hours for a first play-through is still excellent for an action game. There are multiple difficulties to play through (ranging from very easy to break your dual shock hard) so each play-through can be a little different than the last. However, in all play-throughs, there were, in abundance, health and magic power chests. Usually, each chest changes color (green for health, blue for magic) every few seconds. When you open it up on a color, you gain that color. This adds a very satisfying twist to the game. If there is only one chest there, and Kratos is low on both health and magic, you must decide which is more important for the upcoming fights. However, no matter how easy or difficult God of War may be to you, it is still a very fun game to play, in short bursts or long, gaming beating without saving or using a continue sessions.

From the first time you play it, to the last time, God of War delivers. With jaw dropping boss fights (the few that there, one of the few problems with the game,) the amazing graphics, the wonderful soundtrack…everything is as close to perfection that you could get in a videogame today. Everyone should give God of War a chance, because if any game deserves praise, it is God of War.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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