Review by Swiftshark
Taking the best of Prince of Persia, Rygar and Onimusha and doing it better
God of War is arguably the best game yet in its class of games. Many games like Prince of Persia and Rygar have tried and been fun games but God of War has taken the throne and squashed all of it's peers. In essence, God of War is a platformer/fighter with tons of weapon upgrades and unlockable magic spells. You fight and think your way through numerous levels and encounter glorious, yes glorious boss battles along the way. This game is a must play!
You assume the role of Kratos in God of War. Kratos is a most powerful spartan warrior who for ten years served the gods of Olympus by leading armies into brutal battles and killing thousands upon thousands of guilty and innocent people. Struggling with his past horrific deeds Kratos has one last task to undertake for the gods in order to have his memories erased. He must travel to Athens and kill Ares, the God of War. Along the way Kratos will learn new abilities and venture on numerous side quests to find rare yet necessary items that will help him eventually discover the power of Pandora's Box that is ultimately required for a mortal to kill a god.
The controls in god of War are very well configured. All buttons are logically configured and very responsive. The amount of upgradable moves and combos leaves the gameplay feeling fresh and exciting throughout although you will certainly come to rely on but a handful of combo attacks in order to off most baddies. Magic unlockables are neatly organized by using the D-Pad to select the one you'd like to use. Jumping, moving and climbing functions also work really well and some of the climbing animations are simply fantastic. The right analog stick serves as your evasive action and is extremely useful especially when in the midst of a bevvy of Medusa's who are trying their best to turn you into stone. Overall the controls could not be better used.
The gameplay in God of War is simply fantastic. Everything from the battle sequences to the puzzles you'll encounter is fresh and enjoyable. One would think that puzzle, battle, puzzle, battle would become tiresome after a bit (Prince of Persia anyone?) but God of War manages to keep it all in context with its stunning gameplay and brutal execution. Again, the multiple weapon and combo upgrades makes the overall gamplay continue to evolve and remain fresh. Puzzles in the game are often quite challenging and may even border on frustration at times. However, the puzzles are for the most part pretty simply to figure out and solve. That is after all what FAQ's are for kids.
The graphics in God of War are very very good. Character animations are crisp and highly detailed and all animations are lifelike and believable. When Kratos pulls a massive lever you can sense the amount of power it takes for him to accomplish such a task. Fighting animations are also incredibly refined, the use of multiple grab moves allows for numerous mini FMV's that show bloody and painful endings to the various types of enemies you encounter along your journey. Magic spells really add flair to the scene and all of them are very nicely implemented graphically. The scenery and background details are simply stunning. There are moments in the game where you look out at the scene below and simply marvel at what is being depicted. The graphics are almost flawless.
Possibly the only shortcoming of the entire game is the set camera angles that automatically switch depending on your location in the room/tunnel/area. This can become somewhat frustrating at times because you can never really get to freely look around and observe the entire screen. However, it is not a huge deterrent of the overall gameplay. If you've played Rygar: The Legendary Adventure then you'll know exactly what to expect. It would have been nice to have several camera placement options available but once you've adjusted to it you'll be able to play the game without major grievances.
FMV's, MUSIC and SFX 9/10
The FMV's and cutscenes in God of War are excellent. Due to the incredible attention to detail, great voice acting and storyline, the scenes are both mythic and memorable at the same time. The music is fitting and very mythic in the sense that it carries the emotional overtones of the battles and puzzles you happen to be dealing with at the time. Overall the music fits very nicely into the background without ever feeling forced or overpowering. SFX are also very well done. Everything from swords clashing to moving objects is truly beleivable and fitting. The grunts and slashes also come off extremely realistically. Magic spell sounds also sound great and overall there is no fault I've found here whatsoever. The voice acting is equally terrific.
REPLAY VALUE 6/10
As with most games like this that involve puzzle solving and upgrading as you battle your way through the levels, once you've beaten it you've beaten it. For the truly dedicated you can test your skills on multiple difficulty settings and also have fun with a few unlockable skins etc. Overall this section would have benefited much more had it implemented a multiplayer coop or deathmatch mode. Online play never hurts either. Nonetheless the game can be replayed much moreso than say Prince of Persia or Rygar: The Legendary Adventures. When stacked up against those titles, this game stands head and shoulders above them.
Overall God of War is a must play. Whether you buy or rent it, you should experience it. Fresh gameplay, great scenery, fantastic FMV's and cutscenes not to mention some of the most incredible boss fights in recent history...this game rules!! God of War gets a 9/10 from me. Prince or Persia, Rygar, Onimusha....you've met your match.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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