God of War

Review

posted 4/29/2005 by Jennifer Lam
other articles by Jennifer Lam
One Page Platforms: PS2
There’s a lot of talk going on right now about the lack of original franchises. I mean, just head over to the local EB and look at how many games have the number 2, 3 or even 4 behind them. That just goes to show that it’s impossible to make a great game that’s entirely unique and original, right? Wrong.

Take one glance at God of War and you’ll see the very embodiment of originality. A game oozing to the brim with style, polish and the panache that it takes to give the gaming industry that shot of originality that it’s sorely been lacking. Sure, the game doesn’t really do anything new or unique that other games haven’t done before, everything that is does has been tried in other games, it’s just that God of War perfects them.

Step into the shoes of Kratos, the Gods’ hit man. As Aries, the God of War (hence the title of the game) stirs up trouble in Athens, Zeus and the other gods call in Kratos to clean up the mess. Using his wits, his strengths and the most badass flails this side of Ninja Gaiden, Kratos is the quintessential badass with all the right moves. Kratos will travel all across Athens, doing battle with a cavalcade of minions as he tries to restore order and balance to Athens.

The beauty of God of War is that the story is told through action and gameplay. There are cutscenes, that’s for sure, but they’re brief and give way to the action when it seems fit. And although the game is heavily tied into the Greek mythos, the developers rarely delve into language or imagery that is tough for the average gamer to understand. All of the dialogue is easy to understand, the imagery is excellent and the entire storyline comes together nicely thanks to a masterful piece of storytelling.

Conceived by the brilliant minds at Sony Santa Monica, God of War is a refreshing take on the 3rd person hack’n’slash genre. Think of it as Devil May Cry on Greek steroids and you can begin to understand what you’re getting in to. It’s easy to see that the developers took notes on Capcom’s original epic as most of the elements are similar, including the presentation and the combat system.

Kratos’ fury is derived from a set of flails that he wields around with tactical precision, slicing and dicing everything that stands in his way. There are only two standard attack buttons available but judging by the variety in animations and the different number of maneuvers in his arsenal, you’d be hard pressed to tell. We’re also impressed by the amount of combos available at our fingertips and the ease at which it takes to pull them off. To be sure, there’s a good amount of precision required but you can still button mash your way through the game and experience a relatively large amount of success. Part of what makes the combat so fun resides in the way it’s portrayed. Watching Kratos do battle is like watching the ballet, a ballet of death, but a ballet nonetheless.
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