Santa Monica Studios released Kinetica in 2001 to general success, but it wasn’t until 2005 when the developer would release God Of War for the PlayStation 2 that they’d become a household name. The first game in the God Of War series brought to life Kratos and his epic adventure of revenge. The hands of death could not defeat Kratos, but will it defeat this God of War review?
God of War Plot:
God Of War shines bright in all phases of my grading scale, but its story may be the best part. I love history, and I was able to learn more about Greek Mythology than I ever did in a history class. Set in ancient Greece, you are Kratos a Spartan warrior who serves the Gods. In a massive battle against the barbarians, Kratos and his army are finally defeated. On the verge of death, Kratos makes a deal with the God of War Ares to serve him if Ares would spare Kratos and his men while giving him the power to defeat his enemies. Ares agrees and bestows the Blades of Chaos around Kratos’ wrists, a sign of his power and slavery. With the blades, Kratos defeats the Barbarian king.
Kratos develops a lust for war and blood during his battles for Ares and eventually attacks a village under the command of Ares. Kratos in his bloodlust kills his own wife and daughter, who were transported to the city by Ares. Enraged by his murdering of his family, Kratos swears vengeance on Ares. During the attack of the village, an oracle places a curse on Kratos, coating his skin with the dead ashes of his wife and daughter, making his skin a ghostly white, a reminder of the terrible acts he committed against his family.
With his mind set on revenge, Kratos seeks out help in killing Ares. He discovers that Pandora’s Box grants the power to kill a god. With instructions from Athena, who has been feuding with her brother Ares, Kratos sets out into the Desert of Lost Souls to find the Titan Cronos who carries a temple on his back containing Pandora’s Box.
Ares has a few harpies steal Pandora’s Box from Kratos, where he tracks them down in Athens. Kratos steals the box back and opens it granting him godlike powers. Ares does his best to strip Kratos of any powers or magic, but Kratos is still able to kill him. With the death of Ares, Kratos becomes the God of War but his nightmares of killing his family remain. He tries to commit suicide, but Athena steps in and transports him to Mount Olympus to take his rightful spot on the throne.
God of War Gameplay:
God Of War had a tremendous story, but what about the gameplay? The game is packed full of action and a few small puzzles. It wasn’t just button mashing, but you had to remember what was effective against enemies. Smashing the attack button may not be effective for every opponent, sometimes you’d have to wait for an opening.
This game is often associated with “quick-time events” or QTEs. When you are finishing off a boss, you are prompted to hit certain buttons in time to kill the boss. I don’t recall many games having this feature, but I know God of War made it popular. QTE is okay in small doses, and God of War did a nice job not putting it in every battle and saved it for the special fights.
Small treasure chests are littered throughout the world where Kratos can open them to become more powerful or restore his health or magic meter. Speaking of magic, Kratos can learn a few different tricks including shooting lightning bolts, an ultra rage form, and using Madusa’s head to turn enemies into stone.
There is a variety of enemies to fight all with ancient greek themes, like harpies, sirens, minotaurs, and, centaurs are just a few to name. The opponents feel fresh and make each new stage exciting to play. You won’t just come across enemies, however, there are a few gods that you’ll cross paths with, and some of them will even guide you or grant you powers to help your journey. God of War wouldn’t be complete without the addition of a mini sex game with two naked females waiting for Kratos in bed. The game has you mash buttons to satisfy the girls, and when it’s over, Kratos is granted some bonus orbs. The orbs you collect during fights reminded me a lot of the ones from the Onimusha series.
I don’t have anything negative to say about the gameplay, even today the game holds up very well. I played the God of War remastered version on my PS3 for this God of War review, so there may be some slight differences.
God of War Bosses:
You all know I love a good boss fight, and God of War is stuffed with them. The first boss is the famous Hydra fight that dropped so many jaws when the demo first came out. God of War is full of gore, and this first boss exemplifies what is to come in the series. I loved slamming the Hydra’s head down on the wooden mast.
Next, you’ll encounter Medusa, who I admittedly was stoned from a few times before wrangling her in my arms and ripping her head off. Kratos will then face an armored giant minotaur. Metal Gear Solid does a terrific job making boss fights interesting and challenging. God of War does the same with this example. The minotaurs health bar is covered in armor, you need to first destroy the actual armor on his body to reveal his health bar and hurt him. Little things like this go a long way.
Ares is the final boss, and he was pretty tough in my opinion. The section where Kratos must protect his family in his mind was difficult, and I had to replay it a few times before fighting off all the enemies. God of War’s bosses are challenging but not impossible. The battles are fun, and that’s key in making the player want to hit the restart button instead of quitting. With each boss falling to their knees in defeat to the blades of chaos, I felt satisfaction. God of War knew just how to set the stage for the epic battles.
I didn’t play God Of War when it first came out, but I did snag the HD Collection a few years later. I remember being fresh out of high school and playing it on winter break during my freshman year of college. It was a blast, and I beat it in one weekend. I do remember when the game first came out with all the hype that surrounded it. I had a friend who was really obsessed with it and how “cool” the gore and battles were. Unfortunately for him, he never had a PS2 so he couldn’t own it. I’ve replayed the first God of War a few times since then, and it’s always an enjoyable experience.
God of War Review Score:
God of War is a masterpiece on the PS2. Santa Monica Studios showed up big time in their second game. The story is tremendous, the history is fun to learn, enemies are fun and unique to kill, and the game is filled with epic boss fights. If you haven’t played God of War, you must get a copy and see what started the critically-acclaimed series. It’s not perfect, but it’s close.
God Of War scores a 9.5 out of 10.
What would you include in your God of War review? What did you think of God Of War when it first came out? Did you love the blood, sex, and action that came along with it? Who was your favorite boss to fight? Let me know your thoughts and memories of God Of War, I’d love to read them!