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Developer:
SCE Studios Santa Monica
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: PlayStation 2
Release Date: March 22, 2005

by Josh Ferguson




There really isnít much need for an introduction for this game. By now everyone should know that God of War kicks a major load of *ss.


God of War takes place during the old Greek mythology days, when the Gods roamed the earth. Since Zeus has commanded that no God shall wage war on another God, there is nothing they can do against Ares, the God of War, as he sets on his quest to destroy Athens. This is where Kratos comes in. Kratos was a Spartan Commander with numerous accounts of bloodshed on his hands. None of this ever fazed him, though, until one night. In exchange for destroying Ares, Kratos asks for one thing . . . that his past crimes be forgiven and erased from his memory. But Kratos is a mere mortal, how is it possible for him to stand up to a God?


When you begin the game, your weapons are the "blades of chaos," which are connected to chains that are wrapped around and stuck in the arms of Kratos himself. For much of the game, these will be your main attack force. With these blades you can do a weak attack by pressing the square button or a strong attack using the triangle button. Different combinations of buttons allow you to also use combos, ripping your enemies to shreds. Speaking of ripping your enemies to shreds, you are also given the option of using the circle button and grabbing your enemies. When grabbing an opponent there are several things you might do, such as throw them, punch them, or in the case of the Harpies (flying bat-like creatures), Kratos will knock them to the ground, set his foot on their back and rip off their wings. The grab button does different things to different creatures, but whatever the outcome is, you can always expect it to be brutal.


At times when you are facing some of the more difficult enemies, you will be playing a sort of "mini-game,Ē or at least thatís what the game calls it. When the health of certain enemies is low enough, a circle will appear above them. When this happens, you must press the circle button and then follow the button combination on the screen to perform a finishing move, which for the most part will kill most of your enemies. For example, when facing a medusa, if done correctly, Kratos will grab it by the head and begin twisting the neck and rip the head right off. These can be used against many enemies and are fun to watch.


As time passes and you encounter different Gods, you will be given certain magic spells to aid in your conquest against Ares. The first ability you receive is called Poseidon's Rage, which is obviously obtained from the God Poseidon. Poseidon's Rage allows Kratos to create a blast of energy that surrounds him and hits different enemies. The second ability comes from Aphrodite and is called Medusa's Gaze. For a short period of time, this ability allows Kratos to turn the enemies around him into stone. While in stone it is easier to kill the enemies because . . . well . . . they're stone. Each ability that you acquire can also be upgraded using these small red orbs that you receive by killing enemies. On your quest you will also encounter other Gods, from Zeus to Hades, that lend you magical powers, each very different from one another but all very helpful.


While the red orbs are used to upgrade your weapons and magic powers, you also find objects to increase your HP and MP. To increase Kratos' HP, you must find six Gorgon eyes throughout the game. The same goes for Kratos' MP, but instead you must acquire Phoenix feathers. Throughout the game there are eighteen of each of them, and they will definitely come in handy when facing the God of War.


Graphically, God of War is absolutely great. Everything, from the background and character design to the kills, looks absolutely awesome. The cinematics are also top notch and the transition from gameplay to cinematics is perfectly done with load times almost non-existent, making God of War one of the best looking games to be released for the PlayStation 2.


The audio in God of War is another area that shines brightly. The voice-acting, especially Kratos, sounds great and seems to fit all of the characters perfectly. The background music is also done very well and fits perfectly with the sort of epic game that God of War is.


After beating God of War, there are several different things that become unlocked. One thing that I found interesting was the character graveyard. Inside the character graveyard you can find different characters that were originally supposed to be in the game. Either those characters were removed from the game altogether, or they were redesigned and this was what they originally looked like. There's also an option to view levels that were taken out from God of War due to several different reasons, which was pretty interesting. One other unlockable is a cinema talking about the possibility of a God of War sequel and what the story could be about.


There's no getting around it, God of War is definitely not for kids. The game features nudity, sex, and a whole lot of blood and gore that make it a no-brainer why it was branded with an M rating. God of War is one of the bloodiest games I've played in quite some time, but also one of the best.


What else is there to say about God of War except that it is an excellent game that is highly recommended for anyone, especially those who fell in love with games like the original Devil May Cry. If you are old enough to purchase this game, then go out right now and do it. You won't regret it.


Final Grade: 94%




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