God of War review
God Of MEH
God Of War is often lauded because... well, it exists. That's how I'm seeing it, anyway. Most people will tell you “holy shit it's so refined, brutal and epic”, and all I have to say is that the only thing that's even remotely epic in this game is the soundtrack. Other than that, this is nothing more than a basic hack and slash. Now, in my Dante's Inferno review, I've given some praise to God Of War, but looking back, I think I overestimated it, because playing it nowadays gives me a bad taste in my mouth. Why did everyone like it so much? It's competent, for sure, and it has some pretty high production values for a PS2 game, but what's competence without the fun?
The story is that Kratos is under the control of the gods because he sold his soul to Ares for enough strength to kill a giant group of barbarians during some war. Unfortunately, his thirst for blood hasn't been quenched, so he heads off to a village and kills everyone, including his wife and kid. He renounces his servitude to Ares, and instead, sells whatever's left of his soul to the other gods. Now he has to stop Ares from destroying the world. It might sound interesting, but most of what I've just described happens in a flashback, and as such, isn't technically a part of the game. The rest of the story is basically YAWN, because there isn't much to keep you going. There's no real sense of progression with the story, except when you get to a certain titan to get a certain item off of it needed to kill Ares. Again, YAWN! The characters are very uninteresting, especially Kratos, who is just a villain that wants to be a villain. Tony Montana, he is not, because unlike Tony Montana, Kratos is just boring. All he really does is yell and kill – hardly anything to consider badass, especially when there's not much that's really memorable.
Basically, what you're doing throughout most of the game is slashing monsters to bits. From gorgons to minotaurs, you'll be carving your way through a small variety of beasts. Like any hack and slash game, you'll have a heavy attack and a light attack to mix and match, though the combos end up about the same if you limit yourself to those two buttons... so, as you nab red orbs from slain monsters to power up your blades of chaos, you'll be able to use the R1 and L1 buttons to mix and match about 3 new combos.
Okay, so there isn't much in the way of comboing, but HEY, AT LEAST WE CAN RIP OFF THEIR HEADS, RIGHT!? Yep, you sure can! Just grab them and press a button! Just make sure to grab one of the smaller enemies, because big enemies don't like being grabbed. They have to be weakened before you can do that, and even so, what you have to do is press the button that appears on the screen. There you go, another head for the trophy room! Sometimes, you have to rotate the left stick in the correct directions just to twist their heads off. Yay! I love needless bullshit! Quick! Press buttons to finish off an enemy that should've been finished off as soon as Kratos grabs onto it! Sounds like a silly thing to bash, but it doesn't add any sort of challenge or funfactor to the game; it just feels like they're adding it just so the player can push a few buttons. Expect this sort of thing to get worse as the years go on, because this and Resident Evil 4 practically gave birth to unnecessary quick time events! Pray that developers stop putting them in one of these days.
As you progress, you'll gain magic attacks. In theory, they're meant to help you take down the swarms of enemies that come on by, especially later in the game. Practically, though, only one spell is really helpful – Poseidon's Rage, a spell that surrounds you in lightning and does a good amount of damage if you upgrade them with the same red orbs needed to upgrade your blades. The others, not quite, or at least, you wouldn't really think to use them while in the midst of battle. Oh, and they take up quite a chunk of magic power, so unless you can find puddles upon puddles of blue orbs, don't be surprised if you'll be quite a bit of time without magic when you're spamming Poseidon's Rage.
Want more? At some point, you'll gain Rage Of The Gods, which gives Kratos temporary invincibility and the ability to *bleep* shit up at a faster rate, and the meter is recharged by killing enemies when out of this mode! Isn't that awesome, kids!?
Unofrtunately, the level design is just boring. All you're really doing is going through some halls and into a big area. Oftentimes in big areas, you'll fight off a group of enemies while all the exits are sealed off, and these groups regenerate after being defeated. After a while, it just wears you down, because you're essentially doing the same monotonous bullshit. The novelty of tearing off the heads of minotaurs and centaurs gets boring as shit because that's all you're doing. I know that, within the structured world, repetition is a given, but it's only a problem when it wasn't really much to begin with. In essence, this is something that starts out fun, but ends up just plain boring!
The developers felt that if all you did was hack and slash, it'd get too repetitive, and though I agree because it's merely competent and not fun, shitty “push the block through a linear pathway” types of puzzles and stupidly easy yet bullshit platforming is not the way to cure what'd ale us. Camera angles that can't be changed make platforming harder than it ought to be due to not knowing where you'll land at times, forcing bullshit trial and error for something that should be as easy as flipping a burger. Seriously, the puzzles and platforming feel more like INTERRUPTIONS than legitimate ways to break up the main gameplay – seriously, who the *bleep* wants to actually do this shit?
Now, what else is wrong with God Of War? The fact that there's absolutely no originality to the gameplay whatsoever! I mean, holy hell, I didn't waste 13 years of my life in school being told repeatedly that plagiarism is WRONG WRONG WRONG, and yet here's God Of War, plagiarising Devil May Cry, Soul Reaver and Resident Evil 4 like there's no *bleep*ing tomorrow. I guess these guys ditched school and graduated by the hairs of their chinny chin chins... and people criticise later hack and slash games for ripping off THIS!? Seriously? It's like saying “this game sucks because it rips off a rip off”. Sadly, God Of War is famous for being “epic”, not the finest example of legal plagiarism. What a shitty industry this has become.
Now, I'm an understanding fellow. I'll understand if you want to punch me in the face for being honest in saying that God Of War is an overrated piece of plagiarism that shouldn't be considered the behemoth that it is today. If you're to look at it the way it should be looked at, God Of War is a basic hack and slash game. You're only given a few combos, the game is only about 6 or 8 hours long, there are only 3 bosses, everything here is either easy or bullshit hard (ooh I'm getting surrounded by monsters, it must be hard!!), and you spend a majority of the second half of the game in one dungeon. If you can't put the pieces together, basically, the potential for an excellent game is there, but they didn't meet it halfway because they obviously didn't care after designing most of what we got here, and just went “multiple dungeons and a campaign that actually takes time to beat, are you crazy? Kids aren't that patient, they just want to kill shit before it's time to do homework!”. Suck a dick, you hackjobs.
Oh, but don't worry, the graphics are good! The amount of detail put into the environments is pretty astounding, and at least it's all nice to look at! The FMV cutscenes are especially quite pleasing to the eye. There's an astounding amount of detail put into everything during these scenes (at least by PS2 standards), and at the end of each scene, you think to yourself “man, those graphics are sexy”. My only complaint is that the environments are all the same. Like I said, you're spending most of the second half in one dungeon; given that, you'll be seeing the same browns, greys and brick walls time and time again. You'd expect some variety, but remember, the developers didn't care.
The soundtrack is excellent. There's an epic chorus and a bunch of symphonic shit going on while you're killing enemies and running through the same dungeon, which at least makes things seem more interesting. Quite the epic compilation, I have to say. One of my favorites of the sort. There isn't anything bad to say about it, nor can you really complain about the voice acting, which is... passable. There isn't much of it, but whatever there is, is okay. You can at least believe that Kratos is pissed as hell when you listen to him, even when he isn't raising his voice... which is actually the point if you pay attention to the story (but I'll understand if you didn't).
God Of War is actually not a bad game... it's just really basic, redundant, sterile and all about the production values. Competence is fine if you can keep it entertaining, but, well, it isn't in the long run. Definitely a fun Friday night rental, but if you're like me and renting isn't an option, I suggest buying this cheap at the most. It really isn't as good as other people say it is.
About the author
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