Game Comment: "God Of War" (PS2)

22 Oct

God of War tells the story of Kratos, a mighty Spartan warrior. It’s set in ancient Greek and makes heavy use of its mythology. The opening cutscene shows how Kratos jumps off a cliff. He wants to end his life, because he can bear the memories of all the things he did no longer. The player takes over three weeks before this point. The game is about these last three weeks in Kratos life.

What I liked:

  • story: The story is told in an interesting way. There are flashbacks throughout the game that tell about Kratos’s life prior to the point in his life the player is playing. The flashbacks tell about how Kratos came to be what he is then and give insight into Kratos’s motivation for doing what he does in these three weeks the player is playing. So one can say that the game is a kind of double flashback, because the events in the game, which the player plays, are a flashback, too. The story itself is rather dark and is more a revenge story than the standard “hero-has-to-save-the-world”-story.
  • graphics: God of War has impressive graphics and settings. They create an epic atmosphere, a grander than life feeling, which reminded me more often than not of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings. Combined with the more elaborate way of telling the story, the graphics create a movie-like experience in playing the game. The music contributes to this experience and reminded me, again, of the Lord of the Rings-movies.
  • puzzles: There are several puzzles to be solved in the game – nothing special or too hard to figure out, mostly just simple manipulation of objects – but they were a welcome change of pace for me from the fighting.
  • bonus: There are some interesting features (similar to a DVD) unlocked after you beat the game (and there are still more to unlock). I liked that, because normally you just get character models, images, or maybe the option to view all the cutscenes. This was more like a “look behind the scenes”.

What I didn’t like:

  • gameplay: On paper there are numerous ways of dealing with the enemies – lots of different combos to use, a mini-game to finish some enemies of, and magic. While I liked the mini-games, I ended up using only one kind of combo for most of the time – the standard attack (square) with an occasional triangle thrown in and now and then some magic. I did just fine with these and never bothered with the other combos. Apparently, if you want to finish on the hardest difficulty, this changes. So maybe it’s better to say I’m on the fence about the gameplay since I finished God of War on normal difficulty. Otherwise it has similarities to the of Prince of Persia games.
  • camera: I can’t tell you how often I wanted to adjust the camera to improve the perspective. I want to see what Kratos is doing or were he is going. This was especially annoying in the more platform-like elements of the game like balancing or jumping.
  • there are some very frustrating areas in there where timing is everything and the smallest mistake means: do it again! Not my kind of fun.
  • duration: This game is short. It might very well be the shortest game I ever played. Sure, I mainly play RPGs which last longer than other games anyway, but believe me when I say it about this game. I finished it in eleven hours, and one hour at least was spent with doing platform elements like balancing across beams because I fell down repeatedly. Normally, I’m not overly concerned when a game is called “short”. I know that I suck at platform elements and can therefore safely add more time to the total play time. Not so here. I sucked and I still needed only 11 hours.

Did I enjoy playing this game? Yes.

Would I recommend this game? Yes.

Grade: 4 / 5 (higher without this frustrating area)


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