| SCEA Santa Monica
|Blood and Gore, Intense Violence,
Nudity, Strong Language, Sexual Themes
| The Good
Fast and intense action
Large levels that look great
Nice voice acting
| The Bad
Camera could be placed better
Character models could look nicer
Slowly but surely, Sony's own development studios are building
a solid collection of exclusive titles in a wide range of
genres. With the likes of Devil May Cry and Ninja Gaiden setting
the bar for action titles, Sony's own Santa Monica office
had a certain level of expectation that they had to meet when
they released God of War. While God of War and
it's nearest competitors share the same basic concepts, they
certainly play differently.
The story begins with the brutal warrior, Kratos, throwing
himself to his death. Why would he do such a thing? Because
Kratos is being used as a pawn in a war between the gods of
Olympus. As is revealed throughout the game, Kratos is changed
into a killing machine by Ares, but revolts and is eventually
used as a weapon by the other gods when Ares wages war on
The gameplay behind God of War is a nice balance of
combat, puzzles, exploration and platforming, without being
too heavy in one certain area. Because of this, the action
never really gets too tedious and the flow of the game rarely
lulls. Kratos is a breeze to control and comes packed with
a ton of moves. The X Button allows you to jump, while the
Square and Triangle Buttons serve as a standard and heavy
attacks, which can be strung together in combination. The
Circle Button is used for grabs, often only available after
you damage an enemy enough. Once you grab an enemy, you can
perform finishing moves which differ by the enemy type. Minotaurs
can be finished off by tapping the Circle Button while Gorgons
can be killed by certain on-screen analog stick motions. If
successful with these, you earn green or blue orbs to replenish
your health or magic. Most enemies drop red experience orbs.
The L1 Button is a block/parry button, while the R1 is used
to dash. The R2 is an all-purpose interact button, while the
L2 uses the equipped magic/magical item. These are gained
throughout the game as Kratos runs into various gods. At first,
you'll gain an area attack from Poseidon, but eventually,
you'll be able to toss lightning bolts and use Medusa's head
to turn enemies to stone. Each of the magics have different
uses without much similarity. As you gain more and more red
orbs, you'll be able to spend them to level up Kratos' weapons
and attacks, making the attacks more powerful and opening
up more combinations.
As you kill more and more enemies (and they will come at
you in waves), your rage meter will fill. Once it does, you
can unleash Kratos' Rage of the Gods, which gives you awesome
damage dealing power, even if for a limited time.
Visually, God of War certainly does a lot good. Locations
are large and feature a ton of detail. Many locations are
so impressively large that the sense of scale is awe-inspiring.
The character design for Kratos, the gods and many of the
enemies are pretty interesting, even if they add a more modern
taste to the characters. There's a lot of heavy metal flair
to the overall character design. When it comes to the average
human NPC, though, most of the characters are pretty uninteresting.
Visual effects add an extra layer to the nice textures in
creating a cohesive game world. One can not overlook some
excellent level design, especially in Pandora's Temple, where
the level is one large puzzle unto itself. To finish this
all off are some excellently done CG story sequences that
are both directed well and just look good to boot.
The sound portion of God of War works as a nice backdrop
to the visuals. The music is finely scored and works hand-in-hand
with the action to create both a fine mood when you're exploring
and a certain level of excitement at the right moments. Sound
effects have a nice variety and really give a punch to the
on-screen action. The voicecast, featuring TC Carson, Steve
Blum, Linda Hunt and Carole Ruggier, delivers on the wonderful
There is certainly a lot going right in God of War.
With having said that, though, there are some minor issues
that I wish could have been polished. First and foremost,
the player has no control over the in-game camera. A lot of
the time, this isn't much of an issue, but there are a few
occasions where it proves to make things more challenging
than needed. Also, there is a few times where the lower-poly
character models stand out as a sore spot, especially in comparison
to contemporaries in the genre.
God of War is a solidly executed action title that
provides more than a decent challenge. The game balance is
well done and the average gamer will find a lot here to enjoy.
With high production values and a solid story, I have to hope
that this quality title will spawn future sequels.