God of War PS2 Review

May 31, 2010 by Chris Wigham  
Filed under PS2, Retro Content, Retro Reviews

A game featuring melee weaponry without some sort of fluid and satisfying movement just isn’t possible these days. It’s an almost obligatory feature, which is a necessity if such games want to stay up there with the big boys. There’s nothing that matches the feeling of swinging a sword or two, and watching your on-screen character dance with a deadly purpose around the screen.

What we have here with Sony’s God of War is a gaming crossover, which successfully blends elements from Capcom titles such as Onimusha and Devil May Cry as well as Ubisoft’s Prince of Persia series. It’s a succulent recipe for many action fans, and as the focal point just happens to be the silky smooth violence, that can only be a good thing.

Playing the game for the first time is certain to wow every single gamer, who witnesses the beautiful visuals on show here. The quality is so extensive, that at times, we forget we were even playing a PS2 title – it’s that lovely. The PS2 is clearly being pushed to its ultimate limits, and the strain isn’t even apparent. Sony has worked wonders in this department, resulting in good things to everything from the solid textures to the fantastic animations and fixed cinematic camera.

The game itself more than complements the Xbox quality visuals, and should be commended for it’s intuitive pick-up-and-play philosophy. There are strong and weak attacks, which can be linked together in massive big-hitting combos, and the combat looks terrific when hints of slow motion mark the crescendo of a powerful attack. Sublime magical capabillities also keep combination attacks very much alive, often resulting in colossal combos, which award you with more souls for your troubles, these souls just happen to be indispensable for upgrading Kratos’s weaponry and magic.

It’s also a game of vicious brutality, which sees you spilling plenty of gallons of blood on the lovely textures. Kratos’s means of combat is vicious: ramming a sword down a minotaurs throat, ripping the head off a medusa, and tearing a monster in half are just a few of the nice things you can do to your foes. These finishing moves are inhuman, totally effortless to pull off, and never come close to becoming old.

It’s not all about ripping enemies apart though, as a fairly regular puzzle solving aspect presents the player with a much-needed breather from all the relentless action. Many of the puzzles don’t force the intellect into overdrive, instead Sony have opted for solutions, which most gamers will work out without the aid of a walkthrough. There’s still some rather genius puzzling to be done though, and like the rest of the game, it’s solid gold.

What the game lacks is boss fights, sure they are present, but there just isn’t enough of them. Being so light on the enormous enemies with the longer power bars, should mean that the uncommon appearances, they do make are all the more special. This is mostly the case, as there’s some mightily impressive boss encounters in here, which often have you bashing a required button to unleash major damage during certain stages of the battle. We would have liked more giants to slay, but we are still happy with what we got in the end.

We have come this far and failed to mention the wonderful plot and the depth to Kratos’s unforgettable personality, who turns from a murderous monster into a guilt-ridden warrior (making us feel both contempt and sympathy for the character). We think so highly of the plot, that we don’t want to spoil a single scene, or a line of dialogue for any of our readers, it’s quite simply some of the best storytelling we have come across in our gaming lifetime.

God of War is an impactful title for many reasons, and one that we’ll be certain to remember for a very long time. The Console Obsession jury is still out on whether this is as good as the excellent Devil May Cry 3, but regardless of this, God of War is an outstanding and landmark title for Sony, which shouldn’t be dodged by any self-respecting action adventure fan.

9/10

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