God of War
We've been hearing about it for quite some time, and now we get a chance to taste the fruits of Sony's labor. It's action, it's adventure, it's... aptly named. Is it everything it could be?
SCE Studios Santa Monica
By Ben S. Dutka
When you give your soul to Ares, the God of War, you're just asking for a brutal and torturous existence. Still, your army is being decimated, you're about to have your head caved in by a monstrous hammer the size of Greece, and you crave ultimate power. I suppose that for our muscular and bare-chested "hero," Kratos, the chains of slavery are worth the price of admission.
In God of War, your goal is a simple one: reclaim your soul and free yourself from those chains by defeating a God. Throughout your adventure, you will be faced with numerous perils, but more importantly, you will have a front row seat to one of the most graphic and awe-inspiring games ever created. The journey is a singular experience, so get ready to salivate.
Since late 2004, new titles for the PS2 have been pushing the graphical boundaries of the system. Games like Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and Gran Turismo 4 have represented the best visuals to date on the console, and now we have a new contender. Well, actually, we have a new king. God of War, from front to back, is the prettiest PS2 game you have ever seen.
The environments are meticulously crafted, the character and enemy designs are smooth and free of imperfections, and the overall production is polished beyond belief. Your jaw will literally fall to the floor when you first get a glimpse of the massive God of Ares laying waste to the city of Athens... in real-time during gameplay. Whether it be the flowing animations, the brilliantly created backdrops, or the attention paid to every tiny detail, God of War is not only the finest example of graphical quality on the PS2, it's one of the finest presentations witnessed on any platform.
The sound reflects the same level of refinement and polish. The combat effects resonate beautifully with metallic scrapes, gut-wrenching thuds, and perfectly clear and audible shrieks, grunts, and roars. The soundtrack consists primarily of classical themed tracks designed to fit the mythological setting, and while this makes sense, the lack of variety is a touch disappointing. Music may be almost entirely subjective, but it would've been slightly more effective to have more diversity for certain parts of the game. Overall, though, the sound is excellent.
There have been several top-notch action and action/adventure titles this generation, and they all excel in certain aspects of the gameplay. If you're trying to categorize God of War, think Ninja Gaiden crossed with Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. There is an almost equal mix of action, platforming, and puzzle elements, which makes it oddly unique. The blend is so well done that we find it increasingly difficult to categorize the game as it moves forward; the primary focus rests on the journey as a whole.
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God of War
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