God of War Impressions

I’ve got my hands on the import version of the acclaimed new PS2 action title, God of War, and have taken it for a quick bash. I was surprised to see what looks like a fairly generic and insipid action title (you have to admit that playing as a servant of the gods and defending Ancient Greece from mythological creatures doesn’t sound like the most original concept) getting such incredible reviews, but having played it I can see what they’re getting at. This game is shamelessly good fun.

God of War

The game, in which you play as Kratos, a Spartan who is haunted by his past and serves the gods as his route to forgiveness, hearkens back to the days when Mortal Kombat was the latest threat to our youth and the fad amongst developers was to drown their games in blood. It could be the biggest load of crap that you’d ever played but as long as it had a distinctly sanguine tint, everything would be OK. This is probably where my apprehension about this game came from, even after Edge’s glowing preview; it just sounded like the same old pomp that we hear every time. Like those games, it has no qualms about spraying everything with blood and (sometimes literally) tearing enemies limb-from-limb, and blatantly doesn’t care what anyone thinks abou it. Why slay the hydra when you can skewer it through the eyes and impale it on a broken mast? Why silently kill the gorgon when you can tear off its head and use its hideous gaze to turn your enemies to stone? Well, why not? There’s an M-rating on the box after all.

Kratos is a fairly transparent protagonist with only the bare bones of a personality on which to base the action. If anything the design of his character is somewhat poor as his looks and personality fit firmly into the category of “vanilla rage-filled anti-hero”, but even if he lacks the charisma of Devil May Cry’s Dante, the action is done well enough to carry itself. The comparison to DMC is probably apt as they’re fairly similar – violent action led by combo-heavy combat and gigantic bosses, all wrapped up in a very pretty shell. This definitely is one of the best games on the PS2 and is more than worthy of a purchase.

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