God of War Review

As you can probably guess from the Award of Excellence that you see on this page, I love this game. And I really mean it. I play a lot of different games, and itís been a while since Iíve played one as intense, epic, and fun as God of War. I was completely hooked from the start of the game and there just arenít many games out there that can do this and do it as well as God of War. How much fun is it? Itís like putting on Stimpyís happy helmet and cranking the dial to 11. The South Park kids would kill Kenny (those bastards!) just to play this game. Shake would become a Buddhist monk, renounce material possessions, and devote his life to serving Meatwad if it would get him more time with this game. Yes, itís that good.

You know youíre in for something different when a game opens with its hero, or rather antihero, committing suicide. The game then flashes back three weeks to show the events leading up to the sad end and youíre taken to the deck of a ship in the midst of a storm while the fleet is under attack from a many-headed hydra. Howís that for atmosphere? You wonít have time to check out the view though as youíre thrown right into a battle against demonic soldiers that keep on coming. This opening battle sets the tone for the game Ė thereíre a lot of enemies and a lot of blood, there are some great locations, and the game is an adrenaline-rush blast to play.

Kratos faces a cyclops.

In God of War you are Kratos, a legendary Spartan warrior paying a penalty for past misdeeds in the form of service to the gods. You can bet that the gods wonít call you in to settle a bar fight Ė nope, if the gods need help then thereís some real trouble afoot such as the aforementioned hydra attack or an assault on Athens by an army of minotaurs sent by the war god Ares. And youíre just the man to do it. Youíre cold, brutal, and deadly. Youíll only go out of your way to save someone if they have something that you need. And youíre armed with a devastating weapon known as the Blades of Chaos. The Blades are two short, curved swords linked together and to you by chains. You can slash, cut, fling, and twirl the blades, and perform a slew of other attacks with them as well. These attacks can be linked into combos to perform even more devastating attacks that will tear your enemies from life and limb. That not enough for you? OK, you can grab enemies as well and perform a variety of fatal attacks that vary with each type of opponent. Nothing quite understates your victory over an enemy like tearing him in half. Want more? You can collect points for slaying enemies and finding hidden treasures that can be spent to improve your attacks and purchase new combos. What, you still want more? Wear down an enemy with a particularly withering attack and a controller button icon will appear over his head. Hit that button and youíll begin a deadly mini-game that will require you to hit the buttons in sequence as Kratos gets innovative on your enemyís butt finds very creative ways to send the poor slob to Hades. I should also mention that a god will drop by now and again to give you a new magical attack. For example, youíll be able to use the head of Medusa to turn enemies to stone and then shatter them with a single blow. It really is amazing, but there seems to be almost no end to the variety of ways in which you can kill enemies. This comes to its zenith in the boss battles, each of which is an epic, multi-layered struggle. Donít expect your typical ďfind the weak spot and then hit it continuallyĒ boss battles here. It took me 20 minutes to figure out how to defeat the hydra and then to accomplish the feat and thatís just the first boss you encounter!

Youíre a deadly warrior, but the game is by no means a stroll through the park. Your enemies are smart and have a variety of attacks that can quickly lay you low if youíre not careful. Luckily you can use your blades to block as well as strike, and you better get good at knowing when to block if you want to survive. Youíll also be able to use the right stick to perform dodges and rolls when you need to clear yourself out of the way and fast, and a jump button shows that Kratos is quite the leaper when the need arises.