Content of the article: "Recently beat God of War (2005) and I was surprised how well it held up."
It wasn't until GoW 2018 until I finally experienced the series. Before that, I had limited knowledge on the intricacies of the series. I knew the basic plot points (Kratos killing his family, killing most of the Greek Gods, attempted suicide, etc) but I didn't know the full details of the original greek trilogy. Thankfully GoW 2018 was a easy starting point and so far that game is one of my favorite PS4 games. After playing it though, I was defintely interested to try out the older games and see a younger and more monstrous Kratos. So I dusted off the PS3 to buy GoW 1 and 2 HD and experienced the first journey of Kratos.
First of all, the game still holds up well graphically. The enviroments are geneally nicely detailed and the combat animations are wonderful. The monsters and bosses all look pretty great but the human character models aren't the best. Kratos looks okay but everyone else could use some work. It's not a huge deal though. The cutscenes are well done and are well constructed enough to keep the player invested.
With regards to the story, I overall quite liked the game's plot. Kratos here isn't fully 1 dimensional like some people claim. He's brutal and often commits evil acts but there is a reason for why he is that way. The accidental killing of his family broke him and he is just spiraling into a being of pure rage and selfishness. He can't help but acknowledge what he's becoming and is haunted by it but can't change his fate. True, he doesn't have as much character development as in GoW 2018, but I think he still goes through an understandable arc. Him becoming the God of War at the end symbolizes that he becomes the very thing he hated and his fate is set in stone (Before the sequels had a say in things). Other than Kratos, the rest is fairly standard. Ares is a good villain but unfortunately he doesn't show up much. The narrator helps bring more of a grandness to the story and fits the "Greek epic" tone.
Now for gameplay. Unlike the slower GoW 2018, this is a proper hack and slash. Kratos has his generic combos and you gain more as you increase your weapon power. Most of them are useful in some way but you could technically spam the square, square, triangle combo the entire game and win. I do wish that the new combos were a bit more variable than your starting kit. There's also magic attacks that are all useful. Posideon's Rage is probably the best but all of them are good under specific circumstances. Kratos has a lot of different ways to kill efficiently and I appreciate the variety, even if the standard combo is a bit too useful not to use constantly. Kratos controls well overall and it's quite fun comboing and juggling enemies with the blades of chaos flying everywhere. Kratos can block which works on most minor attacks but a dodge roll is needed for the big stuff. Unfortunately, I found it difficult to guard or dodge in mid combo, as Kratos has a hard time stopping. I do wish the mechanics were more instant so I wouldn't get punished every time I wanted to do a longer combo.
There's a fair selection of enemies to fight. Most of them are fun in their own way and some can be quite challenging at times. There is some strategy at approaching them. I did it hard to dodge some of their attacks. Like the normal enemies would have a long windup for some attacks but sometimes I feel they would just attack instantly with no room to dodge. I feel like I'm missing something here. Another small con is that I feel the generic enemies can be too meat spongy. It can take way too many combos sometimes to kill them and it makes me feel less like a badass like the developers intended. Overall the combat isn't the most complex but it's fun and has a nice sense of progression and enemy variety.
The game is fairly linear, it's not really a metroidvania or anything like that but that's okay. This game is very spectacle driven so the linear nature fits. There's secrets to discover though, some are decently well hidden. The last real aspect to the game are puzzle, climbing, and platforming aspects. The puzzles are nothing spectacular but do their job. I really didn't care for the climbing parts though. They're too slow and repetitive and made me just look forward to when I could get back on foot. There's not a ton of them but there's enough for it to be a drawback. I actually kinda enjoyed the platforming segements though. For what they were, they were decently challenging but manageable. It added a nice variety to the main gameplay. The game is over not too hard overall. I died a few times to enemies but as long as you're moderately careful you should be fine. There is some pretty badly designed segments that drag the game down a bit (Looking at you room before Pandora's box and the godforsaken spike colum in Hades, whoever approved of that should be fired).
One last note is the music. Overall I really enjoyed the game's soundtrack. The chanting and beating of drums during combat always pump you up and provide a great atmosphere. The main theme is catchy and memorable and fits the tone very well. My personal favorite track is the one when you cross the sword bridge of Athens and also watch Area destroy Athens. The music is awe inspiring and really puts you in the moment of a Greek Epic. It just goes to show that a good soundtrack can make the difference.
So that was God of War. You could tell it was the first game in the series but overall I found it to be a great start. It’s not perfect but exceeds exactly what it wanted to do and I can't wait to experience GoW 2 and the future of the new games.
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