God of War

I just finished God of War 1 and 2 for the first time here’s my thought !

First thought : Why haven't I done this before ? Both games are oozing charisma and passion from every outlet and the combat feels so good in both games. That was right up my league !

So God of War 1 :

This game aged pretty badly to be honest, and I'm not talking graphics, graphics were actually pretty decent for PS2 Era. but the game design was pretty rough.

What I didn't like :

  • Fights are a bit too long for no reason, the game sending you sometimes the exact wave of enemies you just defeated feels boring at times
  • The enigmas are a bit too "box pushy" there's a few interesting ones but most are pretty on the nose, and require pushing boxes from point A to point B. Also the conveyor belt box pushing was pretty frustrating at first, and then I realised the conveyor belt stops after a while ? Is this intended design ? Is this just something they added after the fact cause it was too hard ? If yes : Good change in my opinion haha.
  • Very few bosses I can only really remember 3 bosses from GoW 1, maybe it had more but it's pretty telling.
  • The magics aren't very inpired to me. One big strong AoE (which is the one you'll use 90% of the game), Zeus's lightning for attacking distant archers, the medusa head I never used, and Hades which is pretty powerful and just throw and forget.
  • The Hades was a bit frustrating, especially climbing these rotating pillars… It felt a bit like "Get over it"
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What I liked :

  • The atmosphere is awesome, so gritty and grime. Pandora's Temple is really greatly designed place, and the insanity of the architect slowly building-up till the latest rooms is a great touch.
  • The battle system, for a first game, is super robust and fun you have a lot of combo freedom, the enemy variety is pretty good, and the game does require you to think a little bit against stronger monsters.
  • There are few bosses but they are good, The Minautor is awesome, the Hydra was a great introduction, and the Ares fight was pretty cool.

There's a lot to clean up in this, GoW 1 is a diamond in the rough, and the absolute best argument for why making sequels is a great thing is its sequel.

God of War 2.

This game is SUCH a glow-up from the first one. Almost every pet peeve and major issues I had with the game is fixed in this one. Even the xp taking ages to be used in the first game which is an extremely minor thing.

What I didn't like :

  • ? ? ? Honestly I'm not sure, maybe the side weapons weren't as useful as I'd hope, but that's kinda on me as I swiftly ignored the hammer after realizing I couldn't dodge with it in hand.
  • The skeleton elevator. That timing is soooo tight on the last door…

What I liked :

  • The variety of environment is awesome, God of War 1 has its atmosphere, but steering the visuals into more colorful yet still dark places was a great idea. The frost giant cavern, the bronze horses, Atlas, even the swamps. It all looks very nice and the environement always manages to get refreshing. It feels like no set-piece stays on screen for too long and it makes many of them very memorable for good reasons as a result.
  • The magics are way better, and are synergizing with combat more than they distract from it. Maaaaybe Atlas' Fury is a bit too "out of the battle" but you get it so late I'll accept it, it's part of the power fantasy at this point.
  • So. Many. Bosses. And I loved them all ! Putting the emphasis on bosses was the best idea, all these confrontations with well-known figures are so great ! Thesee, Perseus, Rhode's Colossus, Fate Sisters, THE BARABARIAN FROM GOW 1's cutscenes ??? I loved that callback ! And Zeus to top it off !
    Really one of the best parts of the game
  • The enigmas are much harder, but also much more interesting, while you get very few hints it feels so good to find a solution by yourself. I think I just had to look up a walkthrough once in the whole game (putting the body in the water current to get it to the other side : I would've never thought about that !) Special points to Clotho being an awesome "Enigma Boss".
  • The difficulty seems to have sprung up from the first, they seem to feel more confident with challenging the player… And I really liked that, I actually died way more to just hard stuff in GoW2. But it doesn't get as frustrating as GoW1 to me, the difficulty is more "fair" than just annoying…. Except the skeleton elevator.
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This game really feels like a proper sequel, it fixes most issues I've had with the first, brings a new focus to the table (bosses !) and really shows how a well thought sequel can push a good idea into a timeless classic !

I think I'm not ready for God of War 3 !


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