Storyline: As Kratos stares at the abyss below him, he canít help but remember the vile memories that haunt him; the ones he would wish to forget and which continue to ravage his heart. Without any hesitation, he takes a step forward and goes plummeting down the mountainous abyss and awaits the quick moment of release. The game barely begins and the protagonist is on the verge of deathÖ.pretty interesting, no?
Kratos was a promising young general of a Spartan army that led his group through victory after victory. Each battle not only brought them fame but also spread their name in fear across the Mediterranean world. However each good thing must come to an end. The calm and collected Spartan army faces an adversary who doesnít dwell on strategies and shows no mercy; the barbarians. They quickly become overtaken by these monstrous beings, and even the young general faces defeat. As the young Spartan general stared at the blade that would bring his demise, he made one last desperate plea to Ares, the God of War. In exchange for sparing him and his army, Kratos would offer the God his very own soul. Just as the blade was about to come down on him, the sky rumbled and cracked signaling AresĎs arrival. The tide of the battle quickly turned and Kratos brought a swift death upon the opposing general with his newly acquired powers, thus ending former battle which was now a massacre. Victory was at hand, or was it?
Eventually Kratos would have to hold his end of the bargain, and was thus made to be the God of Warís killing machine, bringing death and destruction across the Mediterranean while leading Aresís deadly army. Unfortunately a pact with the Gods isnít all itís made out to be, and Kratosís would quickly learn to regret his decision. But regret is such a light word.
As Ares continues his deadly rampage all throughout the world, the Gods worry, for his actions are not only brutal, but insulting towards the other Gods. Not wanting to break the non-violent pact between them, the Gods of Olympus can just stand and watch as he ravages their patron cities leaving nothing but ruins and agony. However, among the ruins there is hope. A hero emerges out of the agony and despair. The Ghost of Sparta appears, a being so powerful that he once served under the orders of the God of War; Kratos himself. As he struggles to get rid of those memories that haunt him, the Gods rely on him and make an offer. If he takes out the God of War, they would rid him of the memories that continue to haunt him.
How could he refuse? Not only would he get rid of that painful past, he would also get a shot at taking down the one who betrayed him, and revenge is sweet upon Kratosís lips. He immediately heads out towards his objective; the God of Warís head.
But can a mere mortal take down a God? Does Kratos have what it takes to strike down his former master? Will his journey lead him to victory or death? And how foolish do you have to be to try to take down a God?
Gameplay: This game has one of the most fluid gameplay I have ever seen. The options of attack consist of a light attack, heavy attack, grapple, and dash attack. By stringing these variations into different combos, players can take down a vicious enemy, or a horde of foes. Each different combination leads to a different chain ending by Kratos and eventually strong attacks can be linked as well, along with weapon change. Not to mention the variety of magic attacks which can easily increase the chain combo, thus giving players an edge in battle.
By pressing the L1 button, Kratos can block most feeble attacks thrown by the enemies, and if pressed at the right time it can even reflect them as well. But when going up against the cream of the crop, blocking just wonít simply work. Therefore the alternative would be to dodge, which is triggered by flicking the R3 stick in any direction. This is perfect considering it gives Kratos a chance to dodge, but also could set him in for a sweet opening. So all in all, the button controls make the fighting very fluid considering how one could chain attacks, but also because of the swift block and dodging that make it seem so very easy to maneuver.
Another thing to note are the small mini games of certain creatures and enemies that Kratos will face. Eventually once weak enough, some of these adversaries will display the circle button above their heads, meaning death is near. All players have to do is press the button and a small mini game will commence. If players successfully press the right buttons in the right order as they appear, Kratos will demolish them in a brutal fighting sequence and victory will be at hand. There are slight variations. Some creatures require different button combos while others make use of the left analog stick which has to be rotated a certain way in order to vanquish the vile creatures.
Magic in the game is pretty easy to grasp. Along the way Kratos will receive aid from the Gods and acquire a different power along the way. There are four different magic powers to wield, and all have different strengths and weaknesses which have to be mastered if one hopes to grasp victory and move forward. These can also be chained among the different attacks, so Kratosís arsenal will just keep growing and growing as you progress further in the game.
There are 3 types of orbs in the game: green (health), blue (magic), and red (bloodÖwhich is equivalent to money). These orbs can be found in various chests laid out through the game so no need to worry; youíll eventually run into these and save yourself from imminent death. However, many creatures in the game drop these precious orbs as well, but mostly the red ones which is actually more important. These red orbs can then be used on your weapons and magic in order to increase damage as well as to gain new powers during battle. Theyíre sort of like money that you can spend in upgrading.
Your primary weapon in the game will be the Blades of Chaos. These bad boys are literally seared onto Kratosís arms, which is fantastic because youíll never lose them. By powering up these toys, players will increase their strength but also acquire new abilities. Again, these new techniques can be chained along with many other attacks and thus aid in increasing chains. The only other weapon in the game is the Blade of Artemis. This weapon might look pretty good, but itís not as effective and doesnít feel as fluid as the Blades. They do however come in handy by increasing your chain. Players can start a chain with the blades, which to the Blade of Artemis to do some damage, and then quickly switch back to the blades to finish the combo.
Many puzzles will arise in Kratosís quest and itís up to you to solve them. Most of them are pretty easy but then most can be tedious and require multiple times to accomplish (because some will kill you if you donít succeed). But all in all, the puzzles arenít very difficult especially if you look at many hints which may sometimes be written on some post or sign. All in all, the gameplay is fantastic.
My Opinion: I am pretty much in love with this game. It is the first of the three installments, and even though the graphics arenít as good I am still captivated by the epic adventure. There are times when the camera zooms out and gives you the whole picture of the temple or terrain that youíre about to traverse and it is just awe inspiring. You will truly marvel at the designs of the backgrounds, and not just the backgrounds but the statues, monoliths, edifices and many other surroundings that can be found in this game. They truly worked their best to immerse you in the ancient land of Greece.
The variety of creatures youíll encounter will only serve to amaze players even more. Any possible creature you can think of is in this game. From medusas to Minotaurs, from centaurs to Cerberus, Orcs and ogres; this game has it all. Each has their own weakness, and all will come at you to try and take a piece. The bad: most likely you will have to face a horde with a variety of these creatures. The good: Kratos is always in a bad mood, and no monster will be spared that easily.
One of the most inspiring things about the game is not only the backgrounds, but also the music. The rapid battle tempo music, the calm and collected temple music, along with the sinister sound of the Hadeís challenge; its enough to want to keep playing forever. They truly did their best to connect the music to the scenario, which makes it feel more like an adventure.
Another thing that strikes my fancy is how Kratosís mood never changes. It seems he is always in a foul mood. He really is a blood thirsty killer and wonít hesistate. In fact, in most levels you can kill innocent civilians in order to regain health. Not only that, but he has many chances to save people and takes none. Itís a good thing this game doesnít lack foes, that ought to vent some of his anger.
The only true problem I may have with this game is lack of bosses. There are hardly any bosses in the game, which is somewhat of a letdown, but the game still delivers. Another personal pet peeve is the camera angle in the Atlas room. You take a step in the corridor and the camera drastically changes, thus messing with your controls. And itís not even in the right place since it seems to hide the staircase. Besides that the game is excellent.
If you take pleasure in hacking and slashing, or if you have some pent up anger and want to release, this game is right for you. Itís so good that you wonít even feel like youíre playing a game. It will be more like youíre actually embarking on an epic adventure.
As much as I love this game, I canít keep ranting about it forever. From jaw-dropping sceneries to music, from fluid gameplay to foe variety; this game is truly enjoyable. I give this game a 10/10.
Get ready for some anger managementÖthe Spartan way.