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May 20 2018

Late God Of War Review

Having seen the hype over the recent reboot of God Of War, whilst watching some of my favourite YouTubers playthrough it, I thought it was a good opportunity to see where the franchise started playing the PS3 HD release of the original.

Never prior played a God Of War game though they’ve been out for years and having had all previous consoles, but it was just something I thought that I would never be interested in. Just another drop in the ocean at the time of action rpgs that were popular on PS2 back in the day – Jak ‘n’ Daxter, I’m looking at you. The difference with GOW though, is that there is an ocean of blood you’re wading through.

The premise of the game is that you play as Kratos, a spartan warrior cursed to do the bidding of the Greek Gods. You will face down monsters of legends, harness the power of the Gods, bed a trove of women and rise from being that of a mere mortal.

So as mentioned, I’m playing the HD release of the game rather than the original on PS2. For that, the game is able to achieve 1080p 30fps, in which edges look crisp and portions of the game do look good, but otherwise there will be times the game resembles the PS2 version, with blurred textures and low load distance. The cutscene videos appear to be of the same quality from the PS2 era rather than being re-rendered HD. Would rather play on PS3 though with faster load times and the better clarity than on the PS2 console, which I’ve since misplaced. The game is responsive throughout, with fast action scenes, and very rarely will pause to load the next level though sometimes may display an image of the next room in a doorway rather than render it.

We start the game at one of the most iconic moments in gaming, banging some broads in bed. Getting the sexy time mini-game out-of-the-way, going through a pile of vases, the ship we’re sailing on into Athens is attacked by monsters, putting sexy time aside. First ten minutes of game, having acquired the basics of exploring and combat, and we’re thrown into a boss battle with a leviathan. I found it quite tough and took a few attempts at. I feel that this would have been something that made or broke a lot of players with completing the rest of the game.

Essentially a big part of the game is defeating waves of various enemies. Enemies consist of monsters of greek mythology, basic skeletal units, archers, minotaurs, goliaths, gorgons, harpies, etc. These enemies will come back stronger in later chapters of the game, identified by a different colour palette to represent that they’re now stronger. With each monster type, there is a special attack we can use to finish them off having weakened them down, whether that’s ripping a medusa’s head off, tearing a skeletal in half or ripping the wings off a harpy. Performing these special moves will reward the player with either health or magic orbs to refill the meters.

Fighting mechanics in the game are OK. Initially, we start the game with the Blades of Chaos, duel wielded blades that are magically chained to Kratos’ wrists, a condition of the contract he sold his soul to. With the blades, we can perform basic and strong attacks, aswell as a set combination of both, performing far-reaching attacks with the chained blades. We’re also able to jump, parry, dodge, launch enemies into the air and grapple to perform additional moves. Further into the game, you will acquire magic powers awarded by individual gods, able to now perform lightning area attacks or shoot individual bolts of lightning at enemies, aswell as either use Medusa’s stone gaze to petrify enemies. Both weapons and magic attacks can be upgraded by the use of red experience orbs collected from slaying monsters, opening chests that tend to be hidden in side paths on levels and from destroying decorative props. Upgrades allow for stronger attacks, as well as you now being able to perform additional combos, which will provide the edge you’ll need in some fights. Kratos has one final trick up his sleeve, which is his rage mode. By depressing R3 + L3 when the bottom left corner meter has filled up, this will temporarily boost Kratos’ attacks, with greater range and damage, smashing enemies to pieces whilst wearing the phantom armour of a Spartan warrior.

 

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I did have an issue with the parrying in the game, as it does perform in the sense of stopping the attack of an enemy if timed correctly, problem is, it’s very hard to time correctly, not just going off any tells the enemy might give, but more so that if you’re being swarmed by a group of enemies, there are times you will just get stuck in an orgy of attacks, with no ability to block, dodge or attack until the smallest of opportunities opens up amidst the onslaught. The issue I have with this is that enemies are able to block your attacks in the midst of being hit during a combo, but Kratos can’t do it the other way around, with your scrutinized health bar getting smashed to bits. Also I would have liked to have been able to cancel Kratos’ current attack to switch to blocking, otherwise again, I’m getting smashed to bits as unable to take counter-measures until the enemies lay off for a few seconds.

Plenty of boss fights throughout the game. The hardest for me being locked inside a ring with multiple cerberus’, in which they start off in a cute puppy form that if left, will evolve into a massive 3 headed dog, with greater health and capable of firing fireballs from its mouth. The key is to kill these puppies before they evolve, the difficulty being that they’re squirmy little bastards, agile to jump out of the way of attacks as well as bombarding you from all angles, preventing you from attacking and steadily depleting your health bar. By defeating the puppies, you will be awarded some replenishing health orbs, but it took me a good few attempts at getting the pups out of the way before tackling the evolved Cerebus’.

The game will at times test your patience with the number of enemies it will throw at you. The problem with enemies spawning, is that there are rooms in which enemies will spawn infinitely, meaning that you won’t realise this is occurring for about 5 minutes, thinking you’re just fighting regular waves until you finally catch on and release there’s a puzzle you’re supposed to solve whilst under constant bombardment of blows. The only saving grace is that if you are defeated, the checkpoint tends to be close by.

Whilst exploring a level, you will come across said enemies, as well as puzzles to solve to access the next part, whether this is moving a few blocks around, doing some platforming, or defeating enemies a certain way. By exploring side paths, you will come across treasure, usually guarded by enemies, consisting of gorgon eyes or harpy feathers, which if 6 is collected at a time, will increase your health and magic bar respectively. Otherwise you may come across chests that provide an amplitude of red experience orbs used towards upgrades. There is one point of the game, whilst going through a temple of acquiring some hidden muse statues, which goes towards unlocking a room in the Rings of Pandora that provides a nice health and magic bar upgrade. During gameplay I did refer to an online guide when coming to crossroads, as I didn’t want to be locked out from backtracking incase I managed to miss any treasures.

Platforming is OK in the game. With a fixed camera angle for each scene of a level, you will be double-jumping to different platforms, climbing edges and walls, rope swinging and hitting switches to open doors. There is a portion of the game where you need to platform within a certain amount of time of about 70 seconds to save the Oracle from falling from a rope. Little tip here to keep an eye out for, in that you can achieve an easy trophy by ensuring to save with within the last 10 seconds of the timer, which I managed to forget to do.

Kratos’ story is spread out throughout the game as minute long cutscenes,telling the back story of what occurred for Kratos to be how he is and why he goes on a quest to obtain Pandora’s Box to defeat the God of War, Ares. The story for me, as little as it is essentially with some enormous big reveals, has since actually got me really intrigued into the story of God of War and now has me wanting to play additional games to see how the story progresses and how it got to the point of where he’s now living in Midgard in the recent installment amongst Norse gods. It’s certainly interesting how Santa Monica has managed to reboot the series. I’m just surprised more sequels haven’t transpired of Kratos travelling with his kids considering the amount of boogey time he gets up to. Christopher Judge’s voice acting from what I’ve seen from both games has been fantastic and on point. Always been a fan of Chris due to SG1 which I recommend for all to watch as one of the best sci-fi series ever.

I can certainly see why this game achieved the stardom it did back in the day, being a game on the PS2 at the time that was pushing boundaries and providing gameplay no other game was. With the world still reeling from the fantastic Gladiator movie released in 2000, this would have been the gladiator game people wanted to play and experience for themselves.

The part of the game I liked graphically in both sense of the term is when escaping from Hell, ie Hades. Platforms here consisted of grotesque skin stretched surfaces, full of veins and tendons, pouring blood into the abyss below. I have to say thought that I absolutely hated the parts involving rotating blades that you had to avoid, including climbing the annoying tower of spikes, which not only took numerous attempts, as touching a spike would send you all the way back to the bottom, but in didn’t really work as a mechanic overall, not making a hell of sense and why the hell as a gamer would I want to climb an unclimbable tower when I’ve not actually ever committed a sin, and this punishment should be reserved for the most vilest of people rather than us innocent gamers.

The soundtrack throughout the game was definitely awe-inspiring of a gladiator at work, picking up when the tension and action picked up on-screen. Was getting a vibe of The Mummy 1999 film from it. I would say overall, this game feels very much like playing through a movie, with a fixed camera angle that would be a pain at times, but you can see that each scene has been carefully scripted and directed so that each gamer has a very similiar experience of the story and gameplay.

Upon completing the campaign, you unlock a Treasures menu in the main screen, which gives you access to watching some director commentary videos of development, a 3D character viewer plus additional challenge modes, including tackling the game on God Mode difficulty, which hell no was I going to attempt, seeing as normal difficulty was hard enough. Otherwise you can tackle Challenge of the Gods mode, which is 10 trials set to test your abilities. With the first trial being just to push 10 enemies off a platform within a time limit, that was easy enough, second trial was defeating all the enemies in a level within a time limit, yet try as I might, for whatever reason there must have been an enemy hidden somewhere as I would fail the trial with plenty of time to spare, so I gave up on that after a few attempts.

Most of the trophies throughout the game are easy enough to obtain, so again, makes for a nice addition over the PS2 version for trophy hunters and providing additional challenges during gameplay.

From having played the game, I can now say that I have been converted to a God of War fan boy and that it is a really satisfying game to play, providing an intriguing plot and gameplay, whilst providing a good challenge for my gaming abilities. As mentioned, I’m now on the lookout for obtaining the sequels and playing through them in time, and am now at a crossroads with whether I watch my favourite YouTuber NeebsGaming with their current playthrough of the latest God Of War with hilarious commentary, or to pause it so that I can experience the game first hand for myself and to then come back to the series afterwards, the only issue being that as I’m TheLateGamer, and still have the previous iterations to get through, it’s probably going to be a long time before I eventually get round to it. Otherwise for everyone else, I really recommend that if you haven’t already, to play this one as I’m sure you will find you’re just as impressed with the game as I am.

 

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