God of War

aka: Dark Odyssey, GoW, God of War HD, God of War: The Hydra Battle
PlayStation 2 Specs [ all ]
See Also
(prices updated 9/23 9:32 PM )

Description official descriptions

God of War is set in the age of ancient Greek myths. The hero of the game is a mortal warrior Kratos. Long time ago, Kratos was the leader of Spartans, a fearless and brutal general who waged wars for the glory of his city. Today, he is known as the Ghost of Sparta. For the past ten years, he is tormented with terrible nightmares, unable to forget the tragedy that happened in his past. He has to serve the gods of Olympus, who promised to forgive his sins if he becomes their champion. Finally, the goddess Athene tells Kratos that redemption will be granted to him if he defeats her brother, the god of war Ares, who was the very reason for the tragic event of his past...

God of War is a 3D action game with platforming and puzzle-solving elements. Kratos has two default swords that he will always carry with him, called the Blades of Chaos. They allow the player to perform combos, which will constantly climb until the fight is over or until it takes too long to register another hit. The higher the combo total, the more red orbs Kratos receives from defeated enemies.

Similar to Devil May Cry, the red orbs collected from fallen enemies can be used to purchase upgrades. It is possible to upgrade the default weapons, learning new moves and striking faster, or put the orbs into different weapons acquired throughout the game, such as Blade of Artemis. Kratos will, over time, also have access to a selection of magic spells. At specific points in the game, he will be able to generate an arc of electricity, courtesy of Zeus, or use the decapitated head of a Gorgon to turn enemies into stone with Meduza's Gaze.

The game features several unlockable extras, which are only acquired when the player has beaten the game on different difficulty modes. Most of the features are a behind-the-scenes look at various aspects of the game, such as creating the world, modeling Kratos, and a look at deleted levels that didn't make the final cut of the game.

Spellings

  • 战神 - Chinese spelling (simplified)

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Credits (PlayStation 2 version)

453 People (402 developers, 51 thanks) · View all

Game Director / Lead Designer
Producer
Lead Programmer
Art Directors
Coordinating Producer
Associate Producers
Project Coordinator
Game Programmers
Lead Engine Programmer
Design - Level Design & Scripting
Design - Combat Scenarios
Design - Combat System
Design - Camera
Design - Level Design
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 93% (based on 105 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 157 ratings with 11 reviews)

Outstanding game, very movie like.

The Good
I loved everything about this game, from the great and challenging gameplay. Right down to the cinematic storyline, and beautifully rendered backgrounds and characters. I loved the storyline of this game also, very well thought out, and very well put together. I also loved the music in this game, beautifully performed, and every track went with what was happening in the game.

The Bad
It was way too short for my liking. I would have liked to see more length to the general gameplay. I finished this game within 5 hours my second time through about 8 hours my first time through. Now on the other hand, the extra's did add some length to this game, but still the main game just wasn't as long as it should be.

The Bottom Line
I would describe this game as an instant classic. It's beautiful, and very well presented, and very well put together. It's just plain good, nothing wrong with how this game is put together. I suggest you buy this game if you have not, it's excellent and well worth your time.

PlayStation 2 · by David Bryan (21) · 2007

*I* *AM* *THE* *GOD OF WAR*

The Good
I admit that I was approaching this game with a small bucket of skepticism. Actually it was a huge tank car of skepticism, to be exact. “The Best Game For PS2” (as labeled by some professional critics) while observing from the bird-view perspective of a hardcore PC gamer, seemed to be nothing more than an mindless teenager slasher-fantasy full of inappropriate tits and gore. When I had actually completed it, the game turned out to be exactly that, with a small exception. It’s an extremely bloody fantastic mindless teenager slasher-fantasy full of inappropriate tits and gore.

During the course of the game I tried very hard to suppress all the good feelings I felt towards this game. I guessed that is what every sane and mature person would do. The game has surprisingly little to lure you in from the start. The bastardized version of ancient Greek mythology, square-jawed protagonist who speaks more akin to a US marine than to a champion of gods and to finish it all lots of QTE sequences taken straight from Shenmue and elevated to height of Olympus itself. So, tell me, who would actually buy into that sort of crap? As it turned out, I would. The explanation for this paradox can be summarized in three words: premise, design and variety. These are three whales upon which the genius of this game rests. In the good section of this review I try to explain each of those in detail. Follow me.

The premise of God Of War is deceivingly simple. You are Kratos, son of Sparta and the champion of the Gods. Athena, your only contact with the Olympus asks you of last favor, after which all the nightmares and horrors of your past would be erased and you will be released from the servitude to the Gods. The task is daunting: kill Ares, the God of War. What’s brilliant is that it unwillingly copycats (or maybe devoutly follows) one of the most popular story in the ancient Greek mythos. Not a particular one, but a general idea. The idea of a mortal opposing the gods themselves. Kratos is a powerful character; he doesn’t undergo a series of dramatic changes or offer any psychological insight into the human nature. Instead he is son of anarchy, the mortal who defies fate, and is up to challenge the god of Olympus himself.

The Gods VS Man theme is evident throughout the whole game and is retained in sequel, God Of War II, and I presume will be concluded in the final installment of the series on PS3. This is a effective albeit a very simple theme. It gives the game an initial charge that provides player with enough amount of motivation to complete the game no matter what. The first time you see Ares, a true god of Olympus, you wander “How on Earth would I be able to defeat such a creature?” (a feeling not so unlike the one experienced in Shadow Of Colossus), and only the determined look on Kratos face reassure you, that this man is certainly up to the task. The idea of initial thrust is actually a saving grace of many action-oriented games. Many of the not-so-bad shooters have fallen a victim to their extremely mediocre starting levels with no personal connection to the protagonist: Black, Chaser, Far Cry, Doom 3, Cybermage and lots of others. The player ought to be given some motivation in order to cope with the limited interaction possibilities an action game offers. The good examples of that are Max Payne and Outlaws, utilizing the ever-green plot of revenge. God Of War stands besides those titles offering us an amazingly determined protagonist, Kratos, who in his hatred and despair challenge the Gods.

But the premise and cool character alone is not enough for any game to succeed. People need meat! The minute to minute process of the gameplay, so to speak. While being a slasher in its core God Of War still carries with itself a huge bag of additional goodies. You’ll get puzzles to solve, huge areas to explore and items to collect. Everything here is governed by Variety. I deliberately spell variety from the capital letter, since it appears a capital design idea behind the game. No matter what, the Santa Monica studios gently caters each of the player’s wishes. As if afraid that he might lose interest in the midgame. Tired of town ruins? Here’s a change in scenery. Tired of puzzles? Here’s a nasty monster. Want some jumping? Here you go. The amazing fact is that those sequences are timed just right. Never had I encounter a group of monsters with a thought “Not again!” in my mind.

Another side of the entire “keeping things fresh” agenda manifests itself in game constantly feeding you new abilities. It doesn’t give all the powers at once, but give them out gradually through the course of the game. You won’t feel that things have become stale not once. Alright, partly that is due to the game being rather short, but mostly thanks to diversity God Of War boasts. Even the Quick Time Events, which has already earned an infamous status, are brilliantly executed. You don’t press the buttons because developers felt limited in providing real gameplay. You do just for delivering a final blow to the weakened enemy, which if done with traditional cut-scenes would have felt anticlimactic. Perfect implementation of the not-so perfect element. As much as I like Fahrenheit, God Of War presents a completely different and at the same time utterly correct use of QTE ever imaginable. Look closer, Quantic Dream (developer of Fahrenheit) this is what QTE are for.

I’ve mentioned puzzles a bit earlier in the review. I think those require a few more bytes of this HTML page. Puzzles in God Of War are not particularly challenging, however they are extremely entertaining. Once again an amazing “no thing repeats itself” formula takes its effect. Various contraptions, combinations, traps provide the most interesting tomb raiding experience reminiscent of … well, Tomb Raider series, I guess. While in search for the Pandora Box in the huge temple complex, Kratos has to partake in a series of challenges associated with each God of Olympus. That bit of the game was clearly influenced by original Tomb Raider. A very good choice of inspiration, I might add.

And to finish it all, the game wraps its already attractive nature into eye-popping visuals. I won’t grow tired of repeating that the graphics must solely lie on the shoulders of artists, not programmers. Artist draw, programmers fit into a game’s engine. God Of War is a prefect visualization to that design idea. It neatly combines the Greek approach to design with an overall fantasy flavor and spice it up with extreme love to gigantism. Everything is big and awe-inspiring in this game. Titans, gods, temples – everything visually speaks for itself. In its graphical department GoW easily beats every other game of its genre. Even Prince Of Persia series, while trying to do something similar with Arabian Nights setting doesn’t quite reach the Olympic production values of God Of War.

All in all, GoW is one fantastic game. Keep that in mind while reading the bad section, and don’t you forget, that I am trying really hard to find something wrong with it.

The Bad
The first problem that bugs me is too connected with the game’s style and presentation. Much of its goodness relies upon on a camera angle and superior lighting techniques. Add to this an extreme linearity of God Of War levels, and you will see that the game’s illustrious locations are nothing more than a cardboard set of Hollywood decorations and there is no world to speak of behind them. Mind you, those are very well crafted decorations. However, in order not to reveal their other ugly cardboard side, the developers p have ceased a camera control away from the player, so you won’t be able to look where developers don’t want you to. That in its turn provides an opportunity for some very juicy angles and camera work. It doesn’t make the technique any less cheaper and fake though.

As I said, that’s not just a problem of camera. The whole approach to visual design consists of load upon loads of tricks and limitations according to what gets on camera and what doesn’t. You can’t depict a convincing virtual world based on such trickery. Shadow Of Colossus is a perfect combination of cinematic action and unrestricted freedom of movement and camera.

Another gripe I have with the game is its plot. I don’t mean premise or story, which being not exactly great serve their function well. What I have in mind is the changing objectives and unfolding narrative. This game has none of that. In the beginning you are told to retrieve the Pandora Box, (developers should really have chosen another name for it, since it’s nothing like a Pandora Box from the Greek mythos) the only weapon capable of defeating Ares. Little did I know, that the whole game will consists of that important but ultimately not that inspiring an objective. The road to Pandora’s Box is interesting enough, but I would definitely preferred a larger number of milestones. As it is, the pace of the game feels extremely uneven. Something Max Payne, for example, which also had a very simple story, avoided altogether by introducing a lot of interesting side villains and constantly changing the current objective of protagonist consequently keeping the pace strong.

And last and the most least is that gore and sex haves a very juvenile portrayal in this game. Sex doesn’t go beyond showing tits with blurry textures on them and gore just stays in the middle with disjointed limbs without venturing to do some really nasty stuff. Not that it bothers me so much. In fact, it rather saddens me that people concentrate their attention on such stuff instead of parts where the game really shines. If so I could've appreciated it much earlier.

The Bottom Line
Let’s sum it up!

Talent: 4/5

As far as camera changing, locations and music go this game was a dream-like experience. It’s hard to believe that the only game the studio has outputted before this one is a distasteful Twisted Metal racing game. Great job!

Ambition: 4/5

Clearly, the game screams to you: “I am something you have never seen before!”. Can’t say I agree. But the ambition of developers is very hard to ignore. They really wished the game to be “the most” in pretty much every area. And they did succeed. The Titan Kronos wandering in his eternal torment through the sands of damned desert is a good illustration to Santa Monica’s titanic ambition.

Pteity (Pushing The Envelope - ity): 2/5

We’ve seen it all before. The amazing level design and thrilling action together with the exploration of the ancient Greek setting and QTE sequences weren’t invented by this game. In fact taking into account that the game takes a freelook camera view away from the player may be considered as a step backwards to the days of 2D platformers. And that is not a good thing.

Effort: 5/5

No problem, here. The game goes to great lengths to be constantly entertaining to a player. That results in a zero amount of filler material. Everything is unique and well timed.

Adequacy: 4/5

I say that even if the Greek setting isn't portrayed exactly as Homer and Co envisioned it, the overall theme and story the game takes is pretty much consistent with the Greek mythology. A single mortal defies the rule of Gods upon him and defeats the God Of War. Will do.

Total: 3.8/5

God Of War is an action game. And everything which is required from an action game it does well. It has plenty of variety in it to keep you coming back for more, or as in my case, spend a whole night through playing it unable to stop at all.

The amazing design of locations is enough for everyone even in 2007 not to regret the lack of next-generation console at home. The music is a perfect fit for the game. I can’t even find the words to describe it properly. I guess it can be called a classical music with an attitude of Trash Metal band. Great!

And a nicely presented story keeps you from wondering, why you are playing this stupid slasher game when there is a serious Role-Playing experience awaiting you in other room.

That’s all, folks! See you back in God Of War II.

PlayStation 2 · by St. Martyne (3644) · 2007

You are Kratos, and you will MURDER the God of War!

The Good
God of war is an over the top fighter / platformer that will keep you glued to your console. Its not just the gameplay, which is awesome for this genre, it the total style that will absolutely suck you in.

Style and Graphics:

Think Greek mythology, you know satyrs, minotaurs, gorgons. Think of that mythos, jealous gods fighting over petty things which larger than life consequences. Now, add some attitude to that mix. No, add some super attitude that will chop you up and grind you into some hamburger meat. That is this game and that is Kratos.

Kratos is the center of this game, and you are going to learn a lot about this guy. He's bad, I mean tougher that any stinking junkyard Cerebus. He's mean and nasty, and if you get in his way, he won't mind sticking his nasty weapons in you. Thank goodness he is only interested in killing Aries, and only some of the nastiest versions of your favorite Greek monsters are in his way.

And these are not your claymation monsters from Clash of the Titans. These beasts come straight from hell and are made that way with powers that fit well to the combat ethos. Minotaurs are big and strong and love to slash you, Gorgons are quick and snakelike, but will often try to turn you to stone with their lovely gaze you must avoid. And harpies are annoying enemies that will drive you crazy when you need to concentrate on more difficult enemies. And the Cerberus and Cyclops are as big and bad as ever. Meeting Aries is almost a let down after defeating all those other enemies.

And this style is never laughable, never falters. It holds you up and grabs you and makes you actually sympathize with what you might consider a monster of monsters, Kratos.

Gameplay: Kratos is a bad ass, and he gets a bad ass weapon. He fights with two serrated blades that are welded to his hands with chains, so you can throw them quite a ways and still have them for your next fight.

You use those chained swords and magic to kill your enemies and gather red orbs from them. The more you get, the more experience you can add, so your skills in magic and weapons increase, making them stronger and adding new combos.

And, you'll need those combos, as each enemy is different, requiring different fighting techniques. You also will need to block as well, but be careful. The block key can unleash some of the most powerful combos, as well as a devastating parry.

But enjoy, for the battle promise to challenge you, especially the end fight. Its a well made ending that never feels cheap, though you will be screaming at the screen at times trying to finish it.

Music/ Sound: The music is very good, especially the main theme which never gets too tiring. It adds to the action without overwhelming. The sound effects are good and visceral, sometime too gross. The sound of swords hitting stone or wood is well differentiated, and using a large siege crossbow sound every bit as difficult as I'd imagine. Finally, the voice acting is superb, especially Kratos and the Narrator. I love the narrator, as this is a voice that fits with a movie on Greek mythos and truly sets the tone.

Graphics: I'm impressed with what they did with the PS2. They really pushed the limit on this, though sometimes that creates problems. Each visual is well designed and harsh as is needed for this game. Each place feels super real, and some of the amazing scenes, such as seeing Aries for the first time, crushing armies with his feet, are just amazing to behold. You can't believe this is not a PC game if it weren't for the limitations.

And the cut scenes are well worth it. You'll want to see them all again at the end of the game, with great visuals and voice acting. They really are as good as any Squaresoft title, with much more of an edge. It really is like seeing a movie between the gameplay.

The Bad
There is little I did not like, but here it is anyway.

The graphics can sometimes overwhelm the PS2. Sometime scenes can blur if too much action is going on. Other times cut scenes won't appear for a few seconds.

Also, the second to last level is completely frustrating and gets boring. You will die a lot because of cheap gameplay where one misstep leads to your fall to doom. Really, tough it out because the finale is worth it.

Finally, the game can be too violent. There are cut scenes where soldiers are bursting with blood like a bad pimple. One or two times seeing this is enough, but they show such scenes over and over, really feeling gratuitous and not mood setting.

ADDED AS EDIT: I forgot one other bad thing that may drive the short of time a little mad. The save spots can seem somewhat arbitrary. You can finish a big battle, only to find no save space until much later. It’s not too bad in the main game, as you will discover all the areas between saves can usually be done in under an hour with practice. But, the Challenge of the gods will drive you crazy as it takes quite a long time without a save spot, especially when one of the challenges takes a half hour by itself. I just left my console running so I did not have to fight through all the challenges again and again to get to the difficult one

The Bottom Line
You are Kratos, and you Will kill the God of War.

It’s a simple premise, but aaaah, it so much more than that.

You will be fighting on the edge of your seat, desperately trying to make it to the next save spot. And you will love every minute of it. It’s a grand, bloody, heart pulsing epic, and it’s worth every penny you will pay for it.

PlayStation 2 · by Dwango (298) · 2005

[ View all 11 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Kratos Unicorn Lynx (180491) May 19th, 2008

Trivia

1001 Video Games

The PS2 version of God of War appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Athena

In the God of War series, the Greek Goddess Athena is voiced by Carole Ruggier. Co-incidentally, she also voiced the same role in the game Age of Mythology.

Development

According the "Making of" materials, A number of elements were removed from the finished game. Kratos, for example, underwent a number of incarnations before his final design. Some of these included a tribalistic, African design with dreadlocks, a "Lone Wolf and Cub" theme that included a child or small dog (which may have inspired the Cerberus Pups), a vaguely futuristic, armoured look, and various gladiator designs, which were rejected because they didn't look savage enough.

German version

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's original intention was to release this game in Germany alongside the other countries in June 2005. They even had a cover art for the Germany release ready, as you can see on this back cover, yet there was one big problem.

The USK, Germany's age rating organization, refused to give the game a rating. And while it is not illegal to sell games in Germany without a USK rating (in this case it acts in most cases as it were rated USK 18), Sony Computer Entertainment Deutschland decided to not release the game in Germany.

For this, SCED's Marketing Director Ulrich Barbian gave a statement telling that:

"The publication of a title without an age rating does not fit Sony Computer Entertainment Deutschland's company philosophy. As a pioneer of a whole category, we can't expect that the public accepts video gaming as a natural entertainment like music and video if we release titles without age ratings. We hope our Action-Adventure fans understand us. Besides, there are many very good Action-Adventures available for the PlayStation 2, which got an age rating from the USK."

Besides this marketing speech, there is another reason. Games released in Germany after April 2003 without a USK rating tend be be indexed shortly after. And this means that most of the sales drop to zero after a short time.

Essentially, publishers only have two choices once the USK rejects the game. Give up or cut it so much until the USK is satisfied. The latter of course runs the risk that the publisher is investing tons of money in cutting it down and the public won't take it anymore, because it is cut way too much.

A similar thing happened with Activision's Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil, where Activision decided not to release in in Germany after the USK refused it. And ultimately, the game found its way to the index.

But for God of War, don't cutting it down went to success, as the USK revised the decision two days ago, on 13 February 2006, when it got its USK 18 rating (and therefore the protection from being indexed). However, there is one change: during the sacrificing sequence the human victim was replaced with a monster.

Kratos

Kratos, the name of the game's main character, is Greek for strength or power. Even though he is not part of the canonical Greek mythology, a deity named Kratos (κρατος, "power") is mentioned in several classic works, including Hesiod's Theogony, the primary source for Greek mythology.

Kratos was one of the four children of the titan Pallas and Ocean's daughter Styx. He had a brother named Zelos ("rivalry"), and sisters Bia ("force") and - the most famous of the four - Nike ("victory").

The four sided with Zeus when he fought the titans, and became somewhat of "bodyguards" to him. Interestingly enough, in the few myths that mention Kratos, his portrayal is not dissimilar to the protagonist of God of War. His loyalty to his master and his brutality are particularly noticeable.

Awards

  • 4Players
    • 2005 – Best Game Without German Release of the Year
    • 2006 – #2 Best Game of the Year
    • 2006 – #2 Best PlayStation 2 Game of the Year
    • 2006 – Best Action Game of the Year
    • 2006 – Best Hero of the Year (for Kratos)
    • 2006 – #2 Most Impressive Boss of the Year
    • 2006 – #2 Best Original Soundtrack of the Year
    • 2006 – #2 Best Voice-Acting of the Year
    • 2006 – #2 Best Graphics of the Year
    • 2006 – #3 Best Story of the Year
  • Computer Games Magazine
    • March 2006 - Console Game of the Year 2005
  • GamePro (Germany)
      1. February 2006 - Best Console Action Game in 2005 (notable is that the game was not released in Germany at this point)
  • GameSpy
    • 2005 – #3 Game of the Year
    • 2005 – PS2 Game of the Year
    • 2005 – PS2 Action Game of the Year
    • 2005 – PS2 Game of the Year (Readers' Vote)

Information also contributed b< Mark Ennis, PCGamer77, Supernintedo Chalmers and Unicorn Lynx

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God of War II (Special Edition)
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God of War (Digital Deluxe Edition)
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The Odyssey: Winds of Athena
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God Wars: The Complete Legend
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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 17344

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by JPaterson.

PlayStation 3 added by MAT.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Xoleras, formercontrib, DreinIX, Caelestis, Patrick Bregger, Charly2.0, FatherJack.

Game added April 13th, 2005. Last modified April 3rd, 2023.