RANDOM SELECT – ‘God of War’ (2005)

The original game is still a pretty exciting offering despite some aging.

Review by J.T. Johnson

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: March 22, 2005
DEVELOPER: SCE Santa Monica Studio
PUBLISHER: Sony Computer Entertainment 

Recently, I played Sony’s latest “God of War” game and it was a phenomenal experience that pushed the franchise forward into a grand new direction. After having played the game, I wanted to revisit the original game that was unleashed 13 years ago on March 22, 2005. Thankfully, Kratos’ original adventure holds up… for the most part.

In the original game, Kratos is a man that is beholden to the god of war in Greece, Ares. Due to an attack on Athens, the other gods want Ares out of the way. Therefore, they recruit Kratos to go on a quest for Pandora’s Box. With this in hand, he has the ability to fight and kill a god!

The game’s story is pretty straightforward and so is the gameplay. You pretty much travel from point A to B on linear journey to your ultimate destination. You not only face off against an assortment of enemies, but you also encounter various puzzles that you will need to solve in order to advance.

By today’s standards, the combat is rather simple as the game is mostly a hack and slash title where you just try to kill your enemies as fast as possible. A couple of things help keep this from getting too boring. The first thing is that you absorb orbs from fallen enemies and chests along the way. Some orbs allow you to upgrade your weapons and the upgrades give you access not just to more power but to more moves as well. Then there are orbs that replenish your health and your magic meter.

Speaking of magic, you use this when you gain access to certain powers that add a little more strategy to the gameplay. For example, after you beat Medusa for the first time, you rip off her head and you can use it to turn enemies into stone. Eventually, you gain other moves such as Zeus’ lightening and Poseidon’s rage to help you along the way.

Graphically speaking, the game has aged quite a bit for any newcomers that might want to see what all the fuss is about. It was actually quite amazing to see just how far we’ve come in the 13 years since this game’s release. I almost forgot what raw polygons looked like!

Despite a much simpler combat system and aged graphics, this was still an insanely fun title to revisit. The puzzles provide a good challenge for the mind while the combat appropriately tests your reflexes. The game also introduced us to Kratos, one of the most complicated video game characters ever created.

The next two games in the series added more substance to the story, but this game provides the backbone on which the entire series is built. I still recommend it for anyone who loves pure beat ‘em up action! If you can get your hands on it, I also recommend the PlayStation 3 version since they did at least upgrade the visual presentation for that particular release.

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