Thursday, June 09, 2005

PS2 Game Review - God Of War

One of the things that I picked up during my blog hiatus was my PS2 gaming habit which partly explains why I couldn’t find enough time for my blog. I got it for my 31st birthday last year which may sound sad but in hindsight I have to say that it helped me keep my sanity especially when work got too intense in the office. I seriously believe that nothing is as therapeutic as coming home to immerse oneself into a console game and start hacking at on-screen monsters for an hour or two after a tough day managing projects, scant resources and unrealistic expectations.

Since then, I’ve gone through several titles although I must say that I usually just play them at the easiest levels so I can get through them and move to the next title. I may resort to reading a walkthrough from if I get stuck but for most of the time, I usually can muddle through it. Most of the games that I currently have are either categorized as long drawn out CRPG or short gory actions games. I don’t really get into the other genres of games out there partly because I have the reaction time of a tree sloth so I’m abysmal at fighting games, driving games and 1st person shooters.

The reason for the previous two rambling paragraphs is to lead to my intentions to put down my thoughts/short review of the games that I’ve recently completed in my blog. I’ve wrote reviews of computer games (the last was back in Oct 2003) on the PC before on my blog so this is just an extension of that effort. Of course, not being a professional game reviewer, I can only give my own opinions about the games that I’ve completed. So to start things off, I present to you my thought about one of the best games I’ve seen in a while.

(Image courtesy of

Title : God Of War
Publisher : SCEA
Genre : Action
Platform : PS2

I read a lot of good things about “God of War” published by SCEA (Sony Computing Entertainment America) even before it was released from the various gaming trade sites on the Net. It was one of the very few games that I immediately bought to try out when it first appeared in the local market. I rarely do that as usually I would wait for more gamer reviews before trying a new game. I would quickly find out that I wouldn’t be disappointed.

From the start, GoW sucks the player into an immersive gaming experience. The story opens with a cut scene of playable character standing at the edge of a cliff before plunging down to the rocks below apparently to his death. With an opening hook like that, players are immediately vested into the game wanting to learn what events had led the character to this point of the story.

The controls and gameplay for GoW are easy to learn and most users could easily master the multiple combo attacks that would be the mainstay of the character. Each combos are uniquely detailed that chaining different combos are not only effective in dispatching the baddie on screen but is also beautiful to look at when executed. In addition to combo attacks, there are also other context sensitive button combination available when dispatching certain monsters and end of level bosses. Successfully completing the sequence may allow the player to refresh their health or magic power in addition to the game experience bonuses. For most of the bosses, successfully completing the sequence is the only way to defeat them and move to the next level.

The fighting in the game is perfectly balanced out with the puzzle solving aspects of this genre. Most of the puzzles in the game are easy to figure out and helps to slow down the pace of the game which could be quite frenzied at times. In accordance to the theme of the game, most of the puzzles involve pushing levers, moving blocks and the like. There are also the usual pitfalls, spinning columns and balancing beams that need to be completed in order to complete the current objective. Some of the puzzles consist of several mini puzzles that need to be solved before the bigger solution is available which further increased the sense of accomplishment when the player has successfully completed the puzzles.

There is a sufficiently large collections of enemies and monsters to go though to keep the game visually interesting. Even at the easiest levels, the games throws an interesting mix of baddies for the player to hack at . There are a lot of check points through out the story that the player can start from if their character dies instead of going back all the way from the last save point. Most of the enemies are triggered when the player first enters the area and will not respawn after they have been defeated even after the player backtracks into the area again. This makes this game more forgiving than most but it does not lessen the enjoyment.

I have to admit that the thing that I enjoyed the most about this game is the storyline and the graphics. Players are not told the whole story of what was happening at the beginning of the game. Without a full backstory, players are compelled to continue the game to find out more about the main character as his stories unfold in beautifully rendered cutscenes. The storyline it self is quite dark at moments but it is not without it’s own sense of humor. A word of caution, there are some excessive scenes of blood and gore in some of the cutscenes that might disturb some players. Being that it is integral to the plot, impressionable players should either be supervised when playing or give this game a miss until they can handle the subject matter.

Overall, I thought that GoW is the most well planned, beautifully rendered and immersive gaming experience I’ve had this year. I would highly recommend it to anyone who love a good game in the action genre on the PS2.

Next game : Mad’s Spy vs. Spy by Global Star Software and Vicious Cycle.

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