GOD OF WAR
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on September 9, 2016
Welcome dear readers, to a slightly delayed episode of the Big Red Timemachine which, incidentally, nearly wouldn't have been possible at all, thanks to the newest staff member here at Big Red HQ: Dennis "CallMeBackdraft" Aspers. Apparently, he thought it necessary to "improve" my timemachine and took it on himself to make some alterations. Unfortunately, Dennis isn't quite as smart as he thinks and he switched the positive and negative lead of the Dynamic Redux Mercury Influctuator and mistook the Argon Particle Intake Regulator for the Radial Torque Generator, effectively creating what you might call a temporal black hole.
Being so close to the machine, we both grabbed hold of the hull and hung on for dear life. The black hole sucked us in and sent us spiraling through time, with no means of controlling where, or rather, when we were going to end up. After a couple of tense moments and some troubling events, of which we shall never speak again... What? No Dennis, I don't want to talk about it and I suggest you do the same if you know what's good for you! Now go sit in your corner and stay there! Ahem, as I was saying, after a few tense moments, we managed to climb into the timemachine and strap ourselves in. We knew that we couldn't stop the machine even if we wanted to, so we decided to ride it out and hope for the best until we reached the end of the line, which turned out to be some 66 million years ago, in the Cretaceous period. We might even inadvertently have accidentally set in motion the extinction of the Dinosaurs. Remember how people told you that a big meteor hit the earth and killed off most of Jurassic Park's inhabitants? Well, we don't know about the meteor part, but it sure was big... and red... and travelling at quite some speed after being flung out of a temporal black hole, I can tell you that much!
Nevertheless, we thought it wise not to stay in that timeperiod longer than absolutely necessary, so I started making repairs to my almost ruined Big Red Timemachine. After a few days of tinkering, we got it going again and we started our journey home. Just in time, I realized that we still had a game to find, play and write about, so I decided to stop off at the year 2005 in search of the magnificent, incomparable, awesome and truly fascinating game: God of War.
Released for the Playstation 2 by Santa Monica Studios and Soncy Computer Entertainment, God of War let us be who we always wanted to be; Kratos, a nearly invincible muscular warrior with deadly blades tied to his arms. Ok, ok, he did actually have a bit of a anger-management problem, but we won't hold that against him. Yes, I know he murdered his family, but that was by accident. Furthermore, have you given any thought to the fact that he might have had an extremely annoying family? I didn't think so! So let's forget these minor character flaws and let us start focusing on all the cool things that made God of War one of the coolest games ever!
God of War was a third person action game that focused mainly on hacking and slashing your way through tons of enemies, solving puzzles, platform sections and upgrading your weapons, as well your health and magic meter. On this epic quest, you play as the aforementioned Kratos, who is a faithful servant of the Greek gods, until one of them, Ares, tricks him into killing his own wife and daughter in a frenzied raid of an enemy village. After this bloody incident, Kratos swears bloody vengeance the god who tricked him and sets out to get his revenge.
To this end, he summons another Greek deity, Athena, and demands his release from servitude. Being the backstabbing goddess she is, Athena tells Kratos that if he somehow manages to kill Ares, he will be set free. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Kratos promises Athena he'll do just that. Now, you might be wondering why Athena didn't simply kill her brother herself. This is because Zeus, the king of the Greek Gods, has forbidden any God to take the life of another. Krato however, is still mortal, so there's nothing to stand in his way on his quest to murder Ares... except a few thousand monsters, a Titan named Cronos and a dozen puzzles to solve.
What I especially liked about God of War, apart from its kick-ass soundtrack and (at the time) awesome graphics, was the game's pacing. It's like Santa Monica Studios made an action game and then decided that every single feature of the game should be in overdrive. Or, to cite the wise words of Spinal Tap's Nigel Tufnel: These go to eleven! God of War actually offered high-speed action and over the top attack combo's, filling your screen with blood guts and various extremely cool-looking particle effects. The normal fights were already somewhat chaotic and allowed for a fair amount of button-bashing, but even these epic battles were nothing compared to the boss fights you come across. The first one is right at the beginning of the game. After a brief tutorial in which you dispatch a few enemies, you make your way across a large ship. A enemies and platforming sections later, you must face off against an actual Hydra. This epic battle immediately sets the tone for the rest of the game, which is to say: grim, violent and absolutely awesome!
After the blood and bodyparts start flying, God of War doesn't let up one bit. It's a relentless deluge of glorious violence and over-the-top action, just as we like it! Or, at least, just like some of us like it. And trust me when I say that I am one of these wonderfully deranged people. There's something rewarding about seeing a minotaur's head getting ripped off while blood, health point and mana points come streaming from its severed neck. And while some players might cringe at the thought, I know there are others, like myself, that revel in the gratuitous violence and mayhem. But, God of War is more than just severed limbs and gallons of blood. At its core, a nothing less than brilliant story entices us to delve ever deeper into the world of Greek mythology and Kratos' personal struggles.
Apart from the regular attacks, Kratos is also capable of launching a couple of magical attacks that do additional damage when striking enemy troops. When in combat, Kratos collects rage points. If he collects enough to fill the rage meter, pressing L3 and R3 simultaneously unleashes a brute force called Rage of the Gods. This power makes Kratos invincible for a short period, while increasing the strength of his attacks. Another fun feature is the clever use of Quick Time Events (QTE's) when finishing off an enemy. Successfully completing these QTE's usually awards you with even more health, magic or rage points, enabling you to upgrade Kratos even faster. And you will need every point you can get if you are to succeed in your quest to kill the conniving god Ares.
You may suspect by now that I absolutely love God of War to death, and you would be right! It was the first game that allowed me to just mash my way through such a huge number of enemies AND tell a good story, all at the same time. That's multitasking for you. Come to think of it, that's exactly what I'm doing right now! I'm writing this review, always keeping one eye on my colleague in case he tries to do more ‘improvements' to the timemachine and thinking of a way that lets us both run the Timemachine HQ without causing the world to end. Hmm... I've got a lot of thinking to do! Well, nothing left for me to do than wish you all the best. I'll see you guys and girls next time, as we once again blast off into the glorious past of gaming.