This is a game not to be missed! It's a showcase for the PS2, one of the best titles on any system, and certainly one that gamers of all types should play. There is something here for everyone. An instant classic!
People talk all the time about stale gameplay of today's games. Rehashed ideas. Games that are all fancy wallpaper, and no substance. Cookie-cutter titles that do nothing new, and trends in gaming that show no signs of changing. God of War for PS2, despite being an older title, will satisfy any gamer looking for something to break the mold and bring new ideas to the table.
For starters, I don't recall more than a few games in the 25 years I've been gaming that have been based on Greek mythology. It's a GREAT premise for a game, and lends itself to various scenarios and types of environments. God of War proves this. The environments, bosses, graphics, weapons, and story are all based (albeit loosely in some places) on Greek Mythology. You'll see giant Hydra creatures that fill the screen, Medusas with stares that turn everything to stone (including other enemies), giants temples and ruins, titans carrying entire buildings on their back, and gods that help you on your way. It's all very entertaining. I tried to imagine how much WORSE this game would be if it used completely fictional characters and stories, and I believe it wouldn't be nearly as entertaining. Kratos (the main character) also is a great main character/hero/antagonist. He's interesting, and has a great story behind him.
Graphically, this is an outstanding looking game. I didn't say "PS2 game", just GAME. It looks great, even when compared to today's games. My brother came in while I was playing, and he's not much of a gamer. He didn't even realize I was playing a PS2 game until I told him. It looks that good. HUGE environments, HUGE bosses, and tons of great effects. Nice added touches like spiral staircases, buildings on the back of titans, and huge stone statues that rise up from the ground - some for you to climb, and some that carry you to other areas - all make for exciting times, even when you're simply moving from one area to the next. Other games would just make a boring pathway to the next area, God of War gives the player things to look at and interact with along the way. Also, it's in progressive scan for those with HDTV's.
I can't say enough about the gameplay. On the surface, it's a hack-and-slash button masher. But underneath, there is a lot more. Kratos can use special attacks (Medusa's stare, Zeus's lightning bolts, and Hades souls can all be used on command providing the player has magic power remaining). And if you are using one of the main weapons, different button combos result in a huge variety of moves with various levels of damage. Some button combinations can have 20-30+ hits at once...with Kratos swinging, jumping, slamming, and flailing his Blades of Chaos into enemies with fantastic showmanship and force. Even towards the end of the game, I was still amazed at some of the moves I found Kratos doing. On top of the combat, there are puzzles that involve moving blocks into correct areas, pulling levers, finding skulls to place into doors, and finding your way through a maze killing every monster to open a door. There is a ton of variety here. God of War borrows some of the best gameplay ideas from all the games in history. It never gets boring, and it always offers something fresh.
The story is something that caught me by surprise. A lot of action games skimp on the story - save the princess, find the gold, etc. God of War starts off without telling much of the story. It's basically "kill the god", and that's all. But then you learn about the past of Kratos, why he wants a god killed, and how he got to the point shown at the beginning of the game. It's all done through cutscenes between and within levels, and it works. There isn't much talking during the gameplay, and that's OK. It flows nicely. The story moves along without lengthy dialogue. Definitely of the more interesting storylines, and it even throws a few surprises in there to surprise the player.
Overall, this is one of my favorite games ever, and easily one of the best for the PS2. I can't recommend it enough. If I had to knock it down a little, it would be due to the combat being slightly repetitive - it's a button masher at heart. There ARE tons of moves, but some are more useful than others, and you'll find yourself using those more than others. Also, the game starts with a GREAT battle against a gigantic Hydra creature - but a battle like this doesn't really occur again in the game. I would have loved to have seen another amazing battle like this one, and it really doesn't happen again. It's the largest boss in the game, with the most varied gameplay. Almost feels like they ran out of ideas after the Hydra battle. Also, most of the enemies from the beginning to the end are all the same. More variety in the enemies would have been better. Finally, I can't see myself playing this again. There ARE secrets, and unlockables, and a GOD mode (higher difficulty). But once you see most of the game, and know the story, I can't think of many other reasons to go through the whole thing again. It's challenging on normal, I don't know why I would try it on a HARDER level.
Go get this game, it's cheap, has great graphics and gameplay, and should satisfy gamers of all types. Maybe God of War II fixes some of my issues...I'm excited for that, and also God of War III. Great, GREAT stuff, and an excellent franchise for Sony.