God of War trilogy

ah God of War, the series that brilliantly mixed (the original) Clash of The Titans with Heavy Metal (the movie and the comic book, not the musical genre) resulting is a fresh and badass take on Greek Mythology, it’s one of my favorite video game series from the last several years as a matter of fact, but I have not played any of the games in the main series since around when they first came out, so for Christmas I got the HD collection of GOW1 and 2 and sat down and played the whole trilogy back to back and I thought I had a few interesting thing to say about them, so without further ado

the premise behind the whole series is thus, you play as Kratos, a bald, bearded and pale Spartan who is a total, absolute badass and can do or kill anything he puts his mind to (it’s kind of inspirational is a way) and in the first game he puts his mind to killing Aries, the titular God of War, but first he must find Pandora’s Box stashed away in a ridiculously deadly temple

the world he inhabits is the one of Greek myth, but more violent and grim than you might be used to (this aint Disney’s Hercules) where human life is cheap and evidently monsters are always only a stone throw away from ripping you to pieces

anyway God of War 1 was a mind-blowing game when it was released in March of 2005, back in the last console generation it was rare for such a AAA title to be released in the spring (the large majority of really good games were only released in the fall back then, which is still somewhat the case even today) and it was an absolute breath of fresh air, the graphics, the story, the combat, the controls, it was all top notch

playing it again today for the first time since 2005 it’s lost a lot of it’s luster, the most apparent thing is how dated the graphics are, even with the HD remaster, it still looks decent for a PS2 game I guess, but things that once seemed mind blowingly epic, like seeing a giant Ares in the background, nowadays seem pretty tame compared to what comes later in the series and the game is a bit too repetitive, there’s only really a handful of enemies and you fight them over and over and over

but hey, don’t get me wrong, it’s still a great game, the music is still fantastic, the story is still great and it just overall still has such a great sense of adventure, when you finally reach Pandora’s Box after hours of questing through the temple of Pandora you really feel like you’ve truly accomplished something, it’s a great feeling and it was overall a nice trip down memory lane revisiting it

but this is a series that only got better as it went on, which brings me to God of War 2

first off let me say that the graphics in this game are freakin’ mind-blowing for a PS2 game,  I know that the HD remaster sure helps, but how in the heck did they get the PS2 to put out graphics of this caliber? not only is this a huge step up from the first game’s graphics but it’s insane when you go back and compare older PS2 games to it and try to wrap your head around the fact that this is the same hardware, they really pushed the PS2 to it’s limits

not only are the graphics themselves amazing, but one thing I forgot about is the art direction is equally amazing, they really played up the fantasy aspect of it, some parts of the game almost give me a Never Ending Story vibe (which I wonder if that was intentional considering the whole “80’s fantasy” vibe of the whole series), sailing through the beautiful looking sky on a Pegasus, wandering through misty swamps filled with ancient Greek ruins, exploring beautiful temples, just amazing

that’s not the only improvement though, there’s a heck of a lot more variety in the enemies and the environments this time so it becomes not as repetitive

so yeah, I don’t really have any complaints about that one, it’s pretty much perfect, the PS2 couldn’t have asked for a more worthy swan song

so finally that brings me to God of War 3 for the PS3

and once again I have to say that the graphics are unbelievably stunning, literally jaw dropping, I talked a lot about how great the graphics in God of War 2 are, but that’s for PS2 standards, God of War 3 has incredible PS3 graphics and I can’t emphasize enough how incredible they are, you really need to see it in motion for yourself, it looks like a CGI movie, the texture on Kratos skin, the motion blur, it’s by far the best looking console game I’ve ever seen and comparing it to God of War 1 is like comparing a PS1 and PS2 game

and to you want to about epic? God of War 3 has some of the most epic set-pieces ever seen in a video game, right from the very start of the game it’s filled with “holy shit!” moments, there’s one moment in particular that I wont spoil that involves meeting a character from the first game again and feels like the developers put it in their just to show how far the hardware has come

but tragically, I can’t say this one is quite perfect, there are no major flaws with it or anything, but late in the game, it starts to feel like it’s losing steam

I think the problem is, God of War 2 ends on a cliff hanger and God of War 3 picks up right where that one left off , but they can’t have the game be too short, so once again they find a way to send Kratos  “back to square one”, which is fine, but the last part of the game before the final boss fight (I’m talking about the Daedalus labyrinths level) is tedious and nowhere near on the epic scale as the rest of the game,  it feels like the developers stuck it in just to pad out the length of the game a bit, but if they wanted to make the game longer, why didn’t they have you see more of the city of Olympia instead of just briefly stopping by? (probably because that would have been more time consuming than the simple looking Daedalus labyrinth level, that’s why)

and the final confrontation with SPOILER Zeus is not bad, but not as epic as you’d hope, I read that the developers had to actually cut a few things out of the final boss fight due to time constraints, that sucks

and the actual ending of the game itself, well I have mixed thoughts on it, it’s one of those endings where it feels like they wanted to have their cake and eat it too and have it both be an overall finale to the series, but with just enough room left open to another sequel in case they ever decide to make another one

what you get is an ending that just feels a bit anti-climatic and leaves you wanting more, it’s not a TERRIBLE ending per se, but it is a shame the game couldn’t have gone out with as big of a bang as it starts

so, to sum up, it’s really hard to say what the best game in the series is, objectively I guess I would say God of War 2, since it has a “the best of both worlds” thing going for it, but the graphics in God of War 3 are so amazing that it really makes it hard to say that

but really, the God of War trilogy works best as just that, a trilogy, taken as whole it’s a simply amazing video game series that should be experienced by anyone who plays video games

P.S. how did I manage to go the whole review without mentioning the nudity? yes the God of War series has nudity in it and God of War 1 was the first game I ever saw nudity in,  I remember how shocking it was to see BARE BREASTS in the original God of War back in 2005,  I mean whaaaaaaat? nipples in a video game? that just doesn’t happen! I had gotten used to seeing bare butt-cheeks in thongs in video games, but actual nipples was unheard of (perhaps I should mention that at the time I was an internetless 15 year old),  it is hilariously ironic that 2005 was the year of the beyond infamous “hot coffee” scandal in hacked versions of Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, which was a “sex scene” that had fully clothed, nudity free robo humping and THAT was what the news media decided to absolutely lose their shit over, not the game with actual nudity in it, go figure

these days it’s hard to get too excited over PS2 quality nipples, but the nudity in God of War 3 is….nice, I love though how in this day and age it’s ok for games to show a little nudity without the media going into Defcon 4, but of course the news media has pretty much given up their crusade against video games in general (at least in America, not so much in the UK), these days they’re on to much more juicy scare tactics like “the economy” and “Barack Obama is Hitler” and whatever the fuck Fox News wants to you to fear these days

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