God of War

My thoughts on the God Of War Saga

God of War 2 - My thoughts on the God Of War Saga

Hello fellow Gods of War. I just played the whole GoW saga in about two months. It's been three weeks since I finished the last title and now that everything is kinda settled in my mind I wanted to share my two cents on it. If you're interested in a stranger's somewhat-long opinions there we go, I hope to spark some discussion and to see what other people's stances are. I'll talk about the games in the order I played them, and after the mandatory "not native speaker/sorry for my English", let's begin.

  • God Of War (2005) – Oh boy. I grew up as a PC player, so my idea of this saga was very blurry at the time. To me it was just another button smashing game, without soul nor mind. When GoW (2018) was released I watched a youtube review that shortly touched the whole saga, and then it hit me: there might be more to it. So I decided that someday I'd play all the games before the newest one, just for the sake of it. And what better time than a lockdown to trim that gaming backlog? So it begun.
    I was worried that the various titles would burn me out before finishing them all, as I read somewhere here on Reddit. My fear was that the gameplay would have been too stale and repetitive.
    But when I pressed square for the first time, feeling the DualShock vibration feedback on every hit, seeing the Blades of Chaos flailing around… I knew I was in for a treat.
    The game was really good. Like, unexpectedly good. The gameplay really held up wonderfully, gotta say that. It was indeed somewhat repetitive, and the burnout was around the corner, so I decided to play it a couple of hours per day (failing miserably). Jumping on creatures from the Greek mythology was incredible, tearing them apart satisfying in a way I could never have imagined.
    The story was… well, simple. Easy to follow and understand, and honestly what the game needed to be what it is, and I enjoyed it. But the presentation of it: that's where the game shines. Cinematics of Kratos mutilating Gods, the scale of the environment… I'm sure that playing this game in 2005 has been one of those emotions a player would never forget.
    I loved the idea of walking on Chronos, some of the puzzles were fantastic and the Hydra was my favourite bossfight. Kinda disappointing realizing it was the best (from a visual and epic standpoint) since it was it that sold me on the game (I know that it was the last designed boss, aimed to do just that).
    All in all, a rough diamond. But definitely I couldn't foresee what was waiting for me.

  • God Of War II – Now that I was hooked, I jumped right into the sequel. As I was making my way around the first levels by one R1+Square after the other, I learned those that ended up being the tropes of the series: you start weak and you'll regain your strenght through the game; usually the gameplay is slighlty improved; the storytelling gets deeper in every chapter; you kill bigger things in more spectacular ways; etc.
    The setting was really cool and the story was just fine (it was a middle chapter after all). Surely the title most dense of breathtaking vistas (Steeds of Time anyone?). It felt like the most puzzle-heavy title in the franchise, but those puzzles were also among the best ones. The bossfights were great, the Sisters of Fate being exquisite in terms of overall design. As I said, the gameplay was improved in each installment: the combos were better and I enjoyed the new parry and the mechanics tied to it.
    In the end, I think this game has a really special feel I cannot really pinpoint, and for this is among my favourites. The plot twists were ok (quite cliché, but again, it works for this games) and after finishing it I wanted to just dive into the last chapter, but alas, I had a spin-off to conquer.

  • God Of War: Chains Of Olympus – Easily the lowest point of the saga, but that doesn't mean awful. It was still enjoyable: it's a GoW title we're talking about afterall. The problem is that the whole game felt uninspired: the story, the characters, the locations… And it didn't really dig up in Kratos' past as it was supposed to, nothing so interesting came out of it. The animations and cutscenes were… bad… the scene in which you frantically smash Circle to push away your child was cringeworthy I gotta say… I appreciate how they wanted to make you empathize with how Kratos struggled to go against his humanity, but unfortunately the result isn't there, resulting in a loss of the epic (thing that happened during the whole game).
    Overall, the game I had the most trouble finishing. The story and gameplay were decent, you could see a few sparkles of creativity here and there but it felt boring and uninspired most of the times.
    I shrugged it off, and had quite low expectations for the next PSP title. My thirst for GoW III was unquenchable.

  • God Of War: Ghost Of Sparta – Sadly I had to play another game before the grand finale, because then I would have had to play both GoW III and Ascension in the PSNow one-week free trial. As I said my expectations for this title were low, so I was ubelievably surprised by the quality on this one. The gameplay was the best of the games I played, the story was back on its root and was good with a nice incipit. It really explored Kratos' past, a thing that CoO did not so well. I loved how we saw him as a kid, how the tatoo and his scar were explained, and his relationship with his brother and what remained of his family.
    But, most importantly, the epic of the saga was back. Destoying Atlantis was fun and beating Thanatos to death (no pun intended) alongside Deimos too (although the fight could have been better).
    Now that my hope was restored, I was ready to face the Olympus once and for all. Bring it on, Zeus!

  • God Of War III – It really felt good to be back on a main title. The game started in the heat of things, and showed how PS3 muscles could only benefit such a franchise. The fights were awesome, the executions unforgettable, the pace of the game really held up to the end. You can see how such a game was born out of passion, the attention to the smallest details and regard to the fans is really what made me love this game, and the saga as a whole. I loved the experimentation done with the camera during the cutscenes, and how they emphasized every God murder (like punching indefinitely Zeus… That really felt like my revenge!).
    The gameplay peaked and the storytelling too. It was more mature, even though it still retained its former rowdy identity.
    The game did feel like a bossrush and I know some people didn't like that, but to me it was no problem. Every game had its distinct flavour, and that's good. Climbing the Olympus and killing God after God was the perfect climax for the saga, I can't think of anything better to be honest.
    In conclusion: I really, really enjoyed this one. I was constantly in an adrenaline rush during the game and after the end I really wondered what the 2018 sequel could have done to keep up the fame of the franchise.
    But first… One more Greek era game awaited me…

  • God Of War: Ascension – To me this game is the perfect example of "aim for the star, you'll land… somewhere". After the bombastic GoW III, anything would have failed to impress the fans. What could be more epic than beating Zeus, your father, with your own hands using the long lost power of Athena shamelessly taken from the Pandora's Box? Nothing, that's what it is. You haven't access to all that power in the earliest of prequels, there's nothing that could be more epic. And nevertheless, they tried.
    The story of the game was… weird. I had a lot of trouble to understand what was going on in the beginning. May it be because I was finally getting burnt out and didn't pay much attention, or maybe the writing wasn't the best, I'm not sure. What I'm sure about is that when I finally got a grip on it, I enjoyed its development and the weird flashback/flashfoward structure. What I did not like was the ending, as I felt no emphaty towards Orkos. He was really an underdeveloped character.
    The overall design of the game is really a rollercoaster (ha!) of hits and misses. Delfi and the Statue of Apollo are, visually, two of the best locations in the franchise, period. Enemies and bosses were instead really plain to me, they didn't really fit the Greek mythology as other entries, a thing I really took to heart during my playthroughs.
    I also have mixed feelings towards the gameplay. The combat system was good, maybe the most balanced one, but at what cost… The Rage gauge should reward good players, but I personally ended up learning barely how to fill it when the game was almost over. I felt underpowered in this game, constantly being stunlocked by enemies. I mean, it makes sense since it's really early in Kratos' story and he's not that powerful yet, but he defeats one of the biggest and strongest enemies in the franchise… How can he accomplish such tasks when he's so relatively weak?
    To sum it up: the most balanced combat system, or the most frustrating? To me it felt the latter.
    After a title like this to say goodbye to such a lovely chapter, I was ready to travel to the North and to leave behind the Hellenic face of the saga.

  • God Of War (2018) – And here we go. I knew this game was good before playing, it was it to make me interested in the franchise. After six chapters being almost identical in gameplay and storytelling, I was ready for something fresh. What I did not know, is how much good it was.
    I loved every single thing they did to Kratos. How he aged, how he changed, how he did not change, the regards towards his past, how it was carried on, and how our God of War would face another whole pantheon. Damn it was good. I'm currently on my second playtrough, that's how much I liked it.
    I can stay here to worship every detail of this game, but I will speed things up.
    The story was amazing, mature and well written. Actually a real story this time, that makes you want to know more of it.
    Finally we had an actual combat system, and it is so good that it's a shame we didn't get more complex enemies to fully appreciate it! I have a soft spot for builds and the like, so that's a plus.
    The world and level design are amongst the best in the industry, without a shadow of a doubt.
    The game is beautiful to look at, and I was in awe while traveling in it. It felt alive, also thanks to the few but superbly developed characters.
    I missed some of the Greek era flavour, like executing giant beasts and traveling through giant palaces or creatures (even though sometimes the game makes up for it). But I have a feeling the next installment will bring some of that back… Fingers crossed!
    My only nitpick with the game: too many collectibles. I hate them.
    And so, while repeatedly dying to the various Valkyries in GMGoW, my story ends here. I now cannot wait for the next GoW, as I'm sure many of you do.

To conclude, I will write two more words.
I could really spend hours talking about the details of these games. Which creature or character I liked seeing or wanted to see in the games. Various nitpicks and such… But I really cannot stress enough how these games have been great, to me at least. Sure each has its flaws, but very minor and not worhty of mention. That's also the reason my thoughts are so positive and almost biased.
This saga shows love. Every chapter had it somewhere, especially the last one. I've never watched so much "behind the scene" material after finishing it. Kratos was Santa Monica's baby, and they raised him as only a caring mother could do.
I can only say: I have added a new franchise to my favourite ones.
If you read everything 'till here you surely deserve a praise. Thank you for your time. Tell me what are your opinions on the games, where you agree or do not agree with me, let's spice it up!

TL;DR: OMG did I really wait so many years to play these games???

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