God of War was one of the first games that I saw on the Playstation 2 that really made me sit up and take notice. I knew of the PS2 prior to God of War but it was more passive interest for me. The idea of controlling this guy that was to take on the Greek Gods one at a time was just too cool a game to pass up for many gamers. What Sony was doing here was continuing to separate their console from the pack. You were not going to be playing God of War, or anything like it, on Xbox or Gamecube or PC. While not perfect, God of War did exactly what it was meant to do- move consoles.
Chronologically, the first God of War game was the third title in the series- yea, we are dealing with that type of scenario here folks. You are not beaten over the head with this fact so it is not that big of a deal, gameplay and storyline wise.
The interesting thing about God of War was that it took the problems that previous 3D attempts at this type of game, such as Fighting Force, and fixed them. You are tasked with small objectives per area, sometimes in waves, whether it is defeating a set of enemies or taking out a boss. The cool thing about God of War though, is how you accomplish that goal. The normal enemies are dispatched with your weapons but the bosses, those are a treat for some and the bane of existence for other gamers.
The boss fights are “quick time events” where you are given on screen button commands to push at a certain time. Gamers that have played most Full Motion Video (FMV) games like Sewer Shark (Sega CD), Night Trap (various) or Road Avenger (Sega CD) or even the venerable Dragon’s Lair (various) know what Quick Time Events are. The way God of War uses them allows the designers to go all out on the bosses and how you fight them. You are no longer fumbling for the right weapon or jockeying for the right position and complaining the camera was not cooperating when you died.
God of War did a lot of things right, one was moving over four million copies worldwide and, depending on your point of view, spawned several good sequels across multiple systems. God of War may not be the first to try various elements, Shenmue on Dreamcast did QTE’s also and there were countless brawling hack-a-thons throughout gaming, but it is one of the first to bring it all together in a convenient, interesting package.
Happy birthday Kratos and God of War.
God of War has been remastered on Playstation 3 and is available on the Playstation Network (various versions).