Forgot how damn great this game is and I basically played through the whole game in one 7 hour sitting yesterday because I couldn't put it down once I started. This is a game I played a lot as a kid and it definitely left a huge impact on me because even 15 years later I still remembered almost every single thing about the game from the level design to the puzzles and story as if I had just played it yesterday.
God of War is a game that wears its influences on its sleeve proudly taking elements and ideas from series like Prince of Persia, Devil May Cry, Onimusha and ICO and God of War was described by David Jaffe himself as not being developed to be innovative or unique. Yet the funny thing is 17 years later and God of War is a game that has become so iconic and influential due to how it masterfully blended all its influences into a whole new breed of action adventure game unlike anything seen before that it spawned an entire generation of games that desperately wanted to be the next God of War.
Like I said, God of War is such an iconic game and franchise that it is so ingrained into gaming culture to where I don't even need to do a super long review on it because you'd be hard pressed to find someone who isn't familiar with the game or Kratos as a protagonist, but I'm still going to do it anyways just because it is a classic and deserves to be talked about in depth.
God of War is a dark and tragic filled modern take on a classic Greek odyssey that follows the story of Kratos, a once great commander in the Spartan army now a very broken and troubled man looking to find peace from the nightmares of his countless unspeakable crimes that haunt his dreams, Kratos is tasked by Athena to kill the God of War Ares and promised to be absolved of his sins if he completes this task.
Right from that very first iconic opening cut-scene of Kratos jumping off the highest cliff in Athens attempting to end it all, the story instantly pulls you in and the plot is slowly revealed with some thoughtful twists and turns as you make your way through the game. This is a simple story compared to many nowadays, but it is also a timeless one that focuses around the themes of vengeance and anger and I think that's exactly what makes it so memorable and effective.
Now I'm not going to say Kratos was the first anti-hero in video games, but I will say he was one of the first to popularize this style of protagonist and back in 2005 there really was no one else like him which definitely helps set the game apart from its contemporaries. Kratos is a brutal, ruthless wrathful man who has killed many in his past, will stop at nothing to achieve his goals and he's not above sacrificing innocents if it benefits him. Everywhere you go characters in the world recognize Kratos and are terrified of him, but even with all that said there's still an air of tragedy to his character, this is a man who lashes out at the world through rage and hate simply because he doesn't know or understand any other way and you can't help but feel sorry for him and wonder if there could've been another way.
Gameplay is primarily divided into two sections. You've got the core combat which is the bulk of the gameplay and while it feels a lot more barebones compared to many games nowadays, it's still a fun and fast system with plenty of weapons, powers and combos to chain together and accommodate different playstyles from Kratos' main weapon the whip-like Blades of Chaos to the AOE spell Poseidon's Wrath or the ranged spell Zeus' Fury there's a little for all occasions. While not in combat there's plenty of well crafted platforming and puzzle sections to make sure the combat never becomes too monotonous.
God of War is a game that is notable for its cinematic presentation. While most other games suffered from immersion-breaking loading screens back in the day, God of War's story mode switches seamlessly from the title screen to FMV sequences, to gameplay, and back, with very little load time. I read that David Jaffe took inspiration from Indiana Jones while making the game and I believe it because God of War is an epic journey like no other, from fictionalized versions of the real-world Aegean Sea and city of Athens to the Desert of Lost Souls, Temple of Pandora and even the Underworld itself, God of War features plenty of grandiose locations to explore. The fixed camera angles and bombastic film score OST really help to enhance the cinematic qualities of every new area Kratos visits while on his adventure as well.
From its fast and fluid combat to its dark and mature story of vengeance and tragedy alongside its sprawling grandiose locations to explore, God of War is truly a timeless classic and even 17 years later it is still one of the greatest action adventure games ever made. This quest to kill a god is one you don't want to miss out on.