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God of War’ worth renting, but definitely not buying

Mark Bemenderfer | Tuesday, April 19, 2005

“Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.”Those are the words that start “God of War” and are spoken as the player is introduced to Kratos. In a very well-rendered cinematic, Kratos leaps from a cliff in an apparent act of suicide. Then the game flashes back to a previous time with a younger Kratos, and the gamer assumes control.Learning how events cascaded to where the game begins is part of the game’s charm. Kratos’s ability as a warrior is apparent from the moment the player assumes control over him. The game begins on the Aegean Sea, with the hydra attacking a number of beached ships. Kratos is there at the bidding of the Greek gods, and it has become his job to slay the hydra. But first he is attacked by the zombies of the soldiers who had drowned and of other assorted men. To slay the hydra, he only has his blades and his bare hands. Upon fulfilling his task, he learns that the god Ares has begun an assault on Athens. Athena and the rest of the gods send him on a task to stop Ares. Thus begins the meat of “God of War,” as Kratos begins his quest to stop Ares. His quest takes him through an Athens under siege, deserts, temples and other assorted locales. Fortunately, Kratos has some interesting weapons. He initially has the Blades of Chaos, two swords attached to a length of chain. He uses the chains to sling the two blades around in a spectacular display. The gods also give him special magical powers, which Kratos can complement by attaining new weapons. All of the weapons and spells can be leveled up, similar to other games in the market. Leveling up the weapons gives the player access to new combos and abilities. The gameplay itself is very smooth. Controlling Kratos and his many functions couldn’t be easier. The game is easy enough, and anyone of any ability can hop in and play it. However, there are enough hidden challenges and unlockables to please someone looking for a challenge. For gamers seeking a true challenge, there is “Challenge of the Gods,” a feature unlocked once the game is first beaten. Length, however, is one of the issues this game faces. It can be beat in one lengthy sitting or over a weekend. The game is also almost too easy on all but the hardest setting. Gamers looking for a real challenge might be better off trying the new “Devil May Cry 3,” a game similar in genre. “God of War” seems to rely heavily on jumping and timing puzzles towards the end, a trait that detracts from the heavy action of the game. Sure, it gives the game variety, but how many times should someone be forced to avoid a spinning blade of doom?Scholars of ancient Greek mythology may find themselves offended by some of the events that unfold. By having Kratos’s initial act be to slay the Hydra, the developers ignore a lot of the mythology and thereby also the mythological characters. However, the creatures do appear to be modernized, more realistic mythical creatures, giving the game some credence with scholars.”God of War” is a fun game, but certainly not worth the $50 for most people. With study days coming up, rent this game for a nice distraction. It won’t take too long to breeze through, and you’ll leave feeling satisfied.