God of War Preview
Players assume the role of Kratos, a former Spartan warrior, who meets his demise very early on as he leaps off of a cliff to his death. The game then goes back and recounts the events leading up to the suicide. As the game unfolds, players will learn more about Kratos—his background, his personality, and what drives him to his grisly end.
Action is the bread and butter of God of War. Kratos is a one-man killing machine, and there are many different actions and combos that are at his disposal. He can hack away, grab characters and pull them in to literally snap them in half, and chain combos that can easily number accumulate over 100 hits!
In the short demo that's currently available, the action takes place over several areas, including a tense sequence that pits Kratos against several foes while climbing up the mast of a ship that's been devastated by a Hydra. Fighting against standard enemies is fun enough, but the boss battles are challenging and test several skills. The first meeting against the Hydra is standard fare, until Kratos hacks away half of the creature's life bar—then it functions similarly to a QTE in Shenmue, as players must hit corresponding face buttons as they flash on the screen. All the while, Kratos proceeds to pummel the creature by smashing its head into the wall and jumping on top of the head to deal further damage. The action will keep players on their toes, and the carnage that Kratos dishes out is so vivid that it will incite gasps of amazement.
As mentioned earlier, other game play elements are mixed in to test mental and physical dexterity. Puzzle elements, such as figuring out how to reach a group of enemy archers on a seemingly unreachable platform, are introduced from time to time. There are also some limited platforming elements that will test players' mettle as they must guide Kratos across towering and narrow platforms, with one small misstep between Kratos and a premature death. If you should slip, It's possible to catch the platform before falling completely off, which helps ensure the platforming never really gets overly frustrating or tedious.
God of War looks stellar. An intelligent camera follows Kratos through driving rainstorms, ruined ships, and during epic boss battles with huge characters. There's plenty of detail to go around, for both the backgrounds as well as the characters, and none of this hurts the frame rate in any way. There are cutscenes that explain Kratos' story, which are pretty well done. The sound is even better, with a grand score, clean sound effects, and credible voice acting.
March is shaping up to be a very busy month for game releases, and it looks like God of War and Devil May Cry 3 will be battling for your gaming dollars. Leave it to us here at PSX Extreme to give you the scoop on these games once they're available.
2/14/2005 Peter Skerritt