Sony gives us a look at the latest version of the upcoming Greek-themed action game.
Sony's upcoming God of War is poised to get 2005 off to a good start for the PlayStation 2, thanks to its impressive visuals and tight gameplay. The promising title, in development at Sony's Santa Monica studios and born from the twisted recesses of developer David Jaffe's brain, caught our eye earlier this year when it was unveiled during a GameSpot visit to the studio. Since then, we've only had glimpses of the game--including some brief hands-on time at E3. Our appetites for ancient combat still weren't sated with Sony's recent visit to our offices to show off an updated version of the game, as the visit sadly didn't include any hands-on time. However, we're pleased to report the game's development seems to be coming along very well, with quite a bit more polish having been added since we last saw it.
For those unfamiliar with God of War, it's a third-person action adventure game that drops you into the apparently ill-fated sandals of Kratos, a fierce warrior who's been possessed by Ares, the god of war. Actually, being possessed has been quite the boon to the warrior's career, as the presence of a war god in his body has allowed him to become the most vicious fighter in ancient Greece. Unfortunately, all the carnage and violence has gotten to our boy, and he has decided he needs to destroy Ares. However, any reader of Greek myths knows that these gods are tougher than cockroaches. Thankfully, Kratos has access to the functional equivalent of a can of Raid--well, theoretically, anyway. It seems the only way to kill Ares is by using Pandora's Box, an ancient artifact that really screwed up the world the last time it was opened.
It's not like the box is resting in a shop under moody lighting, either. Rather, it's in a massive booby-trapped tower full of fatal puzzles and vicious enemies. While this all sounds like a promising setup for some kick-ass action, the game takes an intriguing left turn the moment you start playing: The opening sequence shows Kratos committing suicide. Confused? Don't be. The game is set in the three weeks leading up to the suicide and will fill you in on what drove Kratos to kill himself. While it's a little disconcerting to be playing as a dead man, the game's premise offers some nice hooks to pull you in, because once you've seen Kratos in action, you'll wonder what could bring him so low.
The demo of the game given to us was taken from God of War's first level and finds Kratos aboard a ship at sea that's undergoing a bit of trauma--hydra trauma, to be exact. The action in the level centers on guiding Kratos to help the sailors on the troubled boat and to deal with the pesky hydra. Matters are complicated by the fact that there's a storm raging and the fact that the hydra has more than one head, but therein lies the fun. Given that the level is from the beginning of the game, there was a fair amount of tutorial action going on to familiarize you with Kratos' abilities. Besides being a deadly warrior, Kratos also seems to be a whiz at moving crates and opening boxes, a job requirement for all action-game heroes. Thankfully, the game spices things up in this first level by requiring Kratos to move crates while avoiding the arrows raining down on him. Your goal is to get a crate near a wall and use it to jump up. The arrows heading your way can be a problem, as your crate has limited durability and will break if hit too often.
Later in the level, you'll spend a good chunk of time climbing up the ship's rigging, which is a fine showcase for the game's excellent melee combat system. The brutal system lets you perform just about every move you could on the ground when you're climbing, which is nice. As you guide Kratos further along, you'll start to encounter the hydra's heads. Initially, you'll take them on individually, which seems fairly manageable, thanks to a minigame-style combo system that lets you inflict copious amounts of damage by matching onscreen button-press commands. The catch is that the system is pretty hefty in the risk-reward department. If you pull the combo off, you'll be setting pretty, but if you miss a button press, you'll likely be chomped into oblivion.
- Release Date: Apr 21, 2011 (JP)
- Release Date: Mar 22, 2005 (US)
- ESRB: MTitles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older.