Around 2005, a little gem was released on the PS2 called God of War by Sony Santa Monica Studio. Unfortunately, smy parents were cheap and were not about to rent or buy a 12 year old an M rated game. Thanks to the fact that I was old enough to have some awareness of things like game magazines and Tech TV (It may have been G4/Tech TV at the time) I was following God of War until its release.
Thanks to one of my older brother’s friends, I was able to borrowing a copy about a year and a half after its release. I’m not going to focus on the whole too-young-to-play a violent game debate here; to sum it up I played violent games on a regular basis at that age. My parents didn’t have a “talk” with me about violent or M-rated games but rest assured I had common sense and knew what was real and what wasn’t at that age.
When I started playing God of War, I wasn’t a stranger to Hack n’ Slash games, so its gameplay wasn’t a brand new concept to me. What was a new concept to me, however, was the sheer scale and “Hollywood” vibe of the game. The combat was fun and being able to upgrade my weapons was just one of the things that kept me going while I still had it. Granted, it didn’t really hit me how much of an impact on the gaming industry God of War had being as young as I was. I was more into the game than the industry, but looking back God of War reinvented the Hack N’ Slash genre with its fast and responsive combat and was one of, if not the, only use QTEs at the time. I had finally found another franchise to fanboy over besides the many other Sony exclusives and couldn’t wait for a sequel. Fast-foward a few more years to 2008 and after getting a Ps3 for my birthday and barely having any PS3 games for it, I was still pretty heavy into my PS2 collection. You know, back when the PS3 being backwards compatible was a thing.
I was well aware of God of War II and had been following it before and after its release in 2007, but once again due to not being old enough to buy the game myself or convince my parents to get it for me, I was forced to try my luck at the local Blockbuster (remember those?). Surprisingly, the clerk didn’t hassle me and let me rent my copy of God of War II. I was surprised they still had a copy there in the first place, but nonetheless I was happy. After following the game for so long I already knew what to expect: same great game but just better. This was an understatement by the time I reached the halfway point in God of War II.
Given my age during my time with God of War II, I was more able to appreciate it as a whole and not just for the gameplay. With its interesting alternate take on Greek Mythology, the story took interesting twists and turns, just as the conclusion of the first God of War had. Even though most gamers know the gist of what happens in God of War I &II, I’ll keep this article spoiler-free just for the sake of those few who have not been spoiled yet. In short before God of War came into my life, more specifically God of War II, I had never been interested by Greek Mythology in games.
Fast forward another two years, and with the highly anticipated conclusion to the series, God of War III, on its way, I was finally able to save up enough money to buy the game myself for once. I didn’t get the game at launch because I wanted some other games as well, but once I had finally gotten my hands on it, it was pretty much a wrap. Thanks to the power of the PS3, the sense of scale for God of War III was just amazing and the graphics were just jaw-dropping gorgeous. It wouldn’t be a God of War game unless it still had that signature tight combat, and God of War III did not disappoint. Being that God of War III was advertised as the conclusion to the series, it did a great job of sending the series off the way it deserved, but with with this conclusion entry, fans were assured that the series was not done.
It’s now 2013 and with the much-anticipated release of God of War: Ascension only a few days away, players will be able to get a more in-depth look at Kratos’s life. Not only is there more exciting things coming to the story elements, but combat elements are looking to have improved much more in Ascension and take cues from Kratos being a Spartan warrior. Looking back, even though I was not able to play the two PSP spin-off entries since my PSP was broken when they came out, with Ascension being a prequel this will be a great opportunity to play through the series the right way from start to finish thanks to the recent HD collection releases.
God of War is a stellar series; it changed the formula for not only Hack N’ Slash games, but games in general when it was first introduced and it only kept pushing the boundaries as the years went on, from both a gameplay and especially a technical standpoint. I can’t wait to see how Sony Santa Monica Studio will surprise and wow me when God of War: Ascension gets released.