Monday, September 25, 2006

Game Review: God of War

As a gamer, I admit there's a lot to enjoy about "God of War": the combat system is exhilirating yet easy to master, the voice acting is consistently strong, and the use of Greek mythology provides a wealth of interesting monsters and environments.

Creatively, though, it's a bit flat. The plot is the standard Conan fare of "Barbarian Seeks Revenge", and it's sensible enough... just a bit too straightforward and predictable for my tastes, going from A to B to C in a thoroughly linear fashion. Characterization is rather two-dimensional as well; midway through the game there's an attempt to graft some run-of-the-mill pathos onto the protagonist, but... well, "meh" about covers it.

The closest point of comparison I can make is to "Prince of Persia: Warrior Within" - when I reviewed that game, I indicated that Ubisoft was constantly struggling to find a balance between story and gameplay, and "Warrior Within" had represented a stronger emphasis on cutting your foes to ribbons at the expense of an engaging story. "God of War" falls into the same category: it's amusing enough to grab undead soldiers and fling them around like yo-yos, but there's nothing so compelling that you're desperate to know what happens next.

Fun for a few hours, "God of War" eventually loses its appeal when it becomes apparent that - inventive ways of killing monsters aside - there isn't much substance driving the game forward.