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God of War
Ares, the Greek god of war, is up to no good. He has started a war against the people of Athens and the gods of Olympus. But gods cannot kill other gods. This is where you come in. You play Kratos, a half-god ex-Spartan warrior that is picked by Athena to kill Ares and end his reign of terror. The gods help you along by granting you magical gifts to use against Ares' undead armies.
Your main weapons are the Blades of Chaos, two blades forged in Hades that burn when you swing them. The blades are attached to Kratos by chains which allow you to attack in long, sweeping motions that are a beauty to behold. The combat system is a combination of hack 'n slash and linked combo moves that deal even more damage. The most fun is when you can perform special finishing moves on monsters. This is accomplished by following button combinations presented as you go through the move. To finish a minotaur, for example, you head butt him, jump on top of him and jam your blades down his throat resulting in plenty of blood. You can also rip the wings off flying imps and behead gorgons. You get to fight many classical Greek figures along the way including Medusa, the Hydra, Sirens, the Cyclops, and eventually Ares himself.
Combat is not the only thing a super-powered warrior has to fill his time with in ancient Greece. There are story-based puzzles to complete and traps to avoid so you'll need to use your brain as well as your brawn. There is an RPG element to the game as well. As you go, you collect orbs that are used to power up your blades or magical abilities. It is up to you to assign these orbs to abilities that you want to use.
The gameplay is amazingly smooth with no load times between areas. This makes it very easy to lose hours in a world that never ends as you go seamlessly from the Aegean Sea to Athens to the Desert of Lost Souls. The camera is always placed in the right spot to catch all the action, and the most spectacular vistas.
God of War combines fighting, puzzles and story into a bloody and exciting cinematic experience. But be warned: this game is not for young ones or anyone who is grossed out by bloody combat or offended by rendered nudity. God of War is by far the best game I've played on PlayStation 2. Hopefully Sony will make a sequel or use the same graphics and combat engine for another game.
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