God of War is an action adventure video game for the PlayStation 2 first released by Sony Computer Entertainment's Santa Monica division in March 2005. It was the first game to be released in the God of War franchise.
Loosely based on Greek mythology, the game focuses on protagonist Kratos and forms part of a saga (chronologically the second chapter in the God of War series) with vengeance as a central theme.
Kratos must stop the God of War, Ares, from destroying the city of Athens by finding the fabled Pandora's Box.
As a third-person camera game, the player controls the character Kratos in a combination of combat, platforming and puzzle game elements. The player typically has to navigate Kratos through a long series of tests, trials and mazes to reach goals.
Kratos' main weapons are the Blades of Chaos, with secondary weapon the Blade of Artemis also being acquired. Magic is also acquired, with four different attacks being available: Poseidon's Rage, Medusa's Gaze, Zeus' Fury, and Army of Hades. The relic Poseidon's Trident is also obtained, which allows Kratos to breathe underwater. Kratos also temporarily wields the Blade of the Gods during the final fight with Ares.
A special ability called “Rage of the Gods” is also acquired, which provides temporary invulnerability and increased attack damage. It can be recharged by killing enemies.
Health and Magic upgrades - Gorgon Eyes and Phoenix Feathers respectively - are found throughout the game in chests. Six of each are needed to upgrade the Health and Magic bars respectively. Other chests found in the game, containing orbs, are marked with a corresponding color for the orbs (green, blue, and red). Green Orbs replenish health, blue orbs replenish magic and red orbs provide experience, which in turn allows the upgrading of magical abilities and weapons.
Red orbs may also be collected by killing foes and destroying certain inanimate objects. Combat includes a quick-time feature, which is initiated when the player has weakened a stronger foe and a icon (the circle button on the controller) appears above them. The player then presses the corresponding button commands appearing on screen, with success ending the battle, and failure usually resulting in damage. A "grab" maneuver is also available for use on minor foes that yields experience points in the form of red orbs.
A quick-time sex mini-game is included (an encounter with two hand maidens on Kratos' ship). A Challenge mode (ten trials called “ Challenge of the Gods”) is also included in the bonus features, which unlocks secret costumes and behind-the-scenes videos.
Kratos is a warrior in the service of the Greek gods of Olympus. It is revealed (via a series of flashbacks) that Kratos was once a captain in the Spartan army. A fierce warrior, Kratos led his army to several victories, until finally overmatched by an invading horde of barbarians. Outnumbered and on the verge of being killed by the Barbarian King, Kratos called to the God of War, Ares. Kratos promised to serve Ares servitude if the god would spare the Spartans and provide the power to destroy their enemies.
Ares hears Kratos' prayer, and bonds the "Blades of Chaos" (a pair of chain blades and forged in the depths of Tartarus) to his new servant. Kratos then returns to the confrontation with the Barbarian King and decapitates his foe. A victorious Kratos then wages war against all of Greece, and eventually leads an attack on a village occupied by worshippers of Athena. Ares tricks Kratos by placing his wife and child in the village, whom Kratos accidentally kills. Although Ares intends for this act to make Kratos the perfect warrior, Kratos renounces his servitude to Ares. The oracle of the now destroyed village curses Kratos, and the ashes of his family adhere to his skin, turning it ash-white. Now the "Ghost of Sparta", Kratos is plagued by nightmares of his horrible deed and commits to ten years of servitude to the other gods of Olympus. Eventually tired of his servitude, Kratos summons Athena, who states that if Kratos performs one final deed—the murder of Ares—he will be forgiven for the murder of his family. Athena assigns Kratos to destroy Ares because Zeus has forbidden divine intervention.
After killing the Hydra on behalf of the god Poseidon, Kratos is guided by the goddess Athena to the city of Athens, which is under siege by Ares' minions. Kratos battles his way to Athens' oracle, but not before also having a strange encounter with a grave digger, who encourages Kratos to continue with his task. Finding the oracle, Kratos learns the only way to defeat Ares is to locate and use Pandora's Box, a legendary artifact which can give a mortal the power to kill a god.
Entering the Desert of Lost Souls, Kratos is advised by Athena that Pandora's Box is hidden within a temple chained to the back of the Titan Cronos - a punishment inflicted by Zeus for Kronos' role in the Great War. Kratos summons the Titan and climbs for three days before reaching the Temple entrance. Overcoming an array of deadly traps and an army of monsters, Kratos eventually finds Pandora's Box. Although successful, on leaving the Temple with the Box Kratos is murdered by Ares, who is aware that his former servant has succeeded. As a group of harpies take the Box to Ares, Kratos falls into the Underworld. Kratos, however, battles his way through the underworld, and with the aid of the mysterious grave digger, who states that Athena is not the only god watching over him, escapes and returns to Athens.
Recovering Pandora's Box from Ares, Kratos opens it and uses the power to become god-like. Despite Ares' best efforts to destroy Kratos both physically and mentally (including being stripped of the Blades of Chaos and all magic) Kratos survives and kills his foe with the Blade of the Gods. Athens is saved, and although Athena states that Kratos' sins are forgiven, the gods cannot rid him of his nightmares. Kratos then attempts to commit suicide by casting himself into the Aegean Sea, but Athena intervenes and brings him to Mount Olympus. As a reward for his services to the gods, Athena provides Kratos with a new set of blades and Kratos becomes the new God of War.
TC Carson as Kratos: The protagonist. A former Captain of Sparta's Army, and once a servant to the God of War, Ares. Now in servitude to the other gods of Olympus, Kratos is given one final task - kill Ares.
Carole Ruggier as Athena: The Goddess of Wisdom. Athena is Kratos' steadfast ally and mentor. She tasks Kratos with killing Ares.
Steven Blum as Ares: The God of War. Ares is responsible for tricking Kratos into murdering his wife and child.
The Olympian Gods, who aid Kratos during his quest:
Fred Tatasciore as Poseidon: The God of the Seas. Tasks Kratos with slaying the Hydra.
Carole Ruggier as Aphrodite: The Goddess of Love. Tasks Kratos with slaying Medusa: Queen of the Gorgons.
Paul Eiding as Zeus: The King of Olympus.
Claudia Black as Artemis: The Goddess of the Hunt.
Nolan North as Hades: The God of the Underworld.
Susan Blakeslee as the Oracle of Athens: Reveals to Kratos that the key to Ares' defeat is Pandora's Box.
Susan Blakeslee as The Village Oracle: Curses Kratos, forcing him to become the "Ghost of Sparta".
Paul Eiding as The Grave Digger: A mysterious old man digging a grave in the midst of a war.
Christopher Corey Smith as The Body Burner: Grants Kratos passage to Pandora's Temple. The first warrior to die seeking Pandora's Box, and cursed by the gods to continue to live as a rotting corpse and act as custodian of the Temple.
Keith Ferguson as the Boat Captain: Captain of a vessel attacked by the Hydra. Kratos confiscates his key and leaves him to die, only to encounter him again in the underworld.
Linda Hunt as the Narrator.
God of War was released on March 22, 2005 in North America and June 21, 2005 in Europe and is also available in the PlayStation 2's lineup of Greatest Hits.
The game and the subsequent sequel - God of War II - were released in North America on November 17, 2009 as part of the God of War: Collection, featuring ports of both games to PlayStation 3 hardware with up-scaled graphics and support for PlayStation Trophies. It was released in Japan on March 18, Australia on 29 April 2010 and the UK on 30 April 2010.
On November 2, 2010, God of War: Collection was released as a digital download on the PlayStation Store (the first product containing PS2 material to be available via download).
The game has won over a dozen "Game of the Year Awards". In 2007, God of War was named the "seventh best" PlayStation 2 game of all time in IGN's feature reflecting on the history of the PlayStation.
God of War eventually received the "Game of the Year" award from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, and IGN listed God of War as the highest ranking game on the "Top 25 PS2 Games" list.
A film adaptation of the game was announced in 2005. Creator David Jaffe confirmed that a completed script had been written by David Self and would be sent to an unspecified "huge-name director". Jaffe also confirmed that Universal Studios is behind the making of the God of War movie but was unaware of its current status, and eventually expressed doubt that the film will ever be released.
A novelization of the game written by Matthew Stover and Robert E. Vardeman was released on May 25, 2010 by Del Rey Books.
A review from TheSixthAxis states "the God of War novel not only covers everything from the game but it also adds a little more depth and understanding to the story and to why certain characters aid the Ghost of Sparta. Athena’s deceitful nature is amplified and her story alone adds to the original experience that you’re likely to have had with the game. Above all, Kratos and the God of War name were treated with the respect and understanding they deserved.
On March 1, 2005, God of War: Original Soundtrack from the Video Game - composed by Gerard K. Marino, Ron Fish, Winifred Phillips, Mike Reagan, Cris Velasco and Winnie Waldron - was released on CD (58 minutes and 55 seconds in length) by SCEI as an exclusive product for the Sony Connect Music Store. Several of the tracks feature voice over passages from the video game.