- Publisher: Sony
- Developer: Sony
- ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
- Genre: Action
- Pros: Five Amazing Games, All of Which Have Held Up Well
- Cons: Nothing New, Not Even an Avatar
"God of War" and "God of War 2" were originally released for the PS2 (and released in HD-upgraded versions in the "God of War Collection"), "God of War: Chains of Olympus" and "God of War: Ghost of Sparta" were Sony PSP exclusives (and also released in a PS3, HD-upgraded version called "God of War: Origins Collection") and "God of War III" was released exclusively for the PS3. Got that? There have been a lot of games and a lot of repackagings for a franchise that only started just over seven years ago. Then again, "God of War" is not your ordinary franchise. It's one of the few '00s series of games that justify this kind of assault and 2013's "God of War: Ascension" promises to only continue Kratos' reign as one of the most important video game characters of the last decade.
2005's "God of War" details the rise of Kratos from a servant of the Gods to the title character after he defeats Ares and takes his throne. The game was and is an amazing blend of mythology and modern video game action. It redefined the hack-and-slash genre in which players string together combo moves of light and heavy attacks along with increasingly powerful special fighting techniques. The game was a landmark event for the PS2, one of the most important releases in the history of that console.
2007's "God of War II" didn't change the formula much but did refine the mechanics and storytelling of the first game in remarkable ways. Many lists of the best PS2 games of all time include this mega-hit, the story of how Kratos destroyed a vengeful Zeus and began an attack on Olympus. "God of War II" features some of the best puzzle design in a game like this and really proved how an action game could engage the mind as well as the hand-eye coordination. It has been copied dozens of times in just the five years since its release. "Darksiders II" doesn't exist without "God of War II."
As PS3 owners started wondering when they would get a next-gen console title, Sony took to bringing Kratos to the PSP, releasing "God of War: Chains of Olympus" in 2008. The game became a massive hit, one of the few reasons to own a PSP and honest proof that Sony never quite did enough with their handheld console. There should have been more games as accomplished as "Chains of Olympus," and the only way one would know that it was never designed for PS3 if they play it in the "God of War Saga" is that it's relatively short. Same goes for 2010's "God of War: Ghost of Sparta." The two PSP imports are technically not in the package, just a voucher for them to be downloaded from the PlayStation Network, so make sure you have the hard drive space before you buy the "Saga."
Finally, there's "God of War III," my predecessor at About.com's choice for the Game of the Year 2010 and certainly not a bad one. It's a remarkable game that hasn't aged even slightly in the two and a half years (a lifetime in gaming) since it was released. It's action-packed, intense, and beautifully rendered carnage.