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God of War (series)

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This article is about the video game series. For the comic book series, see God of War (comics).
God of War
God of War logo.png
The original God of War logo. Subsequent titles and merchandise use a similar logo.
Genres
Developers Primary
Ports
Publishers
Creators David Jaffe
Writers Marianne Krawczyk
Platforms
Platform of origin PlayStation 2
First release God of War
  • NA March 22, 2005
Latest release God of War Collection (Vita)
NA 20140506May 6, 2014
Official website www.godofwar.com

God of War is an action-adventure video game series loosely based on Greek mythology. Debuting in 2005, the series has become a flagship title for the PlayStation brand, consisting of seven games across multiple platforms. The series centers around the only playable character, Kratos, a Spartan warrior tricked into killing his wife and child by his former master, the God of War Ares. Kratos eventually kills Ares at the behest of the goddess Athena and takes his place as the new God of War, but is still haunted by the nightmares of his past. Kratos is eventually betrayed by Zeus, the King of the Olympian Gods. Revealed to be a demigod and the son of Zeus, Kratos now seeks revenge against the gods for their machinations. What follows is a series of attempts to free himself from the influence of the gods and the Titans and exact revenge. Each game chapter forms part of a saga with vengeance as a central motif.

The main trilogy and its prequel—God of War I, II, III, and Ascension—were developed by Sony's Santa Monica Studio and published by Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) for the PlayStation 2 (PS2) and PlayStation 3 (PS3) video game consoles. Ready at Dawn developed the PlayStation Portable (PSP) installments—Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta—which were also published by Sony Computer Entertainment. The mobile phone Java ME installment—Betrayal—was developed by Javaground and Sony Online Entertainment's Los Angeles division, and published by Sony Pictures Digital. In addition to the individual games, two collections featuring remastered versions of both PS2 installments—God of War Collection—and both PSP installments—God of War: Origins Collection—have been released on the PS3 by Bluepoint Games and Ready at Dawn, respectively. Another collection—God of War Saga—was released on August 28, 2012, for the PS3 and features God of War I, II, III, Chains of Olympus, and Ghost of Sparta. Sanzaru Games ported God of War Collection to the PlayStation Vita in 2014. In celebration of the franchise's tenth anniversary, God of War III Remastered will release on the PlayStation 4 on July 14, 2015.

Games in the series have been praised as being the best action games for the PlayStation brand, and some of the best action games of all time. In June 2012, Sony reported that the series up to that point had sold more than 21 million copies worldwide. Strong sales and support of the series led to the franchise's expansion into other media, such as a comic book series—God of War (2010–11)—and two novels—God of War (2010) and God of War II (2013). A film adaptation of the original installment has been in development since 2005. Merchandise promoting the series has also been produced, including artwork, clothing, toys, and prop replicas. What was originally a single-player-only franchise expanded to include multiplayer with the release of God of War: Ascension in 2013.

Gameplay[edit]

Three video game characters fight against a background of blue-gray buildings and pathways.
Gameplay from God of War: Betrayal demonstrating its 2D graphics. The image depicts Kratos (left) in battle.

The series consists of six single-player only games, and a seventh that includes multiplayer. Each game typically features a third-person, fixed cinematic camera. The player controls the character Kratos in a combination of combat, platforming, and puzzle game elements to achieve goals and complete the story.[1][2] A first-person camera is featured in God of War III[3] and God of War: Ascension. God of War: Betrayal is the only installment to feature a 2D side-scrolling view.[4]

Kratos' main weapon is a pair of double-chained blades that appear in three iterations throughout the series: the Blades of Chaos, the Blades of Athena (or Athena's Blades), and the Blades of Exile. They each perform similarly, but differ in the types of combos and amount of damage each yields, as well as cosmetic differences. Other weapons (such as the Blade of Artemis in God of War) are also obtained during the games.[5] Magic is also used, and four abilities (such as Poseidon's Rage, Medusa's Gaze, Zeus' Fury, and Army of Hades in God of War) are typically acquired.[6] God of War III differs in that instead of separate abilities, there are four primary weapons that possess their own respective magic offensive. The game also featured "Items"—additional secondary weapons with limited usage, such as the Bow of Apollo.[3] With each new game, most weapons and magic are lost via a plot device, and a new arsenal of weapons and abilities are acquired during gameplay.[7] God of War: Ascension differed from previous games in that instead of acquiring new weapons that are kept throughout the entire game, the player collects up to five World Weapons (such as a sword or a javelin) that have limited usage. When there is not a World Weapon equipped, the player can punch or kick foes as part of a new mechanic added to the game.[8]

Relics, which the player can use in successive games (such as Poseidon's Trident obtained in God of War allowing Kratos to swim underwater for extended periods) are also found and necessary for game progression.[1] Kratos often has a special ability, which provides temporary invulnerability and increased attack damage. This ability has become an ongoing feature of gameplay throughout the series—Rage of the Gods in God of War and God of War: Ascension, Rage of the Titans in God of War II, Rage of Sparta in God of War III, and Thera's Bane in God of War: Ghost of Sparta.[3] This ability can be recharged by building hits on foes in combat, and gaining game-specific orbs. Thera's Bane, however, is recharged automatically.[1][3][9]

Gorgon Eyes and Phoenix Feathers, found throughout the game in unmarked chests (white chests in Ascension), increase the maximum amount of health and magic respectively .[5][10] Minotaur Horns, which increase the Items and Fire meter's maximum length, are available in God of War III and Ghost of Sparta, respectively. The Items meter allows the use of secondary weapons, called Items, and the Fire meter allows the use of Thera's Bane. The meters are increased in increments and reach their maximum once a certain number of Eyes, Feathers, and Horns are found. Other chests contain green, blue, or red orbs.[11] Green orbs replenish the player's health, blue orbs replenish magic allowing further usage, and red orbs provide experience for upgrading weapons and magic for new, more powerful attacks, and replenish the Rage meter in God of War. Gold orbs are found in God of War II and replenish the rage meter instead of red orbs (white orbs replaced the gold orbs in God of War III). Chests with changing colors, which allow players to choose which meter to replenish, have also been available.[12] Red orbs can also be collected by killing foes and destroying certain inanimate objects. Bosses and more powerful opponents release a combination of colored orbs when killed via the quick-time feature.[5]

Two video game characters fight in a brown-colored room with mystical symbols.
Gameplay from God of War: weakening foes allows the use of controller buttons for greater damage or finishing moves.

The series offers combo-based combat, and includes a quick time event (QTE) feature, also called context sensitive attacks, which is initiated when the player has weakened a foe. It allows limited control of Kratos during the QTE cinematic sequence; success ends the battle while failure usually results in damage to the player.[3][13] In addition to the QTE system, God of War: Ascension features a prompt-less free-form system, allowing players the choice of when to attack or dodge based on the enemy's actions.[14] A grab maneuver can be used on minor foes.[9]

With the exception of God of War: Ascension, each installment offers a challenge mode, which yields extra red orbs, secret costumes, and behind-the-scenes videos.[15] Bonus content can also be unlocked by defeating the game's difficulty levels.[16] Battle arenas, which allow players to set difficulty levels and choose their own opponents, are included in God of War II, God of War: Betrayal, God of War III, and God of War: Ghost of Sparta.[17] A quick-time sex mini-game is also included in each installment except Betrayal and Ascension.[18]

God of War: Ascension introduced online multiplayer to the series for both competitive and cooperative play. Up to eight players on two teams of two to four players (or a four to eight player deathmatch) battle for control of a map in order to earn rewards from the gods. Players can also fight each other in one-on-one matches. Players must sell their champion's soul to either Zeus, Hades, Ares, or Poseidon, which allows players to try different weapons, armor sets, and powers inspired by the god of their choice, and extras can be unlocked.[19]

Games[edit]

God of War III Remastered God of War Collection God of War: Ascension God of War Saga God of War: Origins Collection God of War: Ghost of Sparta God of War III God of War Collection God of War: Chains of Olympus God of War: Betrayal God of War II God of War (video game)

God of War was first released in North America on March 22, 2005, for the PlayStation 2. After ten years in the service of the Olympian gods, Spartan soldier Kratos is tasked by Athena to find Pandora's Box; the key to defeating Ares, the God of War. A series of flashbacks reveals that Kratos was once the servant of Ares, who saved the Spartan and his army from annihilation in battle, tricked him into killing his family, and forced his metamorphosis into the "Ghost of Sparta". Kratos eventually finds Pandora's Box, and after finally killing Ares, ascends to Mount Olympus to become the new God of War.[20]

God of War II was first released in North America on March 13, 2007, for the PlayStation 2. Betrayed by Zeus, Kratos is saved by the Titan Gaia, who tells him he must now find the Sisters of Fate, who can change his fate and prevent his death at the hands of Zeus. Kratos is ultimately successful and as he is about to kill the god, Athena sacrifices herself to save Zeus and preserve Olympus, and tells Kratos that he is the son of Zeus. Kratos then joins forces with Gaia and the Titans to attack Olympus.[21]

God of War: Betrayal was released on June 20, 2007, for mobile phones. It is the only game in the series to be released as a 2D side-scroller and released on a non-PlayStation platform. The game's narrative takes place between the events of God of War: Ghost of Sparta and God of War II. Kratos is framed for murder, and rampages across Greece seeking the true assassin. Kratos succumbs to bloodlust and kills Ceryx, the son of the god Hermes—an act that alienates him from his fellow gods.[22][23]

God of War: Chains of Olympus was first released in North America on March 4, 2008, for the PlayStation Portable, and a limited edition PSP bundle pack was released in June 2008. Its narrative takes place during Kratos' ten years of service to the gods. Kratos halts a Persian invasion of the Greek city of Attica, and learns that the world has been plunged into darkness by the god Morpheus. Kratos investigates the abduction of the sun god Helios, and prevents the Machiavellian plan of the goddess Persephone to use the Titan Atlas to destroy the world.[24]

God of War III was first released in North America on March 16, 2010, for the PlayStation 3; an "Ultimate Edition" with exclusive content was available for pre-order. Reigniting the Great War, Kratos is soon abandoned by the Titans. Helped by the spirit of the revived Athena, she instructs him to seek the Flame of Olympus in order to defeat Zeus. Kratos engages the gods and the Titans in an epic series of battles across the Underworld and Olympus and learns that Pandora's Box is within the Flame. He discovers that Pandora herself is the key to pacifying the Flame and allowing him to open the Box. Kratos defeats the gods and opposing Titans and after killing Zeus, he refuses to help Athena assume the role of new patron of mankind and disappears, his final fate unknown.[25]

God of War: Ghost of Sparta was first released in North America on November 2, 2010, for the PlayStation Portable with a limited edition PSP bundle and an exclusive pre-order offer released simultaneously. Set between the events of God of War and God of War: Betrayal, Kratos, the God of War, is still haunted by visions of his mortal past and embarks on a quest to discover his origins by finding his mother, Callisto. He learns that his brother Deimos was taken by the gods and imprisoned by the God of Death, Thanatos, and decides to find and save his sibling. Although successful, Thanatos engages the brothers in combat, and kills Deimos. Kratos then kills Thanatos and returns to Olympus, further enraged at the gods.[26]

God of War: Ascension[27] was first released in North America on March 12, 2013, for the PlayStation 3 with a "Collector's Edition" available for pre-order with exclusive content.[28] Set six months after Kratos killed his wife and child, Kratos has been imprisoned by the three Furies for breaking his blood oath to Ares. With the help of the oath keeper Orkos, Kratos learns that Ares and the Furies plan to overthrow Mount Olympus. The Spartan escapes his imprisonment, subsequently killing the Furies, and Orkos, who begs for release. Although free of Ares' bond, Kratos begins to suffer the nightmares that plague him for years.[29] God of War: Ascension is the first game in the series to feature multiplayer (up to eight players) for both competitive and cooperative play.[19][30]

Future[edit]

At the first annual PlayStation Experience on December 6, 2014, Santa Monica's Creative Director Cory Barlog, who was Game Director of God of War II, confirmed that a new God of War game is in very early development. He said that the game will not be a prequel, however, it might be a reboot for the series and he hopes to share more information within the next two years.[31]

Collections and remasters[edit]

God of War Collection was first released in North America on November 17, 2009, for the PlayStation 3—the franchise's first appearance on the platform. It is a remastered port of God of War and God of War II.[32] The games were ported by Bluepoint Games and feature high-definition 1080p anti-aliased graphics at 60 frames per second and Trophies.[33] Sanzaru Games later ported the collection to the PlayStation Vita and it was released in May 2014—the franchise's only appearance on this platform.[34]

God of War: Origins Collection was first released in North America on September 13, 2011, for the PlayStation 3. It is a remastered port of the two PlayStation Portable installments in the series—God of War: Chains of Olympus and God of War: Ghost of Sparta. God of War Origins was ported by Ready at Dawn and features 720p high-definition video, anti-aliased graphics at 60 frames per second, DualShock 3 rumble features, Trophies,[35] and it is the only God of War release to feature Stereoscopic 3D.[36]

God of War Saga was released in North America on August 28, 2012. It is a collection of five of the God of War games for the PlayStation 3, released as part of Sony's PlayStation Collections line. The collection includes God of War, God of War II, God of War III, God of War: Chains of Olympus, and God of War: Ghost of Sparta. It features two Blu-ray Discs—God of War I and II on the first and III on the second—and a voucher to download Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta. The games retain the same features as their first PS3 releases.[37][38]

God of War III Remastered is set to release on the PlayStation 4 on July 14, 2015—the franchise's first appearance on the platform. As its title implies, it is a remastered version of God of War III, and it will feature full 1080p support at 60 frames per second and a photo mode. The game's announcement and release is in celebration of the franchise's tenth anniversary.[39]

Development[edit]

Main series[edit]

After the success of their first game Kinetica (2001), Santa Monica began development of God of War in 2002, and unveiled it two years later at SCEA Santa Monica Gamers' Day 2004.[40] Game Director and creator David Jaffe said while the idea for God of War was his own, the concept owed a debt to Capcom because he had played Onimusha and said "let's do that with Greek Mythology". He was inspired in part by the 1981 feature film, Clash of the Titans, saying, "the real high concept for me was ... merging it with Heavy Metal magazine". He said he liked both "the kids stuff ... with Greek Mythology" and the idea of adding more adult themes such as sex and violence.[41] He was also inspired by the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark.[42] Although the game is based on Greek mythology, the development team gave themselves "lots of freedom" to modify the myths, and Jaffe said they took the "coolest aspects of the subject" and wrote a story using those elements.[43] GameSpot said the developers described the gameplay "as merging the action of Devil May Cry with the puzzle-solving of Ico" and noted that players would be able to "sunder enemies with a single move, such as by ripping them in half".[44] The game uses Santa Monica's Kinetica engine, which they developed for Kinetica.[45]

A sequel to God of War was first teased at the end of its credits, which stated, "Kratos Will Return".[46] God of War II was officially announced at the 2006 Game Developers Conference (GDC).[47] David Jaffe stepped down and became the Creative Director of its sequel and God of War's lead animator Cory Barlog assumed the role of Game Director.[48] Barlog said that in the game, players would see "a larger view of Kratos' role within the mythological world."[49] Like God of War, the game uses Santa Monica's Kinetica engine. Magic attacks became an integral part of the combat system and it was more refined. New creatures and heroes from the mythology, and more boss battles were added.[50] Both Jaffe and Barlog said that they did not view God of War II as a sequel, but rather a continuation of the previous game. Jaffe said that they did not want to include the Roman numeral number two (II) in the title for this reason, but they did not want the title to convey the impression it was an expansion pack.[51] Both Jaffe and Barlog said that the reason God of War II appeared on the PlayStation 2 instead of the PlayStation 3—which was released four months prior to God of War II—was because "there's a 100 million people out there that will be able to play God of War II as soon as it launches." Barlog assured that the game would be playable on the newer platform, which had PlayStation 2 backwards-compatibility.[52][53]

God of War III was first mentioned by Cory Barlog at a God of War II launch event.[54] After the first eight months of development, Barlog left Santa Monica for unexplained reasons and Stig Asmussen (lead environment artist and art director on God of War and God of War II, respectively) became director. Asmussen said that one of the greatest challenges in developing God of War III for the PlayStation 3 was the "complexity of everything"; individual tasks, such as designing Helios' decapitation, could take a year because the "level of detail [that was] expected [was] so high and intricate, it [crossed] multiple departments." He said that the PlayStation 3's hardware capabilities allowed more flexibility in character creation and interaction with the environment.[55][56] The engine for God of War III was ported from the first two installments to the PlayStation 3. As the game was being developed, the code department swapped out PlayStation 2 components with PlayStation 3 components. They replaced the renderer, the particle system, and the collision system.[57] Although they were re-using the engine from God of War II, the core engine for God of War III was brand new.[58] Between E3 2009 and the time the game shipped, morphological anti-aliasing (MLAA) was added, which graphics engineer Ben Diamand said "improved edges dramatically and saved substantial amounts of frame-rate." Diamond also said that "depth-of-field, motion blur, crepuscular 'god' rays and refraction were either added or improved in quality and speed" during that same time period.[59]

On April 12, 2012, Sony released a teaser image for God of War: Ascension on its official PlayStation Facebook page,[60] which was followed by the game's announcement on April 19.[61] The trailer announced Todd Papy, who had worked as a designer on God of War and God of War II and as Design Director on God of War III, as Game Director. The announcement officially confirmed the game's title and Papy said it was not titled God of War IV to avoid confusion because it is a prequel, rather than a sequel, to the trilogy.[62][63] The game features a retooled God of War III engine, enabling online multiplayer battles for up to eight players.[62] The decision to add multiplayer came about from curiosity, according to Lead Combat Designer Jason McDonald. The multiplayer was first tested using Kratos, and McDonald said the testers had "a lot of fun". Seeing their reaction made the team feel that the multiplayer had value and they then began to put the "God of War spin on it".[64] In the developmental transition from God of War III to God of War: Ascension, one of the graphics engineers, Cedric Perthuis, noted that the limits of the God of War III engine restricted artist creativity, so they "tried to remove or push those limits as far as possible without losing any performance." Ascension did not have a graphical leap over its predecessor like God of War III did. Dynamic lighting was added, which allowed for development of the Life Cycle gameplay mechanic. Particle effects were also greatly improved upon from God of War III.[65]

PSP games[edit]

Game developer Ready at Dawn pitched the idea of a God of War game for the PlayStation Portable to Santa Monica Studio soon after the original God of War launched.[66] Cory Barlog officially confirmed the development of Chains of Olympus at a God of War II launch event, stating "It is its own story that connects to the overall story. God of War, God of War II, and then if all the stars align God of War III will be the telling of a trilogy. This PSP story will be a further fleshing out."[67] God of War: Chains of Olympus uses a proprietary, in-house engine referred to as the Ready at Dawn engine, which expanded on the engine created for their previous game, Daxter, to include a fluid and cloth simulator.[68] The game was originally designed for the PlayStation Portable's restricted 222 megahertz (MHz) processor. Ready at Dawn repeatedly contacted Sony regarding increasing the clock speed of the PSP on account of the difference to the game and had developed a version of the game with higher speed.[69] Sony released a firmware upgrade that allowed games to use the full 333 MHz processor. The faster processor allowed for more realistic blood effects, lighting effects, and shadows as well as improved enemy intelligence. The upgrade, however, noticeably decreases battery life.[69][70] After the game's completion, Game Director Ru Weerasuriya stated multiplayer options and other puzzles, characters, and dialogue had to be removed due to time constraints.[71]

God of War: Ghost of Sparta was announced on May 4, 2010, on PlayStation.Blog.[72] According to Sony, Ready at Dawn utilized "state-of-the-art visual technologies" that allowed "higher quality environments and characters." Ghost of Sparta apparently offers "over 25% more gameplay" than its PSP predecessor, Chains of Olympus, while adding more enemies on screen and a greater number of boss encounters. Development of Ghost of Sparta took 23 months to complete.[73] At Comic-Con 2010, Game Director Dana Jan (previously Lead Level Designer of Chains of Olympus) noted that when development began in 2008, the goal was to make the game "bigger" than Chains of Olympus, which had apparently "pushed" the PSP to its functional limits. Jan stated that Ghost of Sparta has taken the PSP to its "absolute capacity", with one additional feature being more on-screen foes.[74] The game concept was originally used as a teaser for players who obtained the platinum trophy from God of War III. The trophy revealed a site called spartansstandtall.com, which became the official site for Ghost of Sparta on May 4.[75] Dana Jan stated the reason they chose to have the game take place between God of War and God of War II was because "It seemed to make a lot of sense to fill in that void."[76]

Mobile game[edit]

God of War: Betrayal was announced by Sony Online Entertainment at a press conference in Los Angeles in May 2007. The game utilizes a total of 110 different animations and features a 2D rendition of the series' three dimensional (3D) graphics.[77][78] Game Director Phil Cohen said that although the game was enjoyable to develop, the greatest challenge was creating a single tileset and palette swapping scheme that was diverse enough to portray multiple environments with only several hundred kilobytes, and that met Santa Monica Studio's high standards.[79] Cohen wrote the initial design document between September and October 2005, and revisited it in August 2006, the month development started. The versions for high-end handsets were completed in April 2007, with final versions for low-end handsets completed by June 2007. The porting team adapted the game to over 200 handsets in a matter of weeks. Both David Jaffe and Cory Barlog ensured that the Betrayal development team captured the feel of the combat and visual style, and were "helpful with feedback and positive support".[79]

Adaptations[edit]

Film and documentaries[edit]

A film adaptation of the first game was announced in 2005.[80] Creator David Jaffe confirmed that a completed script had been written by David Self and would be sent to an unspecified director and that Universal Studios is behind the making of the God of War movie but was unaware of its current status,[81] and eventually said, "it's doubtful that the film will even be made." [82] In September 2010, Jaffe said that the "script went out a year and a half ago to Daniel Craig who plays [James] Bond, but he turned it down." He also said that another actor had since been cast as Kratos; he said, "this new person is pretty good, if that ends up true."[83] In July 2012, The Hollywood Reporter said that the writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, had been hired to adapt the God of War film.[84] On August 30, 2012, the writers told IGN that they intend to "humanize" Kratos and explore his past. Melton said that they are emotionally invested and it could become a series of films, and that Ares "will become a more proactive villain". As of September 2013, the movie is without a director, no actors have been confirmed, a release date has not been set,[85] but the script has been "turned in".[86] It has a budget of $150 million USD.[87]

God of War: Unearthing the Legend (75 minutes, 2010)[88] is a documentary about the God of War franchise and is hosted by Peter Weller. The production discusses the relationship between the God of War games and Greek mythology, and features members of the God of War III development team and professional historians. It was released as part of the God of War III: Ultimate Edition (North America) and Ultimate Trilogy Edition (Europe, Australia, and New Zealand). On March 25, 2010, it was released on the PlayStation Store to purchase.[89]

God of War – Game Directors Live (80 minutes, 2010)[90] is a documentary featuring five game directors of the God of War series: David Jaffe (God of War), Cory Barlog (God of War II), Ru Weerasuriya (Chains of Olympus), Stig Asmussen (God of War III), and Dana Jan (Ghost of Sparta). The documentary takes the form of an interview panel hosted by G4's Alison Haislip, with the five game directors, 150 members of PlayStation.Blog and members of GodofWar.com and SpartansStandTall.com. It was filmed at the El Portal theater in Los Angeles on September 1, 2010, and was released as a pre-order bonus for God of War: Ghost of Sparta in North America on November 2, 2010, and was included with the God of War: Origins Collection and on the PlayStation Store.[91]

Comic series and novels[edit]

Main article: God of War (comics)

A six-issue comic book series titled God of War, written by Marv Wolfman with art by Andrea Sorrentino, was published by WildStorm and DC Comics between March 2010 and January 2011.[92] The narrative switches between Kratos' past and present; it occurs while he is a soldier of Sparta and involves his search for the Ambrosia of Asclepius, which has legendary healing properties and eventually saved his plague-ridden daughter, Calliope. Kratos also embarks upon a quest to destroy the same elixir to deny it to the worshippers of the slain god Ares, who wish to resurrect him.[93]

The God of War novels recount the events of the games and offer deeper insights into their stories. God of War, the official novelization of the first game of the series, was written by Matthew Stover and Robert E. Vardeman. It was published on May 25, 2010, by Del Rey Books.[94] God of War II, the second novelization of the series, was written by Vardeman alone and was published by Del Rey Books on February 12, 2013.[95]

Music[edit]

Five God of War soundtracks have been commercially released and have featured a number of composers on each soundtrack, including Gerard K. Marino, Ron Fish, Winifred Phillips, Mike Reagan, Cris Velasco, Winnie Waldron, Marcello De Francisci, and Jeff Rona. On March 1, 2005, God of War: Original Soundtrack from the Video Game was released on CD by SCEI as an exclusive product for the Sony Connect Music Store. It has been praised for its well-developed orchestral themes, and the creative use of ancient and ethnic instrumentation The composers were also praised for avoiding the production of never ending action themes.[96] God of War II: Original Soundtrack from the Video Game was released on CD by SCEI on April 10, 2007. Praised as strong, the album features ominous orchestral pieces, and each composer's contributions are slightly more distinctive than the previous soundtrack.[97] God of War III: Original Soundtrack from the Video Game was released as downloadable content through the God of War III Ultimate Edition and Ultimate Trilogy Edition collections in March and April 2010.[98] It was also released on CD on March 30, 2010.[99] The soundtrack was praised as an orchestral success and the best score in the series.[100]

The original scores for God of War, God of War II, and God of War III were nominated for Best Original Score at the 2005,[101] 2007,[102] and 2010[103] Spike Video Game Awards, respectively. The God of War Trilogy Soundtrack was included with the God of War III Ultimate Edition and Ultimate Trilogy Edition collections as downloadable content. The Trilogy Soundtrack consists of the God of War, God of War II and God of War III scores. God of War Trilogy Soundtrack was praised by critics as the best way to experience the series' musical development, and allows the listener to note the development of the composers during the series.[104]

On November 2, 2010, God of War: Ghost of Sparta – Original Soundtrack from the Video Game was released as downloadable content by SCEI as part of the God of War: Ghost of Sparta pre-order package and includes three bonus tracks from God of War: Chains of Olympus and can be purchased from iTunes.[105][106] Several tracks were cited as being intended for purely contextual purposes, and the remaining tracks rated well in comparison to the soundtracks of the main installments in the series.[107] God of War: Ascension (Original Soundtrack) differed from the previous scores as it was composed by Tyler Bates alone. It was released on March 5, 2013, on iTunes.[108] It was included as downloadable content in the God of War: Ascension – Collector's Edition and Special Edition.[109] It was praised as being powerful, rich, and pulsing, though listening to the whole album can be repetitive.[110]

God of War: Blood & Metal[edit]

God of War: Blood & Metal
EP by Various artist
Released March 2, 2010 (2010-03-02)
Genre Heavy Metal
Length 29:24 (6 track version)
36:56 (7 track version)
Label Roadrunner Records

The God of War: Blood & Metal EP is a heavy metal homage by various bands on the Roadrunner Records label, and features original music inspired by the God of War video game series. The EP was released for purchase on March 2, 2010, and is available from ShockHound[111] and from the iTunes Store.[112] The EP was also released as downloadable content via the God of War III Ultimate Edition (North America) and Ultimate Trilogy Edition (Europe, Australia, and New Zealand) collections and included a bonus track.[98][113] The second track, "Shattering the Skies Above" by Trivium,[111] and the bonus track, "Even Gods Cry" by The Turtlenecks,[114] were made into music videos.

1UP.com (2.5/5) said, "it's not offensive to [the] ears" and "mainstream listeners may enjoy [the album]".[115] Square Enix Music Online (8/10) stated the album is a "good selection of metal music" and listeners will be "surprised with the variety of music".[116]

Track listing
No. Title Music Length
1. "My Obsession"   Killswitch Engage 3:44
2. "Shattering the Skies Above"   Trivium 4:44
3. "Raw Dog"   Dream Theater 7:33
4. "This Is Madness"   Taking Dawn 4:18
5. "Throat of Winter"   Opeth 5:47
6. "The End"   Mutiny Within 3:18
Total length:
29:24
God of War III Ultimate Edition/Ultimate Trilogy Edition bonus track
No. Title Music Length
7. "Even Gods Cry"   The Turtlenecks 7:32
Total length:
36:56


Critical reception[edit]

Aggregate review scores
As of March 3, 2015.
Game GameRankings Metacritic
God of War 93.58%[117] 94/100[118]
God of War II 92.68%[119] 93/100[120]
God of War: Betrayal N/A[121] N/A[122]
God of War: Chains of Olympus 91.44%[123] 91/100[124]
God of War Collection 90.78% (PS3)[125]
75.00% (Vita)[126]
91/100 (PS3)[127]
73/100 (Vita)[128]
God of War III 92.07%[129] 92/100[130]
God of War: Ghost of Sparta 87.31%[131] 86/100[132]
God of War: Origins Collection 86.62%[133] 84/100[134]
God of War Saga NA[135] NA[136]
God of War: Ascension 79.34%[137] 80/100[138]

In June 2012, Sony reported that the series up to that point had sold more than 21.65 million copies worldwide (as of 2015, Sony has not released updated sales data).[139][140] God of War, God of War II, God of War: Chains of Olympus, God of War Collection, and God of War III have each received critical acclaim from several reviewers as compiled by review aggregates GameRankings (GR) and Metacritic (MC). Although God of War: Betrayal did not receive this level of positive feedback, it has been acclaimed for its fidelity to the series in terms of gameplay, art style, and graphics.[23] Similarly, God of War: Ghost of Sparta did not receive that level of acclaim, but has been praised for its graphics and story. 1UP said it is "a more personal story than the other GOW games."[141] God of War: Ascension also did not receive that level of acclaim and, not including the PlayStation Vita port of God of War Collection, it has the lowest score in the series from GameRankings (79.71%)[137] and Metacritic (80/100).[138]

Raymond Padilla of GameSpy wrote that God of War is the "best action game ever to grace the PS2"[142] and one of the best action games of all time, having received over a dozen "Game of the Year" awards.[143] In 2009 it was named the "seventh best" PlayStation 2 game of all time on IGN's "Top 25 PS2 Games of All Time" list.[144] God of War II was also on IGN's list, and was named the "second best" PlayStation 2 game of all time.[145] God of War II has similarly been called one of the best action games of all time and is considered the swan song of the PlayStation 2 era.[146] In November 2012, Complex.com named God of War II the best PlayStation 2 game of all time—where God of War was named the 11th best—and consider it better than its successor, God of War III.[147]

God of War: Chains of Olympus has been praised for "fantastic" graphics and "tight and responsive" controls.[148] In 2008, Chains of Olympus was awarded the "Best PSP Action Game",[149] and in September 2010, it was listed as the best PSP game by GamePro.[150] God of War III received praise for its graphics, in particular of Kratos; IGN stated that Kratos is "perhaps the single most impressive-looking character ever in videogames." IGN also said that God of War III "redefines what the word 'scale' means with regards to videogames, as it throws you into scenes with Titans that are larger than entire levels in some other games."[151] God of War III received awards for "Most Anticipated Game of 2010" [152] and "Best PS3 Game".[152] The game also won the "Artistic Achievement" award at the 2011 BAFTA awards.[153] God of War: Ghost of Sparta received several awards at E3 2010 including "Best Handheld Game", "Best PSP Game", and "PSP Game of Show",[154] and won "Best Handheld Game" at the 2010 Spike Video Game Awards.[152]

The series also received criticism because of problems with puzzles, weapons, and technical issues. God of War: Chains of Olympus was criticized by G4, who stated that the game "occasionally suffers from screen tearing and framerate drops", and that some of the puzzles "are so maddeningly difficult to solve".[155] The game was also criticized for its lack of variety in enemies, players still having to move boxes to solve puzzles,[148] and its relatively short story.[156] God of War III was criticized for one of its puzzles; X-Play said it was "particularly inappropriate."[157] IGN complained about the game's weapons, and said "that two of the three additional weapons that you'll earn are extremely similar to your blades. They have unique powers and slightly different moves, but by and large, they're more of the same."[151] Gamestyle criticized the script, and said it "gets downright hokey at times".[158] God of War: Ghost of Sparta received criticism from Eurogamer, which said that the "game's primary problem ... is in its in-built focus" and that "there is a sense that Ghost of Sparta is a step back for the series if you've played [God of War III]." [159] Some reviewers stated that God of War: Ascension's story was not as compelling as previous installments, with IGN stating that in comparison to Zeus and Ares, "the Furies don’t quite cut it".[160] The multiplayer received a mixed response. Although reviewers claimed gameplay translated well into the multiplayer, they were critical towards the balance and depth of combat. Edge magazine, however, approved of the multiplayer, stating it is an "evolutionary step" with "some fine ideas ... that will form part of this genre's future template."[161]

The collections have also received praise. IGN (9.4/10) awarded God of War Collection the "Editor's Choice" Award and praised the enhanced resolutions, lower price point and smoother frame rates, and stated it was the "definitive way to play the game[s]".[162] Due to the success of the God of War Collection, Sony announced that further titles would receive similar treatment for release under its new "Classics HD" brand.[32] God of War: Origins Collection was similarly well received. IGN (9/10) stated "Sony succeeded at making good games better."[163] Although GamePro criticized it for its lack of new bonus content.[164] God of War Saga also received praise. Ryan Fleming of Digital Trends wrote that the collection "is perhaps the best value buy for any console available," although the collection is not likely for fans of the series, but rather inexperienced players or newcomers.[165]

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