God of War is a third-person action-adventure video game developed by Santa Monica Studio and published by Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE). First released on March 22, 2005, for the PlayStation 2 (PS2) console, it is the first installment in the series of the same name and the third chronologically. Loosely based on Greek mythology, it is set in ancient Greece with vengeance as its central motif. The player controls the protagonist Kratos, a Spartan warrior who serves the Olympian Gods. The goddess Athena tasks Kratos with killing Ares, the God of War, who tricked Kratos into killing his own wife and daughter. As Ares besieges Athens out of hatred for Athena, Kratos embarks on a quest to find the one object capable of stopping the god: the legendary Pandora’s Box.
The gameplay of God of War focuses on combo-based combat, achieved through the player’s main weapon—the Blades of Chaos—and a secondary weapon acquired later in the game. It features quick time events that require the player to complete various game controller actions in a timed sequence to defeat stronger enemies and bosses. The player can use up to four magical attacks and a power-enhancing ability as alternative combat options. It also features puzzles and platforming elements.
God of War sold more than 4.6 million copies worldwide, making it the eleventh best-selling PlayStation 2 game of all time. Regarded as one of the best action-adventure games for the platform, it won several “Game of the Year” awards. In 2009, entertainment website IGN named God of War the seventh-best PlayStation 2 game of all time. It has been highly regarded for its graphics, sound, presentation, and story, in addition to its gameplay. Success of the game led to the development of seven more games and expansion into other media. The game and its first sequel, God of War II, were remastered and released in November 2009 as part of the God of War Collection, and in 2012, the remastered version was re-released as part of the God of War Saga, both for the PlayStation 3 (PS3). A novelization of the game was published in May 2010 and a film adaptation has been in development since 2005.