- Annoying Video-Game Helper: The tutorials pop-ups are very... thorough in their controls assistance. Made worse by their tendency to appear a significant period of time after the player already figured out whatever they're mentioning and the inability to skip past them for several seconds.
- Anti-Climax Boss: Medusa herself is the very first Gorgon enemy Kratos fights, but she is no stronger than any of the generic Gorgon enemies met later on. The only difference is that she's pink.
- Breather Level: Pandora's Temple alternates between "maddeningly difficult" and "relaxingly easy"; the former describes most of the area's obstacle runs, the latter, most of the puzzles.
- Complete Monster: In the novelization by Matthew Stover and Robert E. Vardeman:
- Ares is an insane, sadistic deity who kickstarts the entire plot with his ambition. Turning the warrior Kratos into his corrupted weapon, Ares uses Kratos to pave a path of blood and death across Greece, killing untold thousands in horrific massacres before tricking Kratos into murdering his own family to destroy the last of his humanity. After Kratos betrays him and allies with Athena, Ares—who enjoys spending his free time killing hundreds of humans at a time for fun—wages war on the city of Athens, killing entire forest populations on his way to destroy Athens. Setting Athens aflame as he sends his hordes to kill everyone inside the city, children included, Ares personally slaughters countless fleeing civilians before being confronted by a vengeful Kratos, who Ares proceeds to Mind Rape with images of his dead family. Upon obtaining Pandora's Box, Ares boasts his plans to use it on Olympus itself, hoping to kill his father Zeus and sister Athena before subjugating all of existence under his mad boot.
- Medusa is far worse than her video game counterpart. Medusa keeps tortured slaves under her thrall, one of whom she blinds and has sex with regularly, something heavily implied to have befallen many slaves before him. Medusa's vile nature is fully revealed as it is seen she regularly has her servants cook human infants for her to devour as a meal, and when a disgusted Kratos tries to kill her for this crime that horrifies even him, Medusa ends up murdering one of her own slaves in a blind anger.
- First Installment Wins: Story wise, the first game is best remembered, by fans that care about the plot, with the later games being divisive.
- Good Bad Bugs: The Challenge of Hades requires Kratos to run around a maze, killing all enemies before he can open the door to the exit. However, performing a heavy attack close to said door will cause Kratos to clip through it if the player keeps holding the button, thus skipping the entire trial.
- It Was His Sled: Kratos having accidentally killed his family was a big revelation halfway through the first game. It's become common knowledge and other games, even prequels, outright spoil that incident in the opening.
- Moral Event Horizon:
- Ares crossed it when he tricked Kratos into killing his family, all because he wanted Kratos to be a perfect warrior.
- Kratos crossed it prior to the events of the game by killing his family, however, this was because Ares had tricked him into doing so. Despite this, no one in the game's world ever forgets what Kratos did, accident or not. Not even the gods keep their promise of erasing the nightmares Kratos has because of his sin, either because it was that bad, or as the sequels show, they're self-righteous, capricious pricks that may have been heavily or more corrupted by the evil released from Pandora's Box when Kratos opened it.
- A true MEH Kratos commits is leaving the boat captain in the first mission to die for no reason at all. Kratos could've just pulled the guy up and take the key he was after, but instead, he takes the key hanging from the captain's neck and lets him fall into the belly of the Hydra.
- That One Boss: The final fight against the eponymous God of War is a nightmare on any difficulty other than medium, but special mention goes to the "War of the Clones" segment. You're fighting a Battle in the Center of the Mind against Kratos doppelgangers who are trying to kill your wife and daughter. There can be as many as seven clones on-screen simultaneously, and they respawn very quickly. If you get hit, Kratos will be stunned and knocked away from his family, leaving the two vulnerable. Although the game has a mechanic that enables Kratos to transfer his own health to them, there are very few opportunities to do so, as the enemies are very aggressive and Kratos cannot fight back while performing the healing move. This is then followed by the final part of the battle, which strips you of your weapons and magic in exchange for a thoroughly useless sword that appends unnecessary flourishes to everything, whilst fighting a boss who hits fast and hard.
- That One Level:
- Hades is a challenging late game level that takes place in actual Hell. There's very little combat, but Kratos has to carefully tiptoe across long, rotating beams with blades. Getting hit by said blades will send Kratos straight into a Bottomless Pit. And once you manage to make it across those, you have to do the same thing vertically, as Kratos climbs on rotating beams. Although getting hit by the blades here doesn't instantly kill you, it sends you all the way back down to the bottom. The extras disc for God of War II reveals that the Hades level was the only one that wasn't play tested, hence the difficulty.
- In the Challenge of Poseidon, there is a sequence where Kratos must push a cage up a hill while an endless supply of Undead Legionnaires spawns. The player must carefully juggle between pulling the prisoner towards its destination and fighting off the enemies, as getting hit at the wrong moment could send the cage all the way back to the bottom of the room.
- The puzzle for Aphrodite's necklace requires Kratos to push a wooden block across a room and a narrow corridor within an extremely strict time limit. There is no room for error, and failing to perform the task perfectly results in an instantaneous Game Over.
- The confrontation with three Cyclopses early in the Athens Town Square map. On easier difficulties it's merely annoying, but on Hard and Very Hard, it becomes ridiculously frustrating.
YMMV / God of War