So I just replayed the orignal GoW for the first time since I was like, 11 and I MOSTLY enjoyed myself.
For an early PS2 Hack and Slash, it's pretty good surprisingly.
It's the same thing as when I played Devil May Cry 1 and didn't expect anything combat or exploration wise but was pleased with my experience.
So the combat is fairly basic but gets pretty fun and somewhat advanced as you go on and unlock more skills and try some tech against the endless onslaught of enemies.
Issues do arise when some of the early 2000's jank kicks in and how the game was designed whenever Kratos takes damage, he'll get stunned HARD!
Literally every hit you take will stun you in place for a second and a half or just smack you against the ground and you lay there for 3 seconds.
The blocking works well in the early game but later the enemies don't give a flying fucking shit if you're blocking, they'll break through that shit no issue.
On top of your dodge having no invincibility frames, the later game forces you to adapt an extremely aggressive playstyle.
Which aggressive isn't that bad since you have a fuck ton of really powerful moves to exploit on your enemies if you're like me and crank all your experience into the Blades of Chaos and not much else.
You also have magic spells at your disposal but they take SO MUCH juice out of your mana bar that they're meant for emergencies only really as they can sometimes act at a screen clear or delete an annoying enemy from their existence
The thing I hate about GoW1 is the platforming.
The jank in this game on top of 95% of the platforming being a 1 shot, all my games deaths resulted in falling to my death or one shot hazards.
The pacing in GoW is weird as shit.
It's roughly a 6-7 hour long game.
When I finished the Athens segment of the game after hour 3, I went "isn't there just the desert temple after this? Am I almost done?" But then the temple takes up the rest of the game essentially. Like;
10% is tutorial ship
30% is Athens
50% is a temple
20% is hell and final battle.
I have some more stuff to rant about in the comments.
But GoW1 is an overall solid game with some really dated moments and jank.