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5 Best Santa Monica Studio Games of All Time, Ranked

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Not to worry, as God of War Ragnarok is rumored to finally release in June 2022. It’s been an excruciatingly long wait since 2018’s God of War, so we get it. Apparently, Santa Monica Studio is holding off on the release of the last ever God of War title, given that many people praise it the most. However, there have been other games worth mentioning like Sound Shapes, The Unfinished Swan, and Hohokum

Hands down, God of War is the best among Santa Monica Studio games and (apparently) among all the PlayStation games ever made. Stick around, though, to find out which God of War title carries top-spot. We’re also ranking every other Santa Monica Studio game, so you could check them out while we wait for an official confirmation of the final release date of God of War Ragnarok

Let’s dive right in.


5. BloodRayne (2002)

Bloodrayne: Official Trailer

If you’re a fan of action-shooter games, you may want to check out BloodRayne. Though the likes of Resident Evil and Grand Theft Auto rank higher among third-person shooter games, you may find BloodRayne's lore outstandingly unique. 

It follows a red-haired, half-vampire called Rayne as she battles her way out of grim situations and supernatural threats. The game doesn’t offer much of a storyline except the need to fight off zombies, giant spider-like creatures, and Nazis. Among Rayne’s abilities is seeing through walls, super speed, and powerful kicks and slashes.  

While the gameplay and graphics have aged compared to modern games, BloodRayne holds historical value in an era where action games are not so great. So if you’re curious about historical quality action games, you could check it out. A quick tip is to stick through later in the game, as the first parts are generally pretty bland. 

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a modern playable edition, you could check out BloodRayne: Terminal Cut, which includes patches to advance resolutions up to 4K and boost performance at 60 frames per second. 


4. The Order: 1886 (2015)

The Order: 1886 - Announce Trailer (PS4) | E3 2013

Santa Monica Studio tried its hand at a third-person action-adventure game, and with a few tweaks, The Order: 1886 could have gained more fame. The game is a Victorian-era London adventure game that falls short of seamlessly merging cinematic qualities with gameplay. Players take on Sir Galahad’s role as a centuries-old elite order of knights whose primary goal is to fight for peace against an ancient enemy. In this fictional war, you have access to advanced technology like explosive rifles and electrified cannons which adds a nice touch to the gameplay. 

The graphics of the game also don’t fall short of praise as the cinematic qualities of the game truly sell London’s historical universe. Unfortunately, the storyline isn’t as intriguing, and the gameplay is underutilised. So you’d find yourself sightseeing rather than spending time fighting the bad guys. It helps to feel immersed in the game, rather than feeling like you’re spending half the time exploring the sceneries. 

While the gunplay is fantastic, adding more pulsating fight scenes would have been grand. On the other hand, the game has excellent loading times and authentic visuals, thus providing an averagely enjoyable game to check out.


3. Sound Shapes (2012)

Sound Shapes™Launch Trailer

While Sound Shapes is not the stand-out invention of the century, it sure is one to remember. The game is a brilliantly executed mesh between music and shapes to create beautiful visuals. 

Players interact with a 2-dimensional side-scrolling platform. Their main goal is to create unique environments in whichever way you’d like. With each shape, there’s a sound effect attached to it. So the more you navigate each level, avoiding obstacles and enemies along the way, the more you compose stunning music tracks to your liking. 

It may sound complex, and the mechanics sure seem like they took genuine effort to implement, but once you start playing, it gets easier with each level. Instantly striking are the beautiful, minimalistic visuals and a wide range of audio effects. Coupled with various ways to create and share your uniquely made sounds, the game lands a stellar experience for every player.


2. The Unfinished Swan (2012)

The Unfinished Swan Launch Trailer

If you’ve ever wanted complete leeway to get creative, the first-person adventure game to look out for is The Unfinished Swan. The game starts with a touching narrative that ends abruptly, leaving you with an empty white screen of complete nothingness. Your task? To complete the unfinished painting of a swan. It’s all up to you as you play around with different splashes of paint, dashing the world of white space castles, paths, and gates with whichever colour you’d like.

Players have the freedom to make things messy or create beautiful art pieces. It’s a great way to relieve stress and create soothing aesthetics. The only disappointing thing is at some point, the game starts filling in your canvas with colors and shadows, taking away your original piece. Still, it keeps getting interesting enough to stick around throughout the game as the stories unfold and the adventure builds up.  At some point, you’re free to create geometric shapes and platforms in the visually appealing graphics and fast 60 frames-per-second the PlayStation 4 offers.


1. God of War (2018)

God of War – Story Trailer | PS4

Perhaps it’s because Santa Monica Studio keeps improving on sequels, but 2018’s God of War is by far the best Santa Monica Studio game ever made. From iconic character development to brilliant world settings to deep combat systems, Santa Monica Studio packaged this game to create a remarkable adventure of the series. 

Unlike previous games where it was all fight and no play, God of War takes a step back to shine the light on the characters’ humanity. Gone are the days when Kratos sought vengeance against the gods of Olympus. Now, he must fight to survive along with his son and make amends for his past rageful nature. With its first version available in Playstation 4 in 2018, Santa Monica Studios went a step further to bring it to PC in 2022.

The game does well to elevate everything that worked in all its prequels. With the new world that stands out in its visuals, God of War knits everything together to create a meaningful story and plenty of profoundly nuanced action to go around. 

That’s it for now. Do let us know how your experience is playing either of these games on our socials here or in the comments below.

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Evans I. Karanja is a freelance writer who loves to write about anything technology. He is always on the lookout for interesting topics, and enjoys writing about video games, cryptocurrency and blockchain and more. When not writing, he can be found playing video games or watching F1.