Listed below are some of my favorite tips to surviving and racking up the orbs in God of War.
1. Block As If Your Life Depends On It. (It Does.)
God of War may seem like a button masher, but furious button pressing will only get Kratos so far before he finds himself on that one way boat ride to Hades. There's actually a deep, fluid, even elegant fighting system and the best thing you can do to stay alive is to Block (press L1) as an enemy attack comes in. This can be done at any point in your attack chain, so don't worry about starting an attack and then being caught in the middle of it.
2. Stop, Pop, And Roll
The Right Analog Stick works wonders in three ways. First, it's your good old-fashioned evade move, and no attack can hit you while you are rolling. This works EXTREMELY well against the Gorgons' freeze beams. Second, rolling can get you out of being surrounded and to a better position to attack from. Third, and most importantly, you can roll a couple times during a combo and keep the combo going. What better way to keep that hit counter rising and the orb bonuses flowing!!
3. Learn To Counterattack
Once you get Kratos up to Level 3 Blades of Chaos, you will then be able to perform Hades' Revenge (after blocking with L1, press Square, Triangle, or R1). This is the buffed out version of regular old Block, and with this you can unleash a heavy hit on just about any enemy that dares to swing at you. Use the Square counter when there are multiple enemies and you want to sweep the area. Use the Triangle counter if you're up against one stronger enemy such as a Satyr.
4. Air Combat (Launch Your Enemies)
The cool way to find unique ways to punish your enemies, and you have it from the start. Simply hold Triangle to perform Ascension. You'll fly up in the air with one big swing, as will your enemies. Up there all kinds of combo hits and throws await your foes; especially once you level up and can perform Cyclone of Chaos (L1 + Square) and Falling Helios (L1 + Triangle).
5. The First Is The Best (Poseidon's Rage)
On Kratos' journey he will acquire many new powers, the magics as bestowed by the Gods of Olympus. The prices to upgrade these magics are steep and you would rightfully be wary of which magics you should be upgrading first. Well, make sure your priority is the Poseidon's Rage, the first magic Kratos receives in the game. When Level 3 is achieved, the amount of damage it deals and the radius that it affects is well worth the orbs you spend on it. Plus, your combos will go sky high.
6. R2 = Curiosity Button
Lots of things to see, lots of things to discover. To get the full experience of God of War, don't be afraid to press R2 to check out paintings on the wall, dead soldiers, and anything else you come across. You might just discover the clue that could help you in your quest.
7. Be Liberal With Kratos' Magic
The Gods didn't give Kratos these magics for show and tell. There's always a Blue Orb Chest around the corner, and the enemies are more likely to give you Blue Orbs the more you attack them with magic. Also, remember that the Gorgons will give you Blue Orbs anytime you rip their heads off. So don't worry about that blue bar for the most part and go nuts!!
8. Be Conservative With Rage Of The Gods
The same cannot be said for the Rage of the Gods, the all powerful, superspeed version of Kratos. Rage of the Gods is built up from performing combos, and is activated by pressing L3 + R3. Only use it when confronted with really tough gangs of enemies because it doesn't last long enough to justify using it on lesser guys. Too bad, it looks so cool that you'll want to use it and just destroy everything that comes along. But hold out, especially in the later levels, because you'll need it. Get Level 5 Blades of Chaos and Kratos will have Athena's Blessing, meaning UNLIMITED MAGIC during the Rage of the Gods. Awesome.
9. They'll Fall For Achilles' Flip
Don't forget about Achilles' Flip when you reach Level 4 Blades of Chaos! With all the moves at your disposal at this point, you might overlook this beauty. When rolling, press X to perform an uppercut slice at an enemy. This is one of the most unblockable moves Kratos has, and is a perfect combo starter when up against the later enemies that like to block.
10. See Cyclops' One Big Eye?
What better to throw at his eye than a giant bolt of Zeus' Fury? Most of the monsters in God of War have their own personal weaknesses against certain types of attacks and magic. So experiment and find out what those weaknesses are and exploit them!! A personal favorite is to use the low-cost Medusa's Gaze on Harpies, they'll freeze and shatter quickly and give you Shatter Kill Orb Bonuses. A much tidier alternative to slashing at them wildly, and pays off better too.