I too think games need more than just flash and flair, but it's quite common than things can skate by and bank coin just fine even though they lack any sort of substance (Transformers 2, Matrix 2 and 3...etc.).
There is just a handful of things here that provoke me to play Devil's Advocate with you though. While the gameplay mimics that of God of War pretty closely, I think it is dumbed down just a bit too much. Not saying the gameplay is bad either, it's just that from your own perspective of "what has really changed in games since 'back then'?", you cannot compare this game with GoW. The real version forced you to block, wail on the target, roll away once they started their AoE attack, use magic to continue dpsing instead of dodging, and generally let you decide who you're going to take down first and how you were going to do it. While a bit of that is still present here, it is lost due to the simple nature of this game. Again, it is not a bad thing, just you cannot compare 1-shotting hydras here to the battle it takes in the real game. (Even if you only mash the square button you'd still die if you didn't at least block or roll away, for example.)
The other issue that makes comparisons difficult is one of the strongest points of the GoW series: the soundtrack. The pumping orchestra, drums, french horns, and vocals really make make the games stand out in terms epic gameplay. While it doesn't make you feel like you *are* Kratos, it is hard to not feel anything other than being a badass while playing the game.
All in all, excellent depiction of a very valid and sadly forgotten point. If you strip a game down to it's most simple form and it is still fun, then it's going to be a good game. Graphics are a tool to allow people to more fully immerse themselves into a story or a game, something the developers/publishers should utilize to enhance their work. It is *not* the sole aspect of any idea, and if it is the only thing your product has worth talking about, you have failed. Minor note: I think the graphics style you used, while it is based on Game and Watch, look eerily close to the intro 'cinematic' of GoW3, whether or not that was intentional, it's cool all the same.
Excellent idea and excellent game. Though I took off a point to the cheesy political tie-in at the end. Better off making it a joke than a talking point, in my opinion. (It's like when an actor gives an acceptance speech and just prattles on and on about the rights of llamas in South Africa or something. We didn't 'vote' you to win because of your personal beliefs, we did it because you played your part well.) If you had a mode where 'Kratos' had to fight endless waves of debt, or keep a huge bill bouncing in the air by attacking it and making it smaller then I'd say you got a game on your hands, but a sudden "Being in Greece sux ATM" kind of statement at the end is off-putting at best.