Kratos returns as the new God of War in his second outing and a phenomenal game to end the Playstation 2 season.
Nicksta101 wrote this review on .
God of War II picks up not long after the original game's ending, where Kratos killed Ares and became the new God of War (this means if you haven't played the first game then you should for story purposes since you'll get confused pretty soon when playing the game). Kratos' memories of his past deeds were forgiven by the Gods but not erased, instead Kratos turns his memories into anger and hatred to the Olympians and destroys city after city with his Spartan armies, and Athena tells Kratos if he destroys Rhodes, she'll rise against him. Kratos being Kratos, he ignores Athena’s advice and descends down into Rhodes and starts to perform the final blow to the city. Athena then does what she said she would and makes him a human sized man and enchants the Colossus of Rhodes and instructs it to kill Kratos. After the battle Zeus kills Kratos and betrays him. The Titan Gaia tells Kratos he needs to seek out the Sisters of Fate and reverse time to the moment where Zeus betrayed him so he can kill Zeus. This sparks a journey for revenge and sets Kratos out to kill some more creatures and bring back order to Olympus.
What's different in the story between the original is that the story focuses in on what's happening around Kratos, instead of him. In the first game, you'd be watching cut-scenes of Kratos' past life as a Spartan and killing many other enemies. In God of War II, it's usually cut-scenes showing the struggle between the Gods and the Titans, and about Zeus' upbringing and how he became the King of Olympus and defeated the Titans. But you still get to learn all about Kratos and the Titans during the story.
In terms of gameplay, God of War II has improvements that are only minor; this mostly consists of the combat. You chaining attacks with the SQUARE and TRIANGLE buttons with your twin Blades of Chaos, your grabbing enemies, ripping them in half or sending their own arms into their faces and it's all fun. What returns is the Context Sensitive Icons that appear on screen, in the first game you had to hit the button that appeared on the screen multiple times to perform this cool move that just slaughtered the enemy. In God of War II, this happens much more frequently, but it really shines during boss battles, sometimes you’ll have to hit a few buttons, then rotate the Left thumb stick in a certain direction and then finish off with a button press. It’s highly intuitive and extremely awesome to watch. God of War II also introduces a new use of the Blades of Chaos; the Blades now can be used to swing from platform to platform. When you see a white glowing aura high in the air, hit the R1 button and Kratos will swing to the next area. It’s handled very well and it makes an epic set piece later in the game.
Like in the first God of War there were some really great boss battles, even if there were three of them. In God of War II however there’s double the amount, some are mythical legends of Greek Mythology like Medusa’s sister Euryale, the Cerberus and Icarus. The battles also feature some of the best finishing moves seen in a game ever. The enemies you’ll encounter also will seem very familiar from the original games, hordes of undead legionaries, Gorgons, Cyclopes and Ravens. The enemy AI is also brilliant, they’ll evade your attacks, back off when injured and take advantage of your injuries, enemies such as Cyclopes have attacks that can’t be blocked so they’ll be very offensive, Gorgons are hard to evade but easy to block and are incredibly quick. Smaller enemies are obviously easier to kill than larger enemies, but the small kind can be thrown into the larger foes to distract them.
In the original game, you were given powers by the Gods to inflict massive damage to your foes. In the sequel it’s no different, except none of them are given by the Gods, but the Titans. You have (in the order there given in): Poseidon’s Rage, Rage of the Titans, Typhon’s Bane, Cronos’ Rage, Barbarian Hammer, Head of Euryale, Spear of Destiny and Atlas Quake. Poseidon’s Rage is given to you in the first chapter in Rhodes; it was the first magical power from the first God of War and is still the same, a circle of lightning that decimates your enemies. Typhon’s Bane is a wind blown by Typhon in a form of a bow. Rage of the Titans is the same as the Rage of the Gods from the first game but this time it sets Kratos on fire and pulls off even more deadly and unstoppable attacks. Cronos’ Rage is similar to Poseidon’s Rage and not just in name, you shoot out lightning which sticks to your enemies and explodes. The Barbarian Hammer is a sub-weapon in the game which can be used with a flick of the R2 shoulder button; it’s a heavy weapon and can send out the souls of the dead for good measure. Head of Euryale is amazingly similar to Medusa’s Gaze from the first game and does exactly the same, freezes enemies to stone with the gaze. Spear of Destiny is another sub-weapon which is a joy to use; it’s a purple spear which can shoot out purple plasma at your enemies. Finally, Atlas Quake is the most devastating power given to you, given from the mighty Titan Atlas; you can punch and stamp the earth to send boulders, earthquakes, rubble and shockwaves to your opponents. More powers than the first game and in a nutshell, there just plain better.
What’s the same in God of War II is its signature puzzles and combat. The puzzles have been toned down abit but they are still hard, even the simplest of them can be sending you to a guide book to find the answer or what to do. Combat isn’t all just killing things with the Blades of Chaos or ripping things in half; you get to hop onto a Pegasus and Gryphon start tearing down eagles, ravens and falcons. There’s only two of these sections but there great fun and it’s a very nice way on travelling to your next destination as you see it on the horizon.
The musical score in the game is also as epic and ear-shattering as the first, the choir singing at the top of their voice and the amazingly loud orchestra playing their instruments to it's potentional is a great atmostphere to be in. Especially when in a boss battle. The voicework is also top-notch, Kratos' voice really makes it's mark in cut-scenes, the roles of Perseus, Theseus, Zeus and Athena are brilliant. Some of the best sound in a game yet.
To some it up, God of War II is an execellent game, abit longer than the first but still feels a slight short as well. If your wanting a game that has story, compelling gameplay, epic boss battles and a ton of variety in gameplay, and you don't mind aload of violence gore and abit of nudity in a place, God of War II is a thrill ride you can't afford to miss out on.