God of War II
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2007-04-15 PS2 Action/Adventure M (Mature) SCEA / SCEA Santa Monica

I am no stranger to Kratos' adventures in his quest to become the God of War, and I'll admit that there aren't many games that I eager for, but this sequel was one of them.

In God of War II we see Kratos, no longer a mortal but the new God of War, sitting on his throne. But Kratos doesn't seem to be content with that and kept creating chaos, death and destruction all around him, becoming an even more savage God of War than Ares ever was.

This gets the other Gods worried and extremely pissed, and Athena tries to warn Kratos, however he doesn't listen. Long story short, Athena leaves him without his awsome powers and turns him into a mortal again.

Kratos' new adventure begins in Rhodes with the famous Colossus trying to kill him. And it's one heck of a beginning! It shows you just how massive the battles and environments can be, but it's really just a glimpse of what's to come.

Although he is left without his "awsomeness" Kratos still has some remaining traits of his strength and power, and is able to fight the Colossus and go on in his quest to regain his old abilities (plus some new ones) and bring his wrath upon the Olympus.

Those who have played the prequel will be comfortable right away with the controls, which remain untouched. Button-mashing combos are still easy to perform and enemies are still plentiful to make it happen.

The difficulty seems to have stepped up a notch. Enemies are there to kill you. Some have weapons and they really know how to use them too. They have different strategies and they will change their way of attacking when you least expect them. In one moment you have the upper hand, but in the next you may find yourself low on health and magic.

Check points appear often, but they are still spread far enough apart to make your frustration meter rise in some cases.

Those cool "Simon Says" attacks are back, and they are even more violent than before. The officially called "context sensitive attacks" require you to drop an enemy's health to a certain point and then follow the correct button presses to watch Kratos perform a series of brutal moves on screen. In these scenes, it's like the camera pans out and changes position to give you the best view of the finishing move. Eviscerate, poke eyes out, decapitate, crush, rip, slash and pierce to your little heart's content. Yes, it's violent, but wow, does it look great!

The boss fights are challenging, to say the least. Every boss has a different strategy and you have to figure out the best tactics to win. You get a few opportunities to regain health from beating up a boss, but the tough part is staying alive long enough to do enough damage to reach the finishing move sequence.

Some of the Greek mythological creatures you will encounter include the Colossus of Rhodes, Cerberus, Medusa and Cyclops, and there is even some aerial combat with Pegasus and Gryphons. But many more make their appearance: Zeus, Poseidon, Atlas, Gaia, Hermes and Cronos.

Kratos gets many new powers and weapons that you can upgrade. Some of the weapons aren't all that impressive, but there are artifacts that really make it worth your while with cool abilities such as slowing down time. And then there's the array of magic spells he can learn, from bursts of lightning to earthquakes.

The Rage Meter has been improved so that now you can activate it and not waste all the Rage in one go. You can use it for a few seconds, stop it and save the rest of it for later.

Parallel to the action-packed gameplay, God of War II packs in some environmental puzzles as well. Some of them are easy to figure out while others will leave you scratching your head in disbelief, but with a bit of thought they are all solvable through trial and error.

The game is also packed with a special features disc with music, photos, videos and interviews, but there is also bonus unlockable content in the game, for example outfits for Kratos, behind-the-scenes features and more game options (Challenge of the Titans difficulty and Arena of the Fates mode).

Also, the sex mini-game is back, look around in the bath house in Rhodes for an opportunity to get a bunch of red orbs.

Visually, I have to admit it, it's hard to believe God of War II is a PS2 game. Especially in high-definition! It's gorgeous, detailed, vibrant and rich, from the huge environments to the little details such as lighting efects or blood spatter. Everything really comes to life so well.

In the end, and for those who played God of War, you are getting more of the same, only greater and better, be it the voice acting, the sounds and music, the graphics or the story. It's an incredible epic quest for Kratos' origins and fate.

And although you may find yourself despising Kratos and his new outrageous attitude, you will still love God of War II. And once you've reached the end, you will be begging for God of War III.

Special thanks to Jim Redner and SCEA for providing a copy of this title.