God of War II Review (PS2)

It isn’t very often that a game is so good that the general impression is a gaping mouth drooling helplessly. Yet God of War 2 is just that and more. Stunning in every way possible, it is hard to deny this title anything less than grandeur.

Combine attacks to perform daring moves and brutal kills The fights are almost as good as the scenery behind them

Following the story after the first God of War, Kratos, the new god of war, is struck down by Zeus and killed, his power taken. Brought back by the giant Gaia, Kratos’ adventure lies within seeking out the Sisters of Fate and journeying back to the moment before his death to battle Zeus once and for all.

As epic as the story sounds, the game is. Using Greek mythology hasn’t simply enhanced the story, it is the story. There are so many characters recognizable from literature, movies, TV…all walks of storytelling. At every step along the way, more draws the player in, and for the game to consistently do that throughout the entire play experience shows incredible maturity from developer SCE Studios Santa Monica.

Something to keep in mind is that everything in the game is epic. Whether it’s the artwork, the musical score, the story, the action…whatever it is, it is done to massive proportions. Once that is understood, fully appreciating the game’s magnificence isn’t too difficult.

Remembering that everything follows the story precisely, the musical score sounded like it came straight out of a movie. Rhythmic chorus and chanting dedicated itself to the harsh tones of war and combat fluently. Though no public release has been set, Sony did have the prior game’s score downloadable free for anyone who purchased the title.

So when the music thunders in the beginning when Kratos is nearly invincible as the god he is, it’s very easy to feel the power he wields. Then, since Kratos must die once and lose his strength, all the abilities originally started with are lost. The rest of the game is a process of completing the journey and empowering Kratos to his former self.

Boss battles typically have a few parts, like dismounting the barbarian from his horse Honestly, what coolness level does Kratos get for stuff like this?

The system of doing that is done by trading experience points, gained through the brutal killing of enemies, for enhancements with weapons and magic. Through the course of gameplay additional skills and upgrades can be earned, depending on the difficulty level and the way it is played. Like anything else, the more time invested, the better the outcome.

What really get the game going though are the puzzles. While many loathe finding how to move past a certain area by fulfilling some mindless task, GoW2 uses serious, intellectual puzzles that really require brain matter to be used. It was surprising to see a puzzle that required sending a body down a stream and picking it up on the other side as opposed to simply carrying it from one place to the other.

Another great example would be any of the climbing puzzles that used some sort of movable object. It was never about putting them in some perfect position, but rather a realistic puzzle that could actually be expected in such a situation. True, most puzzles only had one solution to them, but they were real solutions.

The boss battles, and there are many of them, were also very challenging and exciting. Almost every one had some character in Greek mythology, many of which didn’t even have any role in the story except for that singular fight. On the one hand, this made no attachments to such a boss, but on the other, if the player is well versed in Greek lore, killing Persius or Euryale (Medusa) or Cerberus can be very, very entertaining.

Weapons and magic were also both necessary and useful in many situations. While it’s unclear why the Spear of Destiny would be in a game that has nothing to do with the game (or seemingly anything other than Christian mythology) Ares’ hammer and the Sword of Olympus do, as well as the Blades of Chaos. While the first three weapons are nice to have, only the Sword of Olympus is ever really necessary. The Blades of Chaos are simply the perfect killing machine.

Four different spells are gained through the course of the game: Typhon’s Bane (a bow and arrow), Cronus’ Rage (a lighting attack), Head of Euryale (Medusa’s head) and Atlas Quake (ground stomp). Turning enemies to stone tended to be a cumbersome task, but every other spell was useful in its own time and place. To stun an opponent, Cronus’ Rage; a surrounding group, Atlas Quake; distant targets, Typhone’s Bane.

Additionally, after completing the story, a bonus play mode is available which includes the Titan difficulty mode, seven challenges, an open Arena mode, different costumes and all the game’s cinematics. With plenty of replay value and extra playtime, GoW2 has much more than just 15 hours of campaign.

As a very cinematic game, completing certain fights and feats required pushing the correct button set, which although is annoying and tedious, is really the only way to go without making everything open ended. Missing the right button at any given time can be especially annoying, regardless of the circumstance. Then again, getting it right after a few wrong attempts feels all the better.

Removing the wings from a Griffon mid-flight is as cruel as it gets. But they started it Dealing with Titans generally isn’t an issue, but the big guys have bad tempers

Many reviews have given God of War 2 the highest esteem of being not only one of the best PS2 games, but one of the greatest games of all time as well. During gameplay, the idea that it was on the level of Half-Life, Halo, and other classics, was on this reviewers mind. It was simply tantalizing, either by itself or as the sequel to yet another great game. With so many moments of utter beauty, brutality and even nudity, let’s just say that the next installment will be well worth the wait.

Top Game Moment: Ripping out a Cyclops’ eye for the first time and keeping it.

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