Just go and buy it now
Every now and then, a game comes along that surpasses all expectations. A game so good that it forces you to re-evaluate what good is. Quake was an example of this as was Grand Theft Auto III.
God of War 2 falls into this category. A game that makes you redefine good. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. First all what is God of War 2.
The story starts with our anti-hero, Kratos. Having defeated Ares in the first game, Kratos is now the God of War. Being something of a crazed psychopath, this suits him down to the ground!
The pyrotechnics of Kratos’ combos and savage kills are so good your eyes may bleed!
Not content with being a God, he continues to use the Spartans to kill everyone in Greece. Quickly he finds himself on the wrong side of the daddy of the gods, Zeus. Athena and Zeus plot to betray Kratos and trick him into once again becoming mortal. To then add insult to injury he kills him! However, a little thing like being dead isn’t going to stop Kratos. After being brought back to life by Gaia, one of the original Titans who ruled before the Gods of Olympus, Kratos climbs the very walls of Hades to begin a quest through time for revenge on the Gods of Olympus! The story is a great mishmash of Greek myth and some serious imagination from the writers!
The opening 20 minutes of God of War II is packed to the gills with more effects and action than most games fit in total! After taking down a couple battalions of soldiers you find yourself face to face with your first Boss.
At this point it would be good to explain the vast scale of GoWII. Anyone who played Shadow of the Colossus will have some idea of what to expect. The environments have an epic scale to them. On open ground, or at the top of a building you can see for miles! But the kicker is the size of the Boss characters. You are about the size of their fingernails! The first fight has you catapulting your self onto a giant kind of robot and stabbing him in the eye!
I can not emphasize enough how big and how good this game looks! Smooth graphics, with almost no slow down no matter how much is happening on screen. The pyrotechnics of Kratos’ combos and savage kills are so good your eyes may bleed! Falling through the sky whilst leaping from flying creatures will take you breath away!
But what of the controls after all, all this prettiness will be wasted of Kratos controls like a tranquillized hippo. Well fear ye not. The control scheme is just about flawless. With a few deft button mashes you will unleash combo after combo of lethal bone crunching and decapitation! Kratos moves like an athlete, with just enough urgency to keep the pace going. At it’s heart there is a platformer feel to this game, similar in fact to Tomb Raider (albeit Lara rarely rips the head off a Medusa!). With wall jumps, grapple swings and the like. While this may not be original it works and works well! You never feel like the next jump is never going to work, it just all feels right.
As the game progresses you collect the souls of those you slay. As you save these up you can purchase upgrades to your weapons and to your skills. What sets this apart from most games like this, is that the use of these new combos is extremely important. You can’t just keep hitting the same button and expect to get through! Some enemies have a special finisher sequence. If you batter them enough they will show a glowing circle button above them. If you get close and grapple them you will be taken into a button pressing sequence. Hit X then rotate the analogue stick, that sort of thing. Now normally I hate these, but here it works really nicely. The finishing moves are gruesome. There is no other word to describe them. In fact that describes most of the moves in this game. Whether you are bashing someone’s skull into a wall, or ripping the wings of a bat like creature, you feel every crunch and snap.
The games voice talent is also quite impressive. Kratos himself sounds gruff and angry at all times, with very little in the way of a sense of humour! With the likes of Michael Clark Duncan and Harry Hamlin lending their voices as well, you know this has some real production values! Again everything in GoWII sounds massive. The crunches and the explosions, the sounds of your chains swinging, everything is just huge and again near perfect.
There is not much wrong in God of War II, but there are a couple of things that prevent it from being perfect. It is very linear, which while not a real problem it is a shame. Also it can begin to get a little repetitive. However the killing does get broken up with some very well thought out puzzles and a few flying sections.
Overall this is just about the best game released on the PS2. If no other game ever comes out on the PS2 this would be a fitting final showing! The graphics are stunning, the sound is massive and the game plays brilliantly. As I said at the start, this is the kind of game that makes you re think what good actually is in a game! So why are you still sat there reading this, go and buy it now and wash the thoughts of the PS3 out of your head for another week or 2 while you complete this!!
The Bad: Can get a little repetitive