God of War II
Distributed By: SONY
Reviewed by Ismael Manzano
Those of you with very long memories will recall that God of War was one of my first game reviews for G-POP.net. You will also remember that received high praise and remains one of my favorite action games of all time. So it is no great surprise that I jumped at the chance to review God of War II, the much anticipated sequel.
In God of War II, you are once again Kratos, Ghost of Sparta, and newly ascended God of War. After having defeated Aries in the first installment of the series, you now sit on his throne and command your own army of mortal men in whatever war you wish. And of course, what does the Ghost of Sparta want to do with his army? Why, to conquer all of Greece under the banner of Sparta, of course. Still haunted by the death of his family, Kratos remains reckless and blood-thirsty and his ways quickly earn the ire of the rest of the gods of Olympus. Athena is the first to warn Kratos, but her pleas fall on deaf ears. It isn’t long before Zeus himself turns on the war god, stripping him of most of his godly powers and leaving him for dead.
Of course, anyone who has played the first installment of the series knows never to leave Kratos for dead—it only upsets him. Saved and taken in by the Titan Gia, Kratos now has a new nemesis in Zeus and a new goal, to kill the father of the Gods. In order to do that he must find the Sisters of Fate and go back to the point in time where Zeus betrayed him. In a quest that mirrors the one from the first game, Kratos seeks the fabled Sisters with the help of the Titans, long imprisoned or dead beings that predated the Olympian gods. Throughout the adventure you’re given insight to the origins of Zeus and his feud with the Titans, as well as the true reason for his betrayal of Kratos. But even with the aid of the powerful Titans, can Kratos regain the power he’d lost and find the fortitude to destroy the father of the gods?
Now for the critique part of the review. For the most part I loved this game. It had everything that the first one had with some extra moves and tricks thrown into it. The graphics were great, the gameplay was flawless and natural, and the brutality of the fights was delicious. Unfortunately, the plot was too similar to the first, which may have been good for some, but I wanted a little more. Aside from the flashbacks explaining how Zeus and the Titan came to be at odds, I found that a lot of what Kratos did paralleled his first adventure. Even the power the Titans offered him were for the most part the same as what he’d received from the gods, with a few quirks to make it interesting.
Overall, I really loved the game, however. It was a bit short like the first game, but this installment has more replay value. Throughout the game you can obtain certain urns that contain mysterious powers to be used only in the replay mode—example, unlimited magic, all powers kept, etc. There are also some costume rewards that enhance your abilities or are just plain fun to use in replay mode—my favorite is the Cod of War skin in which Kratos plays the game in a giant fish suit. Don’t knock it - it's funny. Also, there is a—literal—cliffhanger ending that will keep you salivating for the next in the series.