|Posted by Brad Parsons on June 27, 2010 at 8:44 PM|
God of War II was released for the Playstation 2 on March 13th 2007 in North America, April 27th 2007 in Europe and May 3rd 2007 in Australia. It was later released on the Playstation 3 along with God of War to make the God of War Collection. The God of War Collection was released on November 17th 2009 in North America, March 18th 2010 in Australia and March 19th 2010 in Europe. God of War II is the sequel to God of War, set while Kratos is the new God of War after killing Ares in the first game. I will be reviewing the Playstation 2 version.
The game is set after the events of God of War. Kratos is now the God of War after having killed Ares in the first game. As the God of War he has just been leading the Spartans to victory and decides to join them in an attack on Rhodes. Although Kratos has been warned by Athena that the Gods are not happy about his lust for revenge, he just ignores her and continues to battle in Rhodes. While in Rhodes an eagle appears out of the sky and drains his power from him, then brings the Colossus of Rhodes to life. You then play as Kratos, who still has some powers of a God. After a few small battles with the Colossus you are offered the Blade of Olympus by Zeus. In a final battle with the Colossus you drain all your godly power into the Blade of Olympus and use it to beat the Colossus. It then turns out that Zeus was the eagle and he tricked you into putting your power into the Blade of Olympus in order to make you a mortal. After the fight with the Colossus, Kratos is mortally wounded. Zeus battles Kratos while he is weak and kills him, making him fall into the underworld. The Titan Gaia then talks to Kratos and convinces him to fight his way out of the underworld and kill Zeus. After you escape the underworld you spend the whole game trying to reach the sisters of fate so that you can go back in time and defeat Zeus at the moment when he killed you earlier.
The scale in God of War II is so massive it is unbelievable that a Playstation 2 console was capable of playing it. The locations you play at were massive, and you could see in great detail things at a very far distance from you. The scale in God of War II is more impressive than the scale in some games on the Playstation 3 or Xbox 360. Graphically of course it isn't as good as most of the games on the Playstation 3 or Xbox 360, but the graphics were brilliant for the hardware it was using. It was quite literally pushing the Playstation 2 console to its limit. It would be impossible for the game to look any better on the Playstation 2 console.
The gameplay was very similar to the first God of War, although improvements were made. The combat used the same, simple controls although now players were given the ability to counter attack using the Golden Fleece. Boss fight still tended to use alot of quick-time events, but the bosses themselves were alot bigger in this game. As in the first game where you fought a big boss a few minutes into the game (the Hydra), this was also the case in God of War II where you find yourself fighting the gigantic Colossus of Rhodes. The larger bosses, aswell as the larger areas, gave the game a more epic feel. Other new additions to gameplay included the Icarus Wings which could be used to glide over large areas, and the Amulet of the Fates which could be used to slow down time (which helped in many puzzles but could also be used to help in combat). All magical abilities gained in the first game were lost and you gain new abilities as you progress through this game. Also, in the first God of War game you had the Blades of Chaos and the Blade of Artemis, but in God of War II you start with the Blades of Athena (which were given to you at the very end of the first game) then find secondary weapons as you go through the game. This gave you alot more choice when it came to fighting, the more brutal people would probably use the Barbarian King's Hammer, while others could use the Spear of Destiny. Personally I tended to stick with the Blades of Athena for the most part, having being accustomed to the way they work when using the Blades of Chaos in the first God of War.
The puzzles, as with the first game, are a nice escape from the combat. They once again aren't too difficult but can make you think. The addition of the Icarus Wings and the Amulet of the Fates make the puzzles alot more interesting than in the first game.
This game is nice and brutal (of course it is, it's a God of War game). It has a very similar brutal style to the first God of War but the overall brutality has increased. Kratos seems to care less about how much pain he puts his enemies through than he did in the first game. However, it is nowhere near as brutal and violent as God of War III on the Playstation 3 console.
Overall, God of War II took what God of War was and improved upon it, to the extent where it became one of the finest games on the Playstation 2. You can tell that alot of effort went into making this game, and it pushes the Playstation 2 console to its absolute limit. It is graphically beautiful for the console it is on and its scale is impressive to this day. The gameplay is simple but enjoyable and it has great replay value. This could actually be the greatest game on the Playstation 2 console.
***** - 5 stars
Review by Brad Parsons