Welcome back to the God of War. We left with Kratos being at the top of the world in more ways than one. Those who have not completed the original game please and do not wish to know what happened cover your eyes now and I will inform you when you can read again after the spoiler. Since becoming the God of War after killing Aries you continue to rage war against the Gods by attacking each of their cities. This went far from unnoticed as during an invasion of Athena’s city the God of War Kratos loses much of his height, and is reduced to the size of your average man. The problem with Kratos being the size of your average man is that there is a giant statue attacking him and he must defeat it. All hope is not lost though as Zeus decides to give you a hand by giving you a brand new giant sword.
The sword is a fairly interesting one, which was used to defeat the Titans many years ago. The problem with this sword is that Kratos must drain his Godliness into it so that he can harness its true power, which turns him into a mortal. Once he energizes it, and tears it apart from the inside, when he escapes the stone creature lands on top of him and since he has his power in the sword he almost dies. He survives the encounter though, but on the way to retrieve his juice back from the sword Zeus takes it away and even puts an end to his life. It seems Kratos is being set up to be tortured for eternity in Hell, but the Titan Gaia saves him so that he can put an end to the traitorous Gods. The game really starts over in Hell, where Kratos must battle his way out of the pits by cutting apart the hands of death. Okay you may open your eyes now.
If you expected the same God of War action from the last game, you got that and more. Kratos has a few extra magical abilities, but also manoeuvring abilities that changes the game. Now Kratos can swing across some gaps if he is able to sink his blade into a pillar. This becomes an important feature to completing puzzles, but also with general navigation. Besides his general “sling blades” he also has a few other weapons at his disposal after progressing a bit deeper into the game, and some of which includes a giant sword and even a bow and arrow. Of course the game would not be complete without a few other features like the Titan’s Rage that boosts his damage for a period of time, but also general magical attacks that include lightning.
The controls are simple and beautiful, allowing even a newbie to the series to pick up and play with ease. The button layout combines light, hard, jump and grapple attacks, which make fighting not only easy but also incredibly fun. The grapple attacks are followed with any of the same buttons, and provide different ways of slaying your opponents. Some enemies cannot be immediately grappled, and so must be tenderized by a few other attacks before a circle appears above them indicating that they can be. Killing enemies, or opening treasure chests, give you experience points that you can use to boost your different abilities. The best trick is to juggle a combo between killing all of your opponents to get a bonus few points.
Combat moderately changes for bosses, and becomes a bit of a system similar to Shadows of the Colossus, and by no means do I mean this in a bad way. The environments are humongous, even throughout the entire game, and it can make you feel like an ant going up an anthill. You must discover what way to battle these epic creatures so that you can exploit them or their environments to land the killing blow. Often you will need to go through several layers of attacks before you can properly finish them of, which switches to a interactive cut scenes that you must press the buttons as the correspond on the screen. These are also very enjoyable to go through, and overall the game refrains from dull moments.
Graphically this is one of the best-looking games ever created for the Playstation 2. The game features wide and expansive environments with awesome cut scenes, which makes it a pleasure to play through. The character and enemy creation detail is beautiful and fairly varied as are the different ways you can kill them. There are plenty of varied environments so it generally does not feel like you have experienced the area before. The only thing that is holding the game back are some invisible walls, which does make the game easier, but also a camera that can be troublesome if you wish to backtrack. The sound in the game is identically fantastic, spewing scores that energize the player. There is plenty to get hyped about, even when we just listen to the battle effects. I also love those voices of each of the characters, so this is another beautifully done part.
In the end, this is a beautiful game, which improves over the previous one. We are in a transition right now between going from the Playstation 2 to the Playstation 3, and if you were only going to purchase one new game for the rest of the Playstation 2’s life God of War 2 could be the best choice out there. This appears to be a great franchise and I am excited to see how it develops from here on out. There really is no excuse for a videogame junkie to not play this game, unless you absolutely hate action games, and even then you are pushing it. Wrapping up, Captain Gordon gives God of War 2 an A-.
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