God of War II
Is this the last great game on the PS2?
Sony Santa Monica
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God of War II has all the makings of a hastily thrown together sequel. It uses largely familiar mechanics and and mildly improved graphics and sound engines to tell a story steeped in the same sort of stuff as the first, heroic entry in the series.
The game has been pieced together not by the original creator but rather one of his staff, promoted in his absence. There's the financial success incentive, of course. Those 110 million PlayStation 2s together form the biggest console installed base around, meaning any game that can capture even a respectable sliver of the market is in for a major cash reward.
"It has all the makings of a hastily thrown together sequel... but God of War II is not just a cynical cash-in."
In a recent interview, Cory Barlog, the director of the game at Sony's studio in Santa Monica, talked about how God of War II was pieced together. He spoke of how the game's first level, a showdown with the storeys-high Colossus, was actually the last thing the team worked on, designed with the express purpose of wowing players right from the start. They succeeded.
The game rockets off the line with a major action set piece. Kratos is fully powered, and you can feel his godly powers coursing through his bulging veins, as you slash into the towering creation with focussed aggression. There's a lot you can do with a full repertoire. It's easy to fall into a haze of button mashing, with no thought spared for subtlety. But it's there. And the determined player will savour these early sequences. Veterans of the first game will sink right into the experience, perversely shortening the duration of this thrilling appetizer. And then it ends.
After felling the goliath, Kratos succumbs to Zeus, who descends from Olympus to slay our hero. But some of the gods are on your side, and thanks to their intervention you're given another chance, to crawl out of hell - albeit in an ungodly, neutered way - and deliver violent,angry justice to the arrogant Zeus. To do this, you need to find a way back along the thread of time that will take you to the moment before your death, so that things, this time, can take another path.
The same core gameplay that drew so much acclaim for God of War returns for the sequel, only there's a more deliberate pace to affairs. Responding to criticism for the first game, the development team has seen fit to up the boss count, several of whom drop weapons once they're downed. These can be sub-weapons like the hammer, freely usable at any time in the game, or main weapons, to replace the familiar blades that serve Kratos so well. How you develop them is up to you, based as the evolution system is on spending red orbs collected from downed enemies and bosses. The blades still feel the best though.
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God of War 2
Direct feed gameplay (PS2 - SCE)
|02:04||45MB||DF, ED, 16:9
God of War 2
Extended two minute trailer direct feed (normal quality)
|2.04m||30.6MB||SD, DF, 30