Who didn’t admire Kratos? A mortal who finds a way to defeat insurmountable odds and reign supreme as God of War, taking out Ares in the process and leaving a path of destruction and death in his ascension to the throne. Well the time for glory has passed and not all is well in the world of our temperamental and often psychotically inclined anti-hero.
Kratos is restless, angry and looking for a way out. And with his relationship with the goddess Athena almost in tatters, Kratos turns his back on the goddess that helped him ascend to the throne in Olympus and returns to Earth. After ignoring Athena’s warning, Kratos is cursed by Athena and finds himself no longer a god but a mortal man again. So begins the story of God of War II and believe me, if you thought Kratos was a madman in the first game, think again. The Kratos in God of War II is doubly ferocious - just the way we like him.
The basics of the game are pretty similar to God of War. If you’ve become accustomed to game play in God of War, things are fairly much the same in God of War II. Kratos (now mortal) is really on the vengeance path of death (again) and is serving up much of the same good old fashioned ‘hack and slash’ mayhem as in God of War.
The balance of health and magic still governs your actions in the game so you can’t get too careless. And if you get hurt too often, Kratos the mortal just up and dies and it’s a serious downer. On the other hand, if you run out of magic and you’re overwhelmed by opponents, see option number one. It’s really a vicious cycle but someone’s gotta do it. Last time we checked, Kratos enjoyed smearing the walls with blood so the more victims to kill, the merrier.
Kratos, armed with the ‘Blade of Athena’, can do just about anything from scaling the walls of buildings to swinging from one platform surface to another. Kratos is more mobile than ever and it’s just as well because some of the opponents you face as Kratos in God of War II are mean, ugly and just as bloodthirsty as our anti-hero. Of course, this only adds to the fun factor – the more blood and gore the better all round.
The ingeniously designed puzzles are as always, a great source of fun, exhilaration and of course, frustration for our hero (and you) as he gallivants across the ancient world tearing it up piece by piece. You’ll no doubt find the puzzle portions of the game in God of War II equally challenging and at times, almost too challenging. This will eventually all come back to the difficulty level you set for the game as there is a choice of four; mortal, Spartan, god, and titan. Hey, if Grandma Hardcore can finish God of War on titan, how hard can it be, right?
It often astounds me how much the visual eye candy in a game can detract from what’s really important – the characters and the story. This is why God of War II and God of War before it are such great games. They don’t require HD quality to make them anything special. They stand out simply because they’re just kick-ass games with an even more kick-ass character and story to match. For the Playstation 2, it doesn’t get much better than God of War II and as beautiful as God of War or God of War II would look in high definition, it won’t be the amount of detail in the water ripples that makes the game what it is.
The levels in God of War II are HUGE - almost too big to really complete in just a few sittings. You’ll more than likely find yourself killing as much as you can to make it through without really stopping to look at the scenery. And anyhow, Kratos doesn’t really seem like he’d be the ‘sit and look at the scenery’ type of guy. Kill or be killed is the order of the day and that seems to work just fine.
There are many new developments in God of War II that will keep you happily killing and putting away anyone senseless enough to stand in the way of Kratos. Power-ups in the game have been reworked as well as the magic and of course, the plethora of beasts, gods, and ‘possessed’ statues will no doubt keep Kratos on his toes. And with Athena now your number one foe, even Kratos would do well to remember the phrase: “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” – especially when that woman just happens to be a goddess!