In Kratos We Trust
The wait has been forever, or at least it feels that way. When Sony Computer Entertainment unleashed Kratos on our violence-deprived minds, we had no idea how long God of War would quench our thirst for spilled blood and massive, beautiful button mashing combos. Repeated play-through built upon our hopes and dreams for a new installment of the hero that does whatever it takes to get the job done. We waited for the announcement of the second part of the new God of War, and then we waited with baited thumbs for the last great title of PS2. The wait is finally over.
We rejoin Kratos a few years after the end of the God of War, and the Gods are displeased. Kratos’ reign as the new God of War has been bathed in constant blood flow. His constant defiant acts against the laws of Zeus have enraged the god of gods. At the start of the game Kratos has guided his Spartan army to Rhodes for its slaughter. Athena warns Kratos that his tyrannical bloodthirsty wars must end, for she can no longer protect him from the wrath of the other gods. Kratos, as cocky and arrogant as ever, dismisses her pleas and descends upon his latest battlefield. It is here that the legacy of an immortal god starts to unravel. It is here that the trickery of Zeus begins and you will be so wrapped up in the moment of the game you may not see it coming yourself. Ultimately, our god is no longer a god, and Kratos’ anger runs deep with betrayal and will once again challenge a god as a mortal only this time he is going after the ruler of Olympus himself, Zeus.
However, Kratos will not do it alone. Aid will come with an interesting new ally, but it will not just be one that will please the Greek Mythology enthusiasts among us. In fact, this is one of the strong points of God of War II. While the first had a few strong elements of Greek Mythology, this time around we are drenched in it. You will encounter characters ranging from Pegasus and Prometheus to Perseus and Icarus. You will discover the birth of Olympus, and the full story of the Titans. SCEA intertwined their God seamlessly into the storylines of mythology seamlessly. When playing the game you may feel as if you are getting a Greek Mythology lesson along with your heavy dose of bloody action.
Speaking of the bloody action, God of War II does something that is almost unbelievable in terms of a sequel to the bloodiest game since Mortal Kombat. It amps up the brutal bloody carnage that we instantly fell in love with in the first title. How is that possible, you might ask? For starters there are several new finishing moves, some that expand on a few of the favorites of the first game, and then there are some that only one word can describe: awesome. Even then, that word does not fully grasp the true amazement you will experience when you perform them.
This is due mainly to the mechanics of the controls of the game. The advantage to having an über popular first title is that you do not have to change anything when it comes to controls. That is exactly what SCEA has done. That is not to say that there are not some tweaks here and there, but generally the same. It is this simplistic return that will please new fans of the series, and it will also make diehard fans of the series happy that they do not have to learn several new controls in order to show off their mad skills. Actually, if you are new to the series there should be no problem with you picking this installment up and within moments devastating your enemies like you were a pro. Keeping the controls simple is a strong plus for God of War II. In fact, the only complaints to be had about the controls are similar to those on the first. The precision button presses and rotation of the analog stick still might hinder new players to the series.
For the returning fans looking to bloody their Spartan fists with something new, God of War II does not disappoint. Through the game, you will receive all new weapons – the Barbarian Hammer, which is received from a foe fans of the first games will remember, the Spear of Destiny, and the Blade of Olympus, which holds your powers of a god. In addition to new weapons, you will receive new magic abilities as well, like Typhon’s Bane and Chronos’ Rage. Relics again play a part, as you will receive the Rage of the Titans and Amulet of the Fates, this new relic will allow Kratos to slow down time in brief spurts allowing for massive carnage against enemies.
There are also a few new styles of levels. Most notable are the levels where Kratos sits atop Pegasus and takes to the air battling Griffins and Ravens. When first talked about, these flight simulation levels seemed a bit trivial or over the top when compared to the first. If you were one of the naysayers of this addition, you will find yourself wanting more levels atop your flying steed; if for no other reason than the impressive payoff you receive when defeating the Griffins through combos. In addition to the Pegasus levels, there are a couple of other aspects that are new while navigating levels. For instance, you can still climb along the walls like before, this time using your blades to dig in. Now in addition to this, you can use your Blades of Athena to move across ceilings. Later in the game, you will also be able to use Icarus’ wings to glide Kratos around. The puzzle aspect this time around is a little more complex. So if you are looking for just a carnage button masher with little puzzle solving, as with the first, then you might want to stay away from this one. With each level you slash your way through, the puzzles get just a little harder. Not to say that they are unbeatable, these puzzles solidify Kratos’ claim to an action / adventure game instead of a strict button masher.