Developer: Santa Monica Studio
Played on: Playstation 2
God of War II, the sequel to – what else? – God of War, has a problem. It is exactly like the previous game, only longer, so while the original is a most exciting groundbreaking game, this one doesn’t measure up.
The story is also a rehash of that in the original. Kratos, our hero, is now the God of War after he’s annihilated Ares in the previous game, and he is worshipped especially his former people, the Spartans. Kratos still has issues with his fellow Olympian deities, however, so he encourages his worshippers to go on a spree looting and burning other Greek cities. The other deities needless to say are not amused. Kratos pulls an Ares at the start of this story – the irony is not noticed by the game makers – and Zeus traps him in an ambush and slaughters Kratos. Clearly he hasn’t learned of what happens when Kratos gets sent to the Underworld – Kratos comes back with a vengeance. This time around, Kratos has the backing of the Titans, the deities’ enemies, in taking down Zeus and the Olympian pantheon. “Backing” in this case means that Kratos will have to do everything, traveling around to free various Titans from their captivity and gain skills from them while looking for the Sisters of Fate to get them to turn back time and send Kratos back to the past so that he can help the Titans win the war against Zeus and his deities.
It’s the same story. Just replace “Athena” in the description of the story in the previous game with “Gaia” and “the Temple of Pandora” with “the Temple of Fate”. The gameplay is the same since Kratos starts out using the Blade of Athena. There are an assortment of other weapons in this game to vary the gameplay – a hammer, a bow, and spear – but the Blade of Athena is still the most versatile weapon in this game. The graphics are breathtaking to see, but there is no avoiding the feeling that this game is too much of a retread. I am scaling walls again, jumping here and there again, using the same attack combos… Even the in-game sex thing is awkwardly inserted, placed in the most bizarre location when it could have been introduced in a more sensible setting, such as somewhere in the Temple of Fate. The “new” addition to the gameplay – aerial fight – is nice to behold but a disappointment, gameplay-wise, as such fights are just basic button mashing.
One notable change in the gameplay is the dumbing down of the platforming. In the previous game, platforming can be really hard, but here the platforming is mostly intuitive. As a result, this game doesn’t challenge the player to think. It’s all whack-whack-whack punctuated by some scenes where the player has to mash buttons. The monsters however are more numerous and some of the platforming in this game can be quite tedious as they involve Kratos having to rotate a lever while fending off non-stop attacks from these monsters. On the hardest difficulty, it is all but impossible to fend these creatures off without getting Kratos killed several times in the process. The game makers dumb down the game considerably while making the game more frustrating and monotonous in the process.
Needless to say, I am actually – dare I say it? – bored while playing God of War II. It would have been better, perhaps, if it has some considerable new improvements to the game rather than merely cosmetic enhancements.