22 June 2007 | lukalele
More of this please
I don't like to give 10s, to me 10 out of 10 suggests perfection. Well, if there's anything that comes close, it's this game. I'm a huge fan of the first game, and as a seasoned gamer I can honestly say that the first level of the first game and the battle with the Hydra is one of my most memorable gaming experiences. The moment where Kratos is climbing the rope ladder on his way to take on the last (and easily biggest) Hydra head as the music beats out a score that is on par with some of John Williams' creations and as you climb you follow the neck going up... and up... and up... I was totally blown away. The scene was set perfectly, and the action throughout the rest of the game never let up. You'd think nothing can get more epic than the cinematic brilliance of God of War. Needless to say, I couldn't wait for number 2. Have they outdone themselves? Most certainly.
Kratos is an evil guy. No doubt about it. He has to be, because it really makes you believe that he's tough and stubborn enough to take on everything that he comes up against, even death... with a bit of help, of course. Bottom line - you don't want to cross him, or he'll make you pay. Never during this game will you be saying 'yeah right, he could never beat that', Kratos is a guy who is tirelessly fueled by being wronged and getting revenge at any cost. How can one man (former God, granted) take down the divinely-animated and superpowered Colossus of Rhodes? This is what makes him one of the most fun characters to play in any video game, ever. Each time you battle something, anything, in the game, from the smallest foe to the hugest behemoth, you know you're getting your money's worth. Just like the first game, almost every battle will end in a violent, totally brutal cinematic as Kratos dispatches anything that dares challenge him in the most horrible way you can think of, and it's these sequences that give the game its greatest strength. I never tire of seeing a hapless demon-type thing get it's own axe-wielding arm ripped off and said axe, still being held by said arm, impaling the demon's head... and this is only a very minor, quite common cinematic.
All the spectacular moves from the first game are here, with some entertaining new weapons and awesome new Godly powers thrown in, and all can be upgraded to make them more versatile and powerful, and the good thing is, they are all useful and fun. On the harder difficulty settings the game can become quite tactical, especially during the boss fights, as each one is fought in several stages until you finally wear the boss down and the final cinematic onslaught can begin. Victory can come down to what power you use, and when, along with how you manage your power meters, which is very refreshing in a pure action game like this. Sure you can use the same moves over and over, and the trusty Athena's Blades are probably still the most useful weapon in the game, but hopefully you'll find this won't get you as far as you'd think and also, where's the fun? The sound is incredible, fully digital 5.1 surround supported. If you have the means, this is definitely what you want the game to be running on. Each slash and swing of the blades and earth shaking crash and thump are spot-on, and the utterly impressive music score effortlessly complements the action and the epic scale of the game. Graphics are top notch, much more polished than the first game (can you believe it?), and really show what the PS2 can do. The environments are huge and immensely detailed - the camera angles, the jaw-dropping scenery... this is cinematic gaming at its best. I know I keep using that word - cinematic, but that's the best word to describe the game in it's entirety. All the characters are equally detailed and beautifully animated. Kratos himself moves with much more fluidity than the first game. This game definitely would not look out of place on the PS2's bigger brother as it stands at the moment, and that's really saying something. You can run the game on a PS3 and while this does give the graphics a noticeable boost, especially on a HD TV, the differences are negligible and the game still looked ridiculously awesome running with my PS2 and my 80cm curved-screen (yes, not even flat-screen) CRT TEAC. A bigger screen definitely helps, and with a game as epic as this, it's definitely a case of the bigger the better.
As with the first, the game's creators' passion for making such a memorable game really shines through, as does their passion for the classical mythology on which the game is based, and yes, I'm a big fan of that too. They really do it justice. You can tell they loved every second of making this game, and they should be very proud of their achievement. Kratos only knows what they're gonna do with the power of the PS3 to work with for the third instalment, though while after playing through and seeing the end of this game you might (like me) be shouting 'BRING ON THE THIRD", let's hope they take their time to make something even more special. After what they've done with this game on the now pre-generation PS2, it definitely should be.