God of War II Review

by Paul Govan October 29, 2007 @ 12:33 am

This is a game that could easily have graced the PS3 as a launch title. Instead the lucky old PS2 got the delights of its triple A visuals and stellar gameplay. This is a game that looks to be the final high tide mark for Sony’s second games machine. The game comes as the follow up to the already popular first game from 2005. Apart from stunning graphics, God of War has become famous fro plundering a variety of Greek myths. In particular it follows the anger doused flight of Kratos, as he goes looks to reek vengeance on anyone within range.

But this is not a game that rests heavily on its story, or makes to big a deal of narrative; it is all about the action. And the action is mostly about the killing. All manner of creatures and beast come under Kratos’ sword from Minotaurs to Cyclopes to Zombies. There are also plenty of other protagonists from Greek mythology to beef up the cast.

Although this is essentially more of the same from the first God of War, the violence and variety of interactions has received a considerable amount of attention. To this end the controls themselves have also been beefed up somewhat. There are now increased combinations to enable you a more varied path through the action. Although at first you appear to just be mashing buttons, as the game progresses you realise that to achieve the really substantial combinations you need a more nuanced approach to the play.

The general slash ’em up stick and button controls are complemented by some extraordinarily impressive stop action sequences. These blend seamlessly with the main run of play and require the player to press certain sequences of buttons to trigger a variety of outlandish moves to bring down the larger enemies and level bosses.

Visually, God of War II is a sumptuous feast. It really is quite incredible how much horsepower the developer has managed to squeeze out of the PS2. As you mentioned earlier this is really the pinnacle of the PS2 life cycle, and it is great to see development so committed to the hardware in its Twighlight years. It takes quite awhile to take in everything that is happening on the screen. Not only are the foreground encounters rendered in bright and beautiful detail, but the backgrounds have a real sense of depth to them. The whole ensemble works together to totally engage the player with the action.

The sounds, music and voice work also get in on the act and pad out this already excellent experience. Various moves and actions are accompanied by some suitably gruff voice acting, and the whole package is wrapped up with some Athenian themed music. Whilst we rarely have cause to mention a game’s musical qualities, here the review wouldn’t be complete without highlighted how the audio in God of War II really manages to add to the game as a whole.

Overall, this is a brash bright and straight forward beat ’em up that will keep you busy for many hours. Whilst it doesn’t have the depth or contemplative mood of Shadow of the Colossus, it certainly revels in its imponderable juvenile violence. It doesn’t try and provide an excuse for the action, back it really does stand on its own merits. The icing on the cake is the fact that God of War II is so repayable. Not only are you able to repeat your favourite sections of the game, but you can repeat the experience as a whole on a variety of difficulty levels. Ramp things up to maximum and even the most ardent gamer will find a challenging game here.

This is a game that will long be remember, and provide a reason to keep that PS2 next to your television. It will also spur great excitement to see how they bring the franchise to the PS3, as they inevitably will.


– Cream of the PS2 visuals
– Impressive set pieces
– Improved controls

– Non stop violent action
– Shallow gameplay