GOD OF WAR II
Kratos takes his furious fate into his own hands in one of PS2’s greatest sequels
Bigger. Badder. Balder? Okay, so Kratos is exactly as short in the scalp department in this epic sequel as he was in his original Greek tale. Forget the Spartan’s lacking locks, though. When you can deliver an epic action-adventure that’s this effortlessly thrilling, wonderfully paced, and memorably murderous, no-one cares if you make Homer Simpson look like a Fun House-era Pat Sharp. That God Of War II is still so fondly remembered speaks volumes for its ability to conjure incredible set-piece spectacle quite unlike anything else on PS2. It’s even more impressive when you consider Sony Santa Monica’s sequel hit shelves on 13 March 2007, a mere ten days before PlayStation 3 arrived in Europe. Thanks to those early PS3 launch models offering backwards compatibility, gamers who bought Sony’s expensive baby on day one had one hell of a killer quest to make up for the £425 their tattered wallets had just dropped.
God Of War II isn’t just one of the most ambitious games ever to hit PS2, it easily outclassed every PS3 launch title when it came to sheer scale. Kratos’ quest to slay the Sisters Of Fate feels far more sweeping than the revenge-obsessed original. The vast variety of continually evolving
“YOU’RE THROWN INTO THE CHAOS OF SIEGE WARFARE AS RHODES BURNS ALL AROUND YOU.”
environments helps sell an almost peerless sense of distance travelled and time elapsed.
Kratos’ first sequel remains the most satisfyingly paced entry in the series precisely because it’s always on the move. As he chases down the Sisters in an effort to rewind time to a point before Zeus’ early, chilling betrayal, the slaughtering Spartan takes in all manner of eclectic Greek sights. Being thrown into the chaos of siege warfare as Rhodes burns all around you in an electrifying opener; riding the legendary Pegasus through snowsmothered caverns as the mighty Titan Typhon blows you around like an annoyed mayfly; braving the Bog Of The Forgotten; and slaying Euryale (a super-sized Gorgon) in a battle that shames the first game’s Medusa smackdown – God Of War II simply never lets up.
The bosses are spectacular, too. While the first GOW impressed with its herculean Hydra fight, there are really only three proper boss battles in the game. In contrast, the sequel has 11 epic encounters. Whether shredding the tentacles of the Kraken, stoving the Barbarian King’s beardy mug in with a massive hammer, or eviscerating the often-invisible Perseus, GOW II’s bosses showcase some fabulously fatal throwdowns. And that’s without mentioning the opening fight against the Colossus Of Rhodes. Both a tremendous tutorial and a sly tip of the cap to Jason And The Argonauts and its amazing Harryhausen-animated Talos scene, the Colossus fight remains one of PlayStation’s greatest-ever boss battles. It’s not just the enemies that are epic; God Of War II is obsessed with outsizing its predecessor wherever you look. Be it using the Steeds Of Time (four preposterously-sized ponies) to pull an actual island, or revelling in a 10 minute-long, oh-so-exhilarating aerial dogfight against an armada of griffins, GOW II plays out on such a scale, it makes the original look downright small-time in comparison. All of this extraordinary action is especially encouraging for the forthcoming God Of War on PS4. After all, this was the first time Cory Barlog oversaw an entry in the series, and the game director is back at the helm once again for Kratos’ Nordic quest. If the upcoming reboot recreates the same magical spectacle of GOW II, Dad Of War is gonna kick all the ass.
FORMAT PS2 RELEASED 2007 PUB SONY DEV SONY
The angriest man – well, demigod – in gaming returns, with only one thing on his mind.
These soldiers are easy to kill, and Kratos doesn’t feel the need to keep their peepers.
Take out a Cyclops Berserker’s knee, then go for the eye. Kratos collects their eyes.