Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Tech: God of War 2 Review

Perhaps the PS2's swan song, "God of War 2" is a fitting sequel to the original bestselling action-adventure video game. Starring Kratos, the unbelievably tough Spartan warrior perpetually out for revenge (look up "badass" in the dictionary and Krato's picture will be there), GOW2 starts with a bang. The first level is essentially one huge setpiece battle with an animated, skyscraper-size Colossus of Rhodes, who threatens to flatten Kratos like a pancake.

The boss encounters don't stop there, though. In GOW2, you'll encounter many, many iconic characters from Greek mythology...and kill them. The controls feel tight and responsive, the graphics and sound are probably among the PS2's best efforts, and the story, while over-the-top, manages the rare feat of ending on a satisfying note while still leaving ample room for a sequel. Most importantly, the ultraviolence and dynamic presentation of the first game are here in droves.

So why the relatively low score? The combat still feels button-mashy, missing the tactical complexity from other games like "Ninja Gaiden" or "Devil May Cry." In general, Kratos is best served with using and upgrading his default, signature weapon - the whip/sword/hook-like Blades of Athena, which kind of dampens the variety of the combat. Many of the new puzzle elements are lifted wholesale from other games (like "Prince of Persia"), the puzzle design sometimes lacks the user-friendliness of other games (like Zelda), and there's a disturbing sense of deja vu when fighting almost all the non-boss enemies - they're basically exactly the same, right down to the animations.

Still though, this is probably the best game that will be released this year, and it's easily the best PS2 game in years.

Rating: 92/100


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