God of War 2? More like God of Awesome 2.

GRR KRATOS IS ANGRY

I was one of the naysayers when the original God of War hit shelves 2 years ago.  For all of the game’s stellar production values, I just could not love the game.  The combat was pretty shallow, the pacing was way off, and main character Kratos just had too much generic rage emanating from every pore.

God of War started off pretty awesome, with an epic fight on a ship against a massive Hydra.  Unfortunately, the game could not maintain these heights, as it quickly devolved into a cycle of puzzle solving and droll combat against mindless minions.  The next boss fight came about 7 hours after the first one, and sucked badly.  I got within a couple hours of the endgame and then shelved the game for 2 years.

After seeing videos and hearing impressions of God of War 2, I suddenly became interested in David Jaffe’s baby born from bastardized Greek mythology once again.   I was promised more boss fights and better combat.  I preordered the game and decided to finally finish God of War.  After a Sunday afternoon spent climbing out of Hades and hugging Kratos’ loved ones, I arrived at the conclusion to God of War, relatively indifferent to the game as a whole.

And yet I love God of War 2.  Sure the story is atrocious, the voice acting is hilarious, and the combat still can’t even begin to touch Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden.  Sure Kratos is a completely unsympathetic asshole and he probably deserves any horrible fate that can be dealt to him.  Sure the gameplay still uses a bit too many QTE (Quick Time Events) where you basically have to follow on screen button prompts to pass specific scenarios.  Despite all of those shortcomings, the game is a fantastic piece of work.

First off, the game looks phenomenal in progressive scan.  The graphics are really sharp and colors pop from the screen.  There were times where I was nearly fooled into thinking I was playing a next gen game.  The level design is quite good, as it was in the original.  Sound-wise the game has that same epic score that fans of the original game will find instantly familiar.

The game is drenched in amazing presentation, but it’s that core gameplay that really makes God of War 2 special.  God of War 2 is similar to its predecessor in that it starts off with an epic encounter with a towering foe.  However, whereas God of War chose to meander for 75% of the game after the opening area, God of War 2 really starts picking up steam.  The game has far better pacing than God of War, throwing tons of QTE events, boss fights, and traps at you to keep you enthralled.  You rarely get a chance to catch your breath in God of War 2, as it always feels like another heart-stopping event is right around the corner.

I’m about 10 hours into the game at this point, and right now this game is on pace to be the top title for me in 2007 (yes, it’s early).  If the game suddenly takes a shit, I’ll be back with another post to rip the game.  Otherwise, this is a great game that no PS2/3 owner should be without.  If this is truly the last hurrah for the PS2, what a helluva way to end it.

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~ by theoberlander on March 19, 2007.

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