After the smash hit that was the original God Of War, Santa Monica Studios followed up with the sequel God Of War II in 2007 for the Playstation 2’s twilight years. Kratos would cement his legacy as a video game God with his second adventure. As Kratos says “I am what the gods have made me!” Let’s see what this game is made of and slash our way into this God of War II review.
God of War II Plot:
Nobody can escape their past, not even Kratos. Still haunted by the memories of slaughtering his wife and daughter, Kratos is unhappy and disobedient to the other Gods on Mount Olympus. Despite warnings from Athena, Kratos continues his rampaging ways until Zeus tricks him into giving up his powers before killing Kratos. Action games rarely have great stories, but I was happy to report in my God of War II review that this game features a great one.
On his way to the underworld, Kratos meets Gaia, a titan who reveals she once cared for Zeus as a baby before he grew up and betrayed the titan race, enslaving them for eternity. Gaia tells Kratos he can change his fate by finding the three Sisters of Fate who can alter time and prevent his death.
Kratos embarks on an epic journey after leaving the underworld. During his trip to the Island of Creation, Kratos meets several imprisoned titans who are seeking revenge against Zeus and the other Gods for their roles in the “Great War”. The titan Atlas, reveals to Kratos that the key to killing Zeus is the Blade of Olympus which Zeus used to originally kill Kratos.
When Kratos reaches the Sisters of Fate they refuse his request enraging him. Kratos fights and successfully kills all three sisters and steals the Loom of Fate, a tool used to alter time. He uses it and travels back to the point where Zeus kills him. With the Blade of Olympus Kratos strikes down Zeus nearly killing him. Athena rushes to the scene where she begs Kratos not to kill Zeus. Kratos ignores her and sends the final blow down upon Zeus, but before the blade strikes, Athena throws herself in front of it sacrificing herself and allowing Zeus to escape.
Before she dies, she tells Kratos that he is the son of Zeus and that Zeus was afraid Kratos would kill him as Zeus did to his own father. Using the Loom of Fate, Kratos travels back to the Great War and takes all the Titans with him as they descend upon Mount Olympus for vengeance. Kratos proclaims that the rule of gods is over.
God of War II Gameplay:
Similar to the first game, God of War II is a hack-and-slash platformer with small puzzles. What stood out right away is the emphasis on more puzzles and problem-solving than the original. They feel warranted and give extra content to the game, which made my God of War II review a bit longer. Instead of decapitating countless foes, which don’t get me wrong is a great time, the violence is split up into a section between killing enemies and solving rooms with puzzles.
The Blades of Chaos are back, which is a fan favorite and personal favorite of mine. Kratos will also acquire the Spear of Destiny and a giant barbarian hammer, good for squishing heads like grapes. More weapons mean more bosses, and you know I love a good boss fight. The bosses of God of War II are not only more fierce but often dwarf Kratos in size starting with the statue in the first level. The environment seems bigger too, there’s so much to explore and the atmosphere makes it believable that you are truly in ancient Greece. I found myself actively rushing through the puzzles just to see what boss I would face next but half the fun, as they say, is the journey.
Just like the first game, there are plenty of chests and secrets to power up Kratos and his weapons. Kratos will also have access to magic which comes in handy when facing multiple opponents. The combat is smooth, the bosses are fun and the exploring is addicting. All of it makes for a great game and a worthy sequel.
It took me a long time to beat God of War II. Not because it was a difficult game, but because of the bug that came with the game, unfortunately. I had the remastered HD compilation of God of War I and II for the PS3. There were no issues during my playthrough of the first game but once I got to the second, there was a rare glitch. I had the original PS3, and when you faced off against Perseus the PS3 would freeze. I reloaded my game a few times but every time, it would freeze. Eventually, after a few attempts, it completely broke my PS3 and made my system unplayable. I was not pleased, to say the least. Thankfully, my dad generously bought me a new one a week later. This PS3 was the slim version but I had reservations for fear of breaking my second PS3 so I waited a few years before returning to the series. I looked it up on some game forums, and it was a common issue for owners of the original launch PS3. There was a lot of “hush-hush” and no comment from Sony and Santa Monica on the situation that caused it but I remember it vividly. Sadly, my old PS3 never recovered and now sits in my dad’s basement broken. Thankfully, I was able to still write a God of War II review.
Aside from that terrible outcome, God Of War II was a fun game that I played through a few times over the years but I’ll always associate it with the death of my original PS3.
God of War II Review Score:
The first God of War was amazing, and the second picks up right where the original left off with an incredible story, addicting gameplay, mesmerizing environment, and memorable epic boss fights. Santa Monica Studios once again came through with a mega-hit and launched Kratos into one of the best PlayStation mascots. If you love an epic story, hack-and-slash gameplay mixed in with a few puzzles, this game is for you.
God of War II scores a 9.5 out of 10.
If you want to own God of War II for the PlayStation 2 you can purchase a preowned or a new copy between $10-$20.
What would you write in your God of War II review? Who was your favorite boss to take down? Which weapon did you enjoy the most? What are your memories from playing this game when it first came out and how does it compare to the first game? Let me know your thoughts and comments, I’d love to read them.