Hello poppets. This review was provided by forum member Valdez_Leel. Thanks, Valdez_Leel – you are the man or woman of my and everyone’s dreams.
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DONE BY: Sony (Cory Barlog, David Jaffe)
IT’S FOR: PlayStation 2
REVIEWIN’ INDIVIDUAL: Valdez_Leel
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Being a cave-dwelling, mollycoddled PC gamer, I come to God of War II with little knowledge of the series. I know that it roughly revolves around killing things in interesting ways, makes use of some rather repetitive button mashing techniques and features a pasty faced fellow who looks like he should be fronting an Icelandic doom metal band.
The game begins with said chap behaving like a sulky brat and then acting all surprised when the other gods – specifically Zeus – bitch slap him into his rightful place, which I couldn’t help but feel was a good move on their part. Although, it doesn’t fill me with bucket loads of confidence considering that this is the same celestial administration who thought it would be a smashing idea to let some psychotic butcher enter the Olympian club in the first place.
Now God of War II is a game, would you believe it, mainly about fighting and I’m pleased to say when it focuses on this it really shines. Smooth controls, elegant animations and epic boss fights meld into an intense and truly cinematic combat experience that tests your reflexes, thinky power and button crunching endurance. I suppose there are a couple of niggling imperfections to be mentioned: The minion palette distinctly lacks variety, something which becomes painfully obvious in the second half of the game; and while God of War II introduces a number of weapons and spells to choose from, they feel a bit extraneous as they don’t provide any real advantage over the ones you start out with. However, these are minor flaws and are far from crippling.
So all in all a good game; all’s well that ends well – right?
Not all is well in the sunny, murder-ridden land of ancient Greece. There is an evil that does not sleep, or tire, or occasionally break for five and go get itself a latte. It lurks around corners, stalking, sneaking, waiting to leap out and inconvenience you at any second. You know of the evil I speak. You know its name.
You know... of puzzles.
God of War II is hampered by some of the most tiresome puzzles I have ever encountered in a game. Now, I can see that in theory the odd puzzle every now and again can serve as a breather: breaking up the intensity of the game experience and providing us a pleasant period where we can allow our minds to wander for a bit. Unfortunately no one seems to have explained to the developers of God of War II that the fun in a puzzle comes from the fabled ‘figuring out’ stage. The enjoyment is in working out that in order to proceed you have to pull the lever, raise the lift and then jam the yankable platform under the lift before it falls to the floor – not in the twenty or so minutes spent trying to execute this tedious manoeuvre.
Towards the end of the game, it seems like every other room you enter contains some annoying obstacle that’s going to take you the better part of half an hour to complete. At the end of the day what is the point of them? They’re not really challenging, they’re just fiddly: an embuggerance that the game could have easily done without.
In fact the game is filled with a lot of excess fluff that could’ve done with trimming. See Kratos fly, glide, swim, wall climb, jump, swing, run, dance, play badminton, do his tax return! Here’s a request: what about walking? Yeah I know it’s not very epic, but does getting from A to B really need to be awe-inspiring? All you’re doing half the time is using some slight variation of the movement controls. It’s not like giving me the ability to wall climb at designated areas along a linear train track bestows me with some boundless sense of freedom.
These sections are at best superfluous and occasionally a downright nuisance. A moment which particularly springs to mind is that first stupid gliding section where you have to float elegantly from platform to platform until you get safely to the other side, or, as in my case, fall helplessly like a retarded dove into the hot stinking lava until sheer bloody-minded stubbornness wins through.
God of War II is a good action game and you can have a lot of fun with it, however it’s saddled with more than a few frustrating flaws which will likely fill you with controller snapping rage at some point, and if you’re a person of delicate sanity like myself, you may find yourself exhausted by the end of it.