God of War II: Last gen ends when we say so


Jul 19, 2002
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God of War II Hands-on
We play through the opening moments of the game and fight something 300 times our size.

by Chris Roper

January 12, 2007 - While the PlayStation 2 is showing its last signs of life, it still has one very big trick up its sleeve. The original God of War was a unanimously praised title, and one that easily ranks as one of the greatest action games ever released (and my personal favorite). Sony's Santa Monica Studios managed to perfectly blend Greek mythology with its own lead character and storyline to create one of the most intimidating characters ever to hit a console. With God of War II, Kratos is set to take a break from his throne and rein dominance upon the gaming world once again.

We had a chance to play through the first section of the game just yesterday and to say that we were impressed would be a bit of an understatement. What we saw was perfectly in line with what we experienced in the E3 demo back in May - the set pieces are bigger than ever, Kratos is still really, really pissed off and the game looks to be about as epic as possible. Even though we've barely scratched the surface, it's hard not to claim God of War II will be a contender for the best PS2 game yet.


The game opens with Kratos sitting upon his throne. Some of his soldiers are destroying a city as he overlooks their progress in a pool of water. The god of war decides that they aren't doing as much damage as they could be inflicting and descends upon the town as a giant, identical to how we saw Ares destroying the city at the beginning of the original game. After a warning from someone who appears to be Athena and for unknown reasons, Kratos is stripped of his godly powers and left standing as a mortal (but still incredibly powerful) man in the middle of the city. This is where the game actually starts and you wrap your hands around the game's still-perfect combat mechanics.

There are plenty of questions left unanswered with the game's opening as we're told that the sequel will use the same flashback story techniques as the original. As the first game garnered our pick for 2005's best story, we'll take this bit of info with a smile on our faces.


When Kratos is cut down to size, so to speak, a giant colossus statue is brought to life and quickly begins attempting to take out our anti-hero. As you make your way through the city, his hands will rip through the environment as he makes large swipes at you, blocking some paths and opening others. It's obvious from the get-go that God of War II's scale and set pieces are bigger and more involving than last time, if you can believe that.

The battle with the colossus takes place over the course of the entire first level. You'll have a number of "small" battles with him, sometimes winning and pushing him back and sometimes losing and getting tossed across the level. The first meeting sees him throwing dead bodies at you as if they were a collection of pebbles. After stunning him and tossing yourself at his enormous head, you make a couple quick slashes before you're tossed away. Meeting up with him again near a set of docks, you need to stun him and climb up his arm to do a bit more damage. At one point his foot comes crashing through the level, and you need to quickly catch it and toss him back. It's a long, back-and-forth battle that we haven't seen the end of yet, but promises to not disappoint. It's a seriously intense opening, to say the least.

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Though you lose your godly powers at the game's start, you aren't empty handed. You still have the Blades of Athena and the Rage of Poseidon magic, so you're actually starting off a little better equipped than you were last time out. A number of new magic types will become available over the course of the game, including some sort of electrical magic that you'll obtain from Kronos. You can manually place up to three of them at any time and they'll continuously cause electrical damage from their spot. You're able to use them to essentially tie down enemies or line them up to cause damage to a boss, for example.

You'll come across three different weapons in the game, not including the Blades of Athena. One will be the Barbarian King's hammer that you'll earn from defeating him which can summon undead warriors to fight for you, somewhat similar to the tormented souls magic from the first game. Each weapon will be individually upgradeable, and you can swap between one of them and your blades mid-combo at the touch of a button to deal extra damage.


Should you need a little extra help through the game, a number of unlockable mini-games are at your disposal. Challenge of the Gods has returned, along with a new battle mode that lets you put whatever creatures you want into an arena to fight. Both of these now tie directly into your save game, so if you go and earn some red orbs in any of the extra modes, you'll have them when you load back up your main game. This allows you to upgrade your character outside of the game in case you get stuck on a really tricky part, as well as provide a more cohesive feel to the whole package.

The Challenge of the Gods has been tweaked a bit since last time out. It's still said to be incredibly difficult, but the rules have changed a bit. For one, each challenge now has some sort of ranking system attached to it, allowing you to pass the challenge if you complete the lowest ranking, while still giving you the biggest rewards for perfecting the challenge. As well, you'll be able to save your progress after each challenge. Nope, you won't have to leave your system on for days at a time anymore, thankfully.

While you were rewarded with some rather cool costumes for completing the Challenge of the Gods in the first game, this time you'll earn various urns to give you power. These will let you mix and match upgrades while also allowing you to put on your favorite costume so that you're not "stuck" with one set of armor. And as an added bonus, once you've beaten the game you'll be able to jump in at the same or lower difficulty setting and play through again with everything you've already collected.


One thing that was great about the overall package last time out was all of the included bonus material. God of War II will up the ante a bit when it ships as a two-disc set. No, this isn't the collector's edition (there won't be one) but the standard edition. The second disc will include a number of bonuses including a full-length, behind-the-scenes documentary that was filmed over the entirety of the game's development, starting with the very first playtest. Cool stuff indeed.

God of War II is very near completion and will ship on March 13th. If you're one of the 100 million folks who own a PlayStation 2, you owe it to yourself to keep an eye on this one and some spare cash in your wallet. For now, check out our media page for new screenshots and movies, and especially our video interview with director Cory Barlog.

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Low Res [url='http://media.ps2.ign.com/media/811/811719/vid_1785123.html]High Res[/url]


There is no way....NO WAY IN HELL I am missing this one.
I love the first one to DEATH.
The U.S. boxart is #2.

Hopefully this won't look like crap on the PS3 B/C... since I heard of those games looking like real ****.
Well, I'm getting rid of my PS2 if this Guitar controller adapter works.
awesome... i can't wait for this game. the first one was one of the best games ever, and this one looks to up the ante in just about every way.
this game looks sik, and i cant wait till i get it, 2 more months!

i want those kratos figures as well.
The U.S. boxart is #2.

Hopefully this won't look like crap on the PS3 B/C... since I heard of those games looking like real ****.
yeah,...well hopefully the programmers can fix the problems since the game is still in development to make sure it looks good on the PS3. Either that or, you know, Sony sends out a patch (but I would bet on the programmers doing something before Sony).

This game does indeed look kick ass and I love that there isn't a collector's edition but it all comes standard. It refreshing to know that when Jaffe says he makes games to be their best and not to just make money that he isn't just spouting bull****.

*edited for Fran*
Dude, are you saying "teh" just to pretend to be l33t? :-/
It could be a typo. :p

Anyway they have had the PS3 in mind so hopefully they account for the filtering issue and bypass it somehow.


#2 - It's Being HD Optimized: As many players have upgraded to HDTVs since the original God of War shipped, God of War 2's programming team has spent quite a bit of time on making sure the game looks solid if players run it in high definition. "We're aware that there's a lot more HDTVs in the marketplace than there necessarily was a couple years ago," says Moss. "We spent a lot of time on making the resolution a bit higher, making sure art looks really nice on TVs, progressive scan -- all that kind of stuff."

The game looks insane, it shouldn't be possible on the PS2. Even with the apparently Crappy feed from IGN with all the coloring messed up, look at the snow level or any of the footage, WOW.

Seriously this game looks like it's going to haveeverything that made God of War great , but like on jesus mode.

Do you live in the U.S.?

For some reason, I thought you lived in the U.K. :huh:
Just watched the interview up on IGN, and the whole giant statue thing is such an amazing concept. Looks so epic.
Dude, are you saying "teh" just to pretend to be l33t? :-/
No, I'm just an idiot. i was typing in the dark and I suck at typing anyway, which is not a good combo. Usually I look back and correct smaller posts, but didn't on this one.

Seeing not washed out footage of this game will be godly.
Thank God it's being HD optimized, so it'll work swell on the PS3.

But GH1 and 2 better work :cmad:
This is a maybe.

The first one was good, except for the underworld and the clone fight. I hated both.

I still haven't beaten the clones, and I honestly don't care to now.
This is a maybe.

The first one was good, except for the underworld and the clone fight. I hated both.

I still haven't beaten the clones, and I honestly don't care to now.

so you haven't even beaten the game? dude, you have to do it! the ending is great.

i'm really starting to wish they'd made this for the ps3. i know why they didn't, but damn, this would have made one hell of a lauch title.

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