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February 28 2007
God of War II - PS2 Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
3/5/2007SonySCEA Santa Monica1$99.95
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Kratos slices up more enemies.
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Battles can be frantic.
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Look outside!

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Boss: Colossus of Rhodes.
God of War was a sensation. It was technically brilliant and artistically stunning. It was true must have on the PS2 if ever there was one, and will quite possibly be the systems finest hour due to the complete lack of hype prior to release (in America at least). If you don't have the game then you are truly missing out on something quite spectacular. To say that a sequel was desired by gamers would be an understatement of epic proportions.

So here we are. Almost two years after the original game was release in PAL territories and we're set to see the sequel, God of War II. The good news is that we won't be waiting over three months as was the case with the original, but only a couple of weeks after the American release.

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Kratos can still swing!
The story in this second game continues on that from the first (although gamers shouldn't be put off if they haven't played the first title). God of War saw Kratos, a mortal warrior, set up an epic quest to dethrone a god. But his journey did not end there. In God of War II Kratos sits atop his Olympus throne, as the new God of War - far more ruthless then Ares ever was. To end his continued torment, Kratos must journey to the far reaches of the earth and defeat untold warriors and alter that which no mortal or god has ever changed, his fate. God of War II sets an epic stage for a devastating mythological war to end all wars.

When you have a game that averages 93.2% from over 100 reviews there really isn't too much reason to change the formula, and SCEA Santa Monica aren't changing the formula, just the mix. The game is still a third person title with plenty of platforming and hack and slash action. Kratos is equipped with several weapons including the Blades of Athena which allows him to perform many of the moves from the original game as well as several new ones. Another weapon is the Hammer of Souls which can summon the dead souls of Hades, and two more - the Spear of Destiny and the Blade of Olympus - both of which are still shrouded in mystery.

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Get ready to feel the pain..
Kratos does have three main power ups to collect in the game (slight spoiler ahead). The first is the Amulet of the Fates which slows down time for a certain amount of time when in range of a fate statue. The second is the Wings of Icarus which allows Kratos to glide over distances with a set of wings on his back while the third is Golden Fleece which allows the reflection of projectiles and reduces the damage from melee attacks.

Sony Australia has confirmed that the Australian (and European) version will also include the bonus disc with a tonne of God of War II behind the scenes videos. In total there is well over an hour, and approaching two, of video footage showing all stages of development.

Graphically this game looks spectacular - and even surpasses the original game by a fair margin which is impressive given the original's outstanding quality. The enemies are wonderfully detailed and animated while Kratos has a wide range of new moves which look wonderful. A perfect example of how well the developers have done is see in the first major boss battle - that against the Colossus of Rhodes (Which you can see in several of these screenshots). The Colossus of Rhodes destroys the city as you race through and on top of the buildings while only pausing to activate the triggered events (remember those where you have to hit the correct button at precise moments when they appear on screen to inflict damage). Now we must also point out that some readers have mentioned that God of War II runs at 720p on the PS3. This is an incorrect rumour posted by IGN - it is not true. Having said that, with the PS3 in Europe emulating PS2 games in software it is theoretically possible that this scaling could be included - at this stage there is absolutely no confirmation though.

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Now that's a great enemy.
Yet again Linda Hunt (Relic, Kindergarten Cop) is the narrator in the game and while unconfirmed we believe that Terrence 'T.C.' Carson (U-571, Final Destination 2) will voice Kratos yet again. Music is yet again being composed by Gerard K. Marino and Michael A. Reagan who worked on the original title.

So what more can we say about God of War II that doesn't give away some of the big surprises - and there are certainly some of those in store. Naturally there is a slight disappointment that God of War II is being developed for the PS2 rather then the PS3, but we can live with that with the game looking superior to many so called 'next-gen' titles. Given that there are now about 110 million PS2 owners compared to 2-3 million PS3 owners it's also an understandable economic decision on Sony's part with SCEA Santa Monica able to max out the PS2 hardware and provide the best gameplay rather then spending time developing an entirely new engine for PS3. Mark May 5 2007 on your calendar - God of War II is an essential purchase - no doubt about it.
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Kratos spills more enemy blood.
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Effects are pretty special.
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More Colossus of Rhodes battle.