Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Nov 192018

After finishing the original God of War last month, my marathon through the God of War Saga continued with its sequel.

When we last saw Kratos, he’d reluctantly become the new god of war, still plagued by nightmares of his past. War must have given him some measure of solace, though, since God of War II begins with Kratos leading Sparta into battle… and apparently he’s done this sort of thing so much, the other gods have had enough.

Zeus tricks him into surrendering his power and then kills him, but the Titan Gaia saves Kratos and sends him on a quest to gain the power of the Fates so he can travel back and time to the moment before Zeus betrayed him.

Click for God of War II spoilers
Zeus makes some exceptionally poor decisions here. Since Kratos is his son, he’s afraid he’ll eventually kill him like Zeus killed his own father… so he betrays him, stabs him, and then wipes out Sparta.

Because it worked out so well for the last god who caused the deaths of people Kratos cared about. Self-fulfilling prophecy there, Zeus.

You know, maybe making the god-killer plagued by horrible nightmares a god himself was a bad idea…

Now, the narrative here isn’t as tight as in the original. I praised the original’s story for how much it felt like a Greek tragedy, but the story in God of War II doesn’t have that same focus.

God of War felt like it could fit right in with Greek mythology, while God of War II feels like a retread of the same basic premise (Kratos goes through trials and challenges to obtain a power that will let him kill a god) with a bunch of mythological figures thrown in. Figures from Greek mythology just kept showing up, and while there’s certainly an in-game reason, it felt a bit like they just wanted to make sure you knew this was Greek mythology.

(There’s also a kraken, for some reason.)

On the other hand, the ending was pretty epic and not what I was expecting at all.

Click for God of War II spoilers
I almost objected to Kratos not using his new time travel abilities to fix his own messed up past, but then I read a post discussing time paradoxes and how the flashback showing the defeat of the Titans shows the blue light seen in the ending, implying that Kratos always traveled back in time to retrieve the Titans.

That is a really cool touch and makes me appreciate the overall story more.

…Although it also contributes to my doubts about the gods’ intelligence if no one noticed or cared that some of the Titans just disappeared when defeated. Did Zeus think he vaporized them?

Also, I’m a bit suspicious of how Gaia said they were waiting for Kratos… makes me think that their entire “go back in time to stop Zeus” was just a ploy to get him to bring them to the present.

Now, in terms of gameplay, I enjoyed God of War II much more. Combat felt smoother and faster, the same basic system but more polished. And while it still had platforming, it didn’t get close to the nightmarish challenges from the first game.

(Oh, and best of all, no more mashing R2!)

There were also many, many more boss fights than in the original.

What surprised me this time was how much time I spent reflecting attacks back at enemies, especially later in the game, which some bosses that pretty much required it. Zelda games are fond of this, but I didn’t expect it in God of War.

Overall, I found God of War II to be stronger in terms of gameplay, but weaker in terms of story.

What do you think about God of War II?

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  7 Responses to “God of War II: More Revenge, Less Tragedy”

  1. I remember thinking it looked gorgeous when it came out and it felt epic during some parts, but that screenshot tells a different story of the graphics. x’D

    • It’s always funny to go back and take a look at an old game and realize that its graphics look much, much better in your memory than they do in reality. XD I think the title screen there has an odd effect because of the close-up, though.

  2. It is so weird and funny. I even remember being blown away by FF7’s graphics when that first came out..xD
    You’re right, looking at other pictures it’s actually not too bad looking. Not stunning like it was in my memory, but not bad!

  3. […] last time we saw Kratos (chronologically, since Chains of Olympus is a prequel), he’d brought the Titans forward […]

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