mrchup0n's God of War II (PlayStation 2) review

More of the same--but without the issues

 There were small things keeping God of War from being an entirely fluid experience, and yet it was still a blast to play. God of War II effectively eliminates these issues, and -- unless you've already had your fill of Square-Square-Triangle combos -- this title is one of the best overall action experiences you'll find.

God of War never prided itself on the discipline and challenge that Devil My Cry and Ninja Gaiden present. Its focus is on making sure you don't have to work incredibly hard to feel like you're unstoppable (at least on normal difficulty). What makes up for this lack of challenge, though, is the sheer entertainment value of feeling in control of every slash of your blade in creating a massive multi-hit combo that lays waste to the fools around you. You can mash the buttons all you want, but performing these wondrous feats of multi-hitting viciousness will net you more opportunities to upgrade to bigger, better, and badder special moves.

That has been the God of War credo, but what makes the adventure better this time around are the little things fixed here that held back the first adventure from being completely superb. Gone is the lame collision detection from environmental obstacles; everything feels "tight" this time around. If you got hit by a swinging blade, it's completely your fault this time. The balance beam nonsense is cut to a minimum, too. Finally, I really don't recall working against the camera this time around at all either.

What's better? More bosses. As with last time, not all of them have the epic scale of the first encounter with the Colossus of Rhodes (a multi-stage battle that takes you around and INSIDE the beast), but they are still intensely engaging even when they're as human-sized as you are. For instance, the absolute cunning of the disappearing Perseus makes for one of the most intriguing, delicious boss encounters in the franchise.

God of War II won't change the minds of those who swore off the first game's somewhat lenient action, and if you've had more than your fill, then you might not want to dive in again. That being said, God of War II is nevertheless crafted masterfully, with its niggling issues perfected, and still sports immensely satisfying action for those who like that kind of thing. When Devil May Cry and Ninja Gaiden Black are kicking you in the butt, at the very least you know you can take this one down -- and feel awesome doing it.

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