Playing as an antihero in a videogame is nothing new, but 2005's God of War was, for many, the first time they'd been asked to play an outright villain. Protagonist Kratos never made the “right” decisions, always disposing of his enemies in the cruelest ways imaginable and murdering anyone who wasn't of immediate use to him. Still, he turned out to be one of the most compelling characters we'd ever played as, so we couldn't help rooting for him as he went from being a tormented madman to being a tormented madman who was also the Greek god of war.
Of course, it also didn't hurt that the slash 'em-up he starred in was one of the most balls-out fun games on PS2, enabling players to easily and spectacularly carve up legions of nasty-looking monsters with a sublime, superhuman grace. God of War II takes everything that made that experience great and pumps it full of methamphetamine and steroids, with Kratos once again charging headlong into ridiculously dangerous settings to angrily tear apart everything he meets. The action is just as brutally satisfying as before, as Kratos uses Athena's Blades - a whiplike pair of scimitars on chains - to slice dramatic, rage-fueled arcs through hordes of enemies. And this time, there's a whole lot more of it and it rarely lets up for long.
At the same time, the game still manages to strike a perfect balance between furious action, clever environmental puzzles and awesome interactive cinemas (which range from elaborate, usually violent set pieces to simpler, hit-the-buttons-on-cue fatalities), keeping players riveted with a constant stream of new stuff. And it's all driven by a superb story that has Kratos stomping, slashing and leaping through mythological horrors to gain an audience with the three Sisters of Fate.
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