Another game of the year in the making.
http://ps2.ign.com/articles/705/705546p3.htmlGod of War was one of those games that was undeniably brilliant. Everything from its spot-on control and combat system to its perfect art design and classic story set the bar for action games to come. But God of War was really only the first act in a much larger story, one that Sony's Santa Monica studio will continue with God of War II. We had a chance to see any early look at the game as director Cory Barlog took the reigns and walked us through an early section of the sequel. And just to skip to the point, yes, it looks like Santa Monica has done it again.
God of War II's story picks up right where the last game left off, with Kratos having been newly appointed the God of War. Of course, the gods aren't the most noble of beings and some order of foul play soon happens with Kratos ultimately ending up betrayed in some fashion, forcing the anti-hero to journey to the end of the world in order and seek out the Sisters of Fate. Details of the story are rather sketchy beyond this, though we do know that Athena will once again play a major role in the game, even more so than in the original we're told. As well, various Greek heroes will make appearances throughout the game in a story that's said to be even darker than the original.
The demo begins with one of the very first sections of the game where we find Kratos upon the back of a Pegasus, making his way towards an island at the edge of the world to seek out the Three Sisters. Heavy clouds obscure the view below at the start, but soon they begin to part and the massive island in the ocean below begins to come into view. It's unveiling is an awesome sight to behold and the first hint at things to come.
Though he's riding atop a Pegasus, the combat here looks to be nearly identical to what you'll find on the ground. A few demonic creatures atop gryphons soon catch up with Kratos and begin swarming about, trying to knock him off his winged transport. Lashing out with his blades (of Chaos or Athena's, we're not sure, as Sony is a little hesitant to make perfectly clear), Kratos takes them out one by one while his mount does the flying. As one demon remains, the Circle button icon appears denoting one of the series' contextual action sequences that you may recognize from the first trailer. Triggering it causes Kratos to leap over to the gryphon, impale the demon numerous times with his blades and then toss him through the clouds. And then in an entirely suicidal manner, Kratos cuts off one of the gryphon's wings just for the hell of it, then leaps towards the island hundreds (if not thousands) of feet below. Nice work Sony Santa Monica - this is exactly the way to start the sequel to our 2005 Game of the Year.
he demo then skips forward just a bit in time and we find Kratos on the island as he heads towards Medusa's temple. We're told the island features numerous different locales and environment types, but this section is rather rocky and rundown, looking as if no civilized creature has made its home here in some time. We're immediately introduced to a few of the game's new mechanics, like one of Kratos' new magical powers that gives him an ethereal bow for ranged combat. Quickly popping off arrow after arrow, a handful of demons are quickly dispatched as Kratos heads down a rocky opening. The path ends at a short ledge where we see a few pillars lined up against the ledge that support a short platform. Undead bowmen on the support rain down arrows towards Kratos, but rather than firing back with his own magic bow, he runs forward and grabs hold of one of the pillars, ripping it from the ground and sending the bowman just above to the earth below. A few quick lashings with his blades sends the demon back to hell before Kratos continues to rip apart the structure with his bare hands and take out the other creatures. There's no denying that Kratos is still one bad-ass SOB.
Upon arriving at the door to Medusa's temple, a few undead skeletons arise from the stony floor, one of the new enemy types in the game. They didn't appear to be much of a challenge as they sort of lingered forward slowly with sword in tow, but we imagine that just as was the case in the first game, these were weaker variants of skeletal enemies yet to come.
The door to Medusa's temple is covered in a giant cutaway of her head, snake-laden hair and all. It's her eyes that get you though, and approaching the door causes the familiar green rays to emit from the stone. It won't be so easy getting in, so Kratos heads off to look for the answer. Heading over to the right side of the temple, a small structure in the distance encases some sort of chest, but a rather large amount of lava separates Kratos from his prize. Heading to the left of the doorway, and towards another stone building, the camera pans up a bit to reveal a soldier fighting off a handful of creatures. He calls for Kratos' help, so assuming that the mortal will provide a clue of some sort, Kratos heads inside.
At one point in his journey on the way up, Kratos comes across another river of lava that he needs to cross, but this time there are a few circular contraptions that act as action puzzles. To the left is a waterfall of lava and to the right the river drops off again at another waterfall. Chains hold each of the floating, circular platforms to the base of the waterfall on the left and keep them from going over on the right. A crank on each of the platforms allows Kratos to spin them and pull one closer to the next, allowing him to jump to the next and be one step closer to the other side of the river, but demons continue to appear and prevent this from being an easy task. It's quite straightforward, but it looks to be a cool bit of a "puzzle" in that you'll need to rotate the discs until the very last second (as they'll unwind over time), take out the enemies as quickly as possible and then continue rotating.
A short bit later we're introduced to another new set of enemies, ones much more vicious than the skeletons. Three short mutants appear, each wielding dual-axes and capable of performing slashing spin attacks, moves that look like they're ripped right out of Kratos' book of attacks. A large Cyclops quickly appears and climbs over the nearby ledge, and one of the three mutants runs over to him and violently climbs upon its back by first slashing one of his axes into its shoulder to use as leverage. This action is dynamic in a sense in that just as Kratos is able to yank the mutant from the Cyclops' back, another is then capable of climbing upon it again to direct its attacks.
he contextual killing sequence for the Cyclops is extremely brutal in that Kratos first uses its knee as a stepladder, stabs it in the chest for leverage, climbs up a bit higher and violently rips out its single eye. This is an important note as Santa Monica has changed the power-up collection scheme for God of War II. In the first game, you'd collect hidden Gorgon eyes or Phoenix feathers to increase your health and magic. In the sequel, these collectible items are more closely tied to the game world in that you'll rip them straight from enemies. In the case of the Cyclops, performing the extended killing sequence and ripping out its eye will net you one of these collectibles.
Another new and rather large enemy that we saw was in the form of a giant demonic creature with horns, short hind legs and long arms. It looks extremely similar to the minotaur from the Challenge of Hades sequence in the first game, except that it's made up of fire and rocks. In fact, the creature actually appears to be a pile of large rocks and simply part of the environment as you approach it, quickly surprising you as it stands up and begins to attack. As Kratos takes it down, he latches onto its shoulder with one of his blades, runs around and climbs upon his back, stabbing him violently with both blades a little below the neck. Jumping over his shoulder as he spins, Kratos again thrusts both blades into the beast's chest and then a second time before backflipping off of the creature as it dies. Cool stuff to be sure.
After finally making his way to the soldier, he finds the warrior mortally wounded but capable of providing one last clue to entering Medusa's temple - the Golden Fleece. As Kratos works back out of this area and towards the entrance to the temple, he comes to a tight passage that's blocked by a somewhat large but moveable stone block. Pushing it through the hole and exiting, he's back just outside of Medusa's temple again, but with the large stone block in possession.
A large outdoor structure is nearby and situated on the edge of the lake of lava, its architecture made up of a set of pillars holding up a large roof. It's essentially a smaller version of the Parthenon, measuring what looks like roughly 30 by 50 feet or so. The structure happens to be a tad off-balance, confirmed by pushing one stone block already inside the building towards the edge overhanging the lava. By moving the second stone block over there as well, the structure tilts just enough for Kratos to get his fingers under the opposite edge. Mashing R2 to lift the structure, Kratos dumps the whole thing into the lava, its mangled roof acting as a bridge to attain the Golden Fleece. The Fleece can then be used to deflect Medusa's gaze and enter the temple, but that's where our demo ended.
It'll hopefully be obvious after having read this, but suffice it to say that God of War II looks fantastic and promises to be as worthy of a sequel as we could have wished. There are a number of other new additions to the game that we haven't yet had a chance to see, like the inclusion of Icarus wings, but we'll have to wait with abated breath for that.
One of the biggest questions that always comes up when talking about the game is why Sony decided it was best to release God of War II on the PS2 rather than on the PS3. The main reasoning behind this is based around technology and tools in that the Santa Monica team didn't want to have to reinvent the wheel and spend a year or more to get an engine up and running that had as many features (and ease of use) as the current GoW engine. The team says that many of the features cut from the first game were done so because the ability to properly implement them came too late in the first game's development. Now that they're able to take a polished engine and build from there, the team is able to bring Kratos' world to life in ways that weren't possible last time around. And really, with a team that's able to push the system as far as it can go coupled with impeccable art direction, we're not complaining one bit.
God of War II is currently slated for release in February of 2007, though we'll be able to get our hands on the game this week at E3, so stay tuned for an update on one of the PS2's most highly-anticipated games.
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Pre-E3 2006: God of War II Impressions
this is already posted in the specific god of war II thread
Add me in PSN if you're from here. PSN ID: cmaranhao
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[-] Portal 2 Announced
Gameinformer today revealed the first glimpses of a Portal sequel on the cover of the upcoming April edition of the magazine. The magazine's site promises "new game play mechanics, storyline, and some surprising new twists." and the covers reveal possible new environments/settings for the new game.
As of now details are scarce, but we will keep you updated as this story develops.
Source/CoversBetween a Box, a Cube, and a Staion you Play on, I think it's clear which choice is best...
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Re: [READY] Portal 2 Announced
Ben, this game is only in development for for PC and Xbox 360 according to the latest developments on VG247 - http://www.vg247.com/2010/03/05/valve-c ... -portal-2/
Also, given Valve's recent comments about PS3, it is not likely they will be releasing this for the platform any time soon.*Kiss My X Box Flavoured Ass*
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Re: [-] Portal 2 Announced
Sorry about that. I've been a little out of the loop since Friday, when did they announce the platforms for the game?Between a Box, a Cube, and a Staion you Play on, I think it's clear which choice is best...
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