God of War II is a third person action-adventure video game developed by Santa Monica Studio and published by Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE). First released for the PlayStation 2 console on March 13, 2007, it is the second installment in the God of War series, the sixth chronologically, and the sequel to 2005's God of War. The game is loosely based on Greek mythology and set in ancient Greece, with vengeance as its central motif. The player controls the protagonist Kratos, the new God of War who killed the former, Ares. Kratos is betrayed by Zeus, the King of the Olympian Gods, who strips him of his godhood and kills him. Slowly dragged to the Underworld, he is saved by the Titan Gaia, who instructs him to find the Sisters of Fate, as they can allow him to travel back in time, avert his betrayal, and take revenge on Zeus.
God of War II has been acclaimed as one of the best PlayStation 2 and action games, and was 2007's "PlayStation Game of the Year" at the Golden Joystick Awards. In 2009, IGN listed it as the second-best PlayStation 2 game of all time, and both IGN and GameSpot consider it the "swan song" of the PlayStation 2 era. In 2012, Complex magazine named God of War II the best PlayStation 2 game of all time. It was the best-selling game in the UK during the week of its release and went on to sell 4.24 million copies worldwide, making it the fourteenth best-selling PlayStation 2 game of all time. God of War II, along with God of War, was remastered and released on November 17, 2009, as part of the God of War Collection for the PlayStation 3. The remastered version was re-released on August 28, 2012, as part of the God of War Saga, also for the PlayStation 3. A novelization of the game was published in February 2013.
Kratos, the God of War, is still haunted by nightmares of his past and is shunned by the other gods for his destructive ways. Ignoring Athena's warnings, Kratos joins the Spartan army in an attack on Rhodes, during which a giant eagle suddenly drains him of his powers and animates the Colossus of Rhodes. While battling the statue, Zeus offers Kratos the Blade of Olympus in order to defeat it, requiring Kratos to infuse the blade with the remainder of his godly power. Although now human, Kratos defeats the Colossus but is mortally wounded. The eagle reveals itself to be Zeus, who states he was forced to intervene as Athena refused to do so. Zeus then grants Kratos a final opportunity to be loyal to the gods, but Kratos refuses. Zeus kills him with the blade and destroys the Spartan army...
The protagonist of the game is Kratos (voiced by Terrence C. Carson), a Spartan warrior who became the God of War after killing the former, Ares.
Other characters include:
- Athena (Carole Ruggier), the Goddess of Wisdom
- Zeus (Corey Burton), the King of the Gods and the main antagonist
- several Titans — including Gaia (Linda Hunt), Atlas (Michael Clarke Duncan), Prometheus (Alan Oppenheimer), Typhon (Fred Tatasciore), and Cronos (Lloyd Sherr)
- heroes Theseus (Paul Eiding) and Perseus (Harry Hamlin)
- the insane Icarus (Bob Joles)
- the Gorgon Euryale (Jennifer Martin)
- an undead version of the Barbarian King (Bob Joles)
- and the Sisters of Fate — Lakhesis (Leigh-Allyn Baker), Atropos (Debi Mae West), and Clotho (Susan Silo)
Minor characters include the boat captain (Keith Ferguson) and a loyal Spartan soldier (Josh Keaton; credited as the Last Spartan). Kratos' wife Lysandra, their child Calliope, and the Titan Rhea appear in flashbacks. The gods Hades and Poseidon appear in flashbacks of the Great War, and in the final cutscene alongside Zeus and Hermes on Olympus.
God of War II is a third-person single-player video game viewed from a fixed camera perspective. The player controls the character Kratos in combo-based combat, platforming, and puzzle game elements, and battles foes who primarily stem from Greek mythology, including harpies, minotaurs, Gorgons, griffins, cyclopes, cerberuses, Sirens, satyrs, and nymphs. Other monsters were created specifically for the game, including undead legionnaires, ravens, undead barbarians, beast lords, rabid hounds, wild boars, and the army of the Fates, including sentries, guardians, juggernauts, and high priests. Many of the combination attacks used in God of War reappear, and the game features more than double the amount of boss fights and more difficult puzzles than the original. Platforming elements require the player to climb walls and ladders, jump across chasms, swing on ropes, and balance across beams to proceed through sections of the game. Some puzzles are simple, such as moving a box so that the player can use it as a jumping-off point to access a pathway unreachable with normal jumping, while others are more complex, such as finding several items across different areas of the game to unlock one door.
In addition to the regular health, magic, and experience chests that are found throughout the game world, there are three Uber Chests to be found. Two of these chests provide an additional increment to the Health and Magic Meters, respectively, and the third chest contains an abundance of red and gold orbs. Several urns are also hidden in the game (e.g., the Urn of Gaia), which, upon completion of the challenge mode, unlocks special abilities (e.g., unlimited magic) for use during bonus play.