Monday, February 12, 2007

God of War 2's first review

EDIT -- So it seems that a couple of websites have put up their reviews - IGN, then 1up and most recently Gamespy. IGN's review is a little odd - talks about how they think the game is better than part 1, yet we get 9.7 where as first one got 9.8. Fucking 0.1 tax for either being a sequel or for being on 'old' hardware. Bitches.

Game Informer put their review up...9.75. Man, these hookers just need to round up or something! Oh well.

Enough nitpicking. This time around feels very different for some reason. The studio so far has done Kinetica (yeah, i never played it either) then God of War 1 and 2. This one somehow feels like we have cemented Sony Santa Monica into being an AAA studio, not just a fluke. For better or worse we are now the God of War studio - much like Bungie being the Halo studio.

I think part of it was that I joined the GOW1 team pretty late, a month or so before Alpha. Cory kept telling me to join some team making Dark Odyssey but I had no idea what he was babbling about. But this one...this one was with all of us from the very beginning. This was our shot and I think we did a really good job. I'll leave it at that.


Dustin said...

wow, I was not expecting that.

Devin Greer said...

It deserved a 10, who the fuck are they kidding? And that's funny the way you describe Cory, he doesn't seem that way, but I'll take your word for it. And I don't know how often you hear this, but I don't think you deserve any less than to know that you guys, including the whole team on GOW do a fucking amazing job at all that you have done. Although I haven't played GOWII for myself, I think I've seen enough videos, and read enough reviews to assure myself that my favorite video game franchise of all time will be even better...

-Devin Greer

jchensor said...

Read their review. I think they liked it. Though I can't be positive. That's my interpretation of their review, anyhow.

Max A said...

Well I think the games better than the first one big time. The pacing and bosses do it for me. I really think everyone kicked ass. In my mind the first game was a 9.0 and this is a 10.

Anonymous said...

Jade Empire got a 9.9

Almost there

Anonymous said...

Their main complaint was that GOW2 was more of the same.

I think it is entirely reasonable to give a later game that is technically better a lower rating if it is more of the same and came out at a later date.

When GOW came out the graphics were more impressive compared to the state of the art, and the gameplay was newer.

Not to say GOW2 is a bad game, or even a worse game. I'm just pointing out that games that make incremental improvements often get lower reviews. The 'wow' factor has been lost.

Derek Daniels said...

Did anyone play Jade Empire? The whole reason why I bought my xbox 1 was for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic which I thought was a great game. For some reason I remember seeing Jade Empire and just not wanting to play it. I didn't think it was a bad game but I just really didn't want to put as much time as I did with KOTOR into another game. Especially one that didn't have a Star Wars theme. So yeah...maybe they did deserve the 9.9 ^_^

Derek Daniels said...

Making a sequel is tricky business. We knew from the very beginning that nostalgia would own us up. I think if people even felt like we made a better game than part 1 - they would still like part 1 better because part 1 was something 'new' to most people.

From a combat point of view we were really scared to touch a lot of things mostly because we felt a lot of stuff worked. We changed a lot of things under the hood but trying to tell everyone that the combos flow from one another better is a waste of time. Although all of Kratos's specials did change - L1 + X and all of that stuff. We changed a lot of small things like the way the Rage of the Titans works - can now turn it off and it does a lot of fun things with the combo meter. However these are all small things which we freely admit.

When anything changes too much from the original it gets a little scary. From movies like Indiana Jones 2 or games like Zelda 2, SMB2 or DMC2. I kinda wonder if people would love Indiana Jones 3 as much as they do if it came out after part 1 or SNES Zelda. SMB3...yeah, well thats a damn good game that I think people would have loved no matter what.

So while I can completely understand the complaint of 'more of the same' I think deep down thats what people want. Familiarity - which makes a great complaint - at the same time makes people comfortable and lets them have more fun with the game.

Please note - I'm not really complaining about our review scores its all just me kidding around. I made a ton of really bad games before God of War and the reviews for this one have been absolutely fucking amazing. Like my friend Omar says - you can't fucking complain about a 9.5 no matter who you are or what game you are working on.

Anonymous said...

Jade Empire was one of Gamespot's "most dissapointing games"!

I don't know how familiar you are with book reviews, but game reviews are very similar to book reviews. You read a book review that is glowing, then 6 months later every reviewer claims they never liked the book in the first place. (Just like Gamespot did with Jade Empire) You read an average review and 6 months later everyone claims they loved it from the start.

So I wouldn't worry about reviews too much...the max resolution on them is basically "good, ok or awful." Anything beyond that, like comparing a 9 to a 9.5, is pretty pointless.


Here is what I would have liked to have seen in GOW2:

1. A lot of the hold L1 attacks were useless. (All except the launcher really) You can't interrupt them with blocks for one thing. Sometimes I get them by mistake when I wanted a parry counter intead. Make those more useful. I can't think of a single time I used the hold L1 attacks on purpose other than the launcher.

2. More boss fights and better last boss.

3. Some more enemy and location variety. GOW has a very epic look to the environments (good job art guys!) but the game doesn't have an epic scope as you spend most of the time in a couple of locations.

Personally I could go for the adventure part of action/adventure being bumped up a bit, but maybe that's just me.

Anyway GOW is one of the best PS2 games and I'm sure GOW2 will be as well, so good work.

I have a friend who bought Silent Hill 3 after playing GOW and literally threw it in the trash because he couldn't stand the controls. (My friend is kind of silly...I actually prefer Silent Hill 2 & 3 to GOW although they aren't comparable games)

Derek Daniels said...

Anonymous: In all honesty I can't say I'm super familiar with book reviews - but movie/music reviews behave basically the same way.

In part 1 the best special in the game hands down was L1 + Circle in the air. It was so broken it almost got cut the last week of the game. The problem was that Kratos hung out in the air while charging up and the monsters had no answer what so ever to that behavior. Sort of like Akuma in ST where he had an air fireball, the cast just wasn't ready yet to deal with a projectile from above like that. Also there is a bug where even if Kratos gets hit he doesn't take a reaction. He'll take damage and keep playing the move.

L1 + Triangle was probably the weakest in the sense that it had no real functionality what so ever.

Scrubs love them some L1 + Square - part 1 and part 2. In focus tests we have people play the whole game with just that move over and over and over and over.

With part 2 we kept L1 + Square hella scrub friendly since people seemed to love it. We retooled L1 + Triangle for the better and somoene called me today to tell me how much they love L1 + O in the demo.

As far as boss fights are concerned I think you'll really like part 2. The number has easily been doubled if not tripled depending on what you did/did not count as a boss in part 1.

Enemy/location variety was definitely pumped up this one. We have so many enemies this time around sometimes you only see them once! And they aren't boss/mini boss fights either.

Someone threw Silent Hill in the trash? Wow! haha. I have never played a silent hill game (I can hear james chen grumbling right now) so I can't really comment. I'm not a super huge fan of survival horror game-isms like walking slow, bad controls etc just to somehow sell the concept of being scared. Took like 3 people to tell me how great RE4 was before I made the plunge (which was easily game of the year when it came out).