Its also started up some thoroughly fascinating debates, absolutely the best of which is this on the Newsweek Blog of N'Gai Croal.
Its very interesting watching your own game get critiqued, which is what the best reviews are about. I used to absolutely hate English Lit at school where they made us study Shakespeare or Charles Dickens. I enjoyed some of the books, just not the over the top dissection that was necessary for good grades. I was always convinced that we were being made to read far more intentions into the writer and his motivations than he had when he was writing the book in the first place. Now I am not saying that GOW is like Shakespeare or Dickens, but its probably the closest I am ever gonna get, so bear with me. Being on the other end of it, I guess I can see merits in it when its as well written as N'Gai and Stephens critique. In some cases they know us better than we know ourselves. I have to conclude that they are both right about us.
Stephens point was that we played it safe, didn't break enough new ground, didn't have the same emotional depth of character as the first game. N'Gai's retort can be summarized as the game was more of the same but with better 'construction' and pacing. But he thinks that this is still an advance and who cares if you are having fun.
At the start of God of War 2 we had a meeting of the Leads on the team where we were asked the question of whether we wanted to do a 'mission pack' or a true sequel. I argued strongly for a true sequel as did some of the others and that is the direction we ultimately took. Everything is an evolution though, especially when you are making a sequel. We definitely took into account the critiques of God of War 1 when working out what we were doing for 2. Bosses, game length, re-playability etc. Then there are the confines that you force upon yourself to keep it finishable. We knew we couldn't re-write the tech that we had to choose carefully what to add making sure we didn't break what worked already. The character was established and the fans of the franchise have expectations, for all the work on the technology, I sure didn't envy Cory's job of following up the story of the first. But I thought the reveal of the identity of the narrator and some of the cutscenes of the Titan war were pretty compelling stuff. In the end, its my opinion that we did end up with a more perfected version of God of War, better paced, better art, more combat depth and replayability. But I am acutely aware, and I know I am not alone in this, that we are going to need to do something pretty fucking cool on PS3. Its looking like we will get to make the trilogy that we always wanted to, we are 2 games into making something I am very proud of and I'm excited at the prospect of the 3rd.
And just for some counterpoint, my favorite troll review from Metacritic, he gave us a 3/10. I wonder what games he thinks are worth 8 or 9?
While GamesTM have sold out to the mighty pound signs, Edge keep their reviews real and to be brutally honest this game is shite! Not Americas most wanted territory, but after the initial qualities the game throws at you its plain downhill after that. Seriously gameplay has moved on from this dog turd, pity Sony haven't realized it!