Developer: Gameloft
Price: $6.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Hero of Sparta 2, the sequel to the Gameloft hit, Hero of Sparta, sees your Spartan king’s re-entrance to his homeland. Unfortunately, the lord of the underworld isn’t too happy about your escape and has damned you to hell on Earth if you decide to return home. Of course, you, as the proud Argos, return and your Spartan homeland as it is overrun by demons and evil mythical creatures. Your quest throughout the game is to bring peace to Sparta and to finally get that pesky Hades guy off your back.

The first thing that you will notice, and this is a typical Gameloft trait, is that the game looks extremely pretty. The menus and the cut scenes, as well as the in-game graphics look almost console worthy. There is some real eye candy in some of the sequences with the bigger monsters, and the developers have done a good job making big things seem big. The sound and the voice acting are also just about as epic, really making the game feel like a big budget romp.

Unfortunately, and this is also a typical Gameloft trait, the game almost feel soul-less. Sure, there is a story, but you really don’t grasp the anguish that your character, Argos, goes through. He just returned from the underworld, only to have Hades wipe out all of the citizens and turn your land into a topside hell. This is a classic tragedy, a hero coming from far away only to find nothing when he gets back, so where is the drama? Where’s the pain? All you get is an empty fighter fighting waves and waves of evil.

As far as the gameplay goes, it’s fairly formulaic, but does enough to keep you entertained throughout. Most of the game has you running around Sparta until you get “fenced in” and have to fight a battle. Once you beat the enemies, the “fence” goes away and you can move on. There are some things that you have to climb over and some things that you have to jump over, but they feel more like a chore than a real piece of the game. Then there are the bosses, which typically consist of a bunch of mini battles alongside a mini puzzle to find out the bosses weakness. The bosses themselves usually aren’t that tricky, but the long battles beforehand can get tedious.

The battles themselves, the meat of the game, are controlled with dual virtual joysticks as well as a crouch and a jump button. For me, the placement of the buttons/ the way the buttons work left a bit to be desired. The real problem for me is with the right combat stick, which is set between the crouch button below and the jump button above. Being a four directional combat stick, I would expect to easily be able to move the stick in any number of ways to pull off different moves, but when I moved the stick up or down, my finger tended to also be touching crouch or jump, and that action is performed. I can’t tell you how many jumps I performed accidentally in combat before i just resorted to tapping in the button. I honestly would’ve been happier with a combat button and a special moves button rather than a stick.

All in all, Hero of Sparta 2 is what you would expect from God of War clone on the iPhone. It’s really pretty but is fairly soulless and leaves a bit to be desired. If you are a true fan of the genre or just want to be wowed by the technical marvel of your new iPhone 4, Hero of Sparta 2 is the game for you.

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