Review: God of War Collection

Genre: Action/Adventure
Platforms: Playstation 3
Developer: Bluepoint Games/Santa Monica Studios
Price: $39.99 (USD)

The original God of War games debuted on the Playstation 2 to critical and commercial acclaim, and are widely regarded as one of the best Action/Adventure titles in the industry. The tale of tormented Spartan soldier Kratos and his quest for revenge against the Gods are as classic and legendary as the Greek and Roman mythology the series is based around.

In a bit of genius on Sony’s part, after E3 2009, they decided to remaster the collection for the Playstation 3, in an attempt to not only make some sweet cash off of old games, but to introduce the series to new-comers, and to pump up old fans for the release of God of War 3 in March 2010. As a die hard fan of the series, I was absolutely pumped at the prospect of seeing the original two God of War titles packed onto one Blu Ray disc in 720p, a locked 60fps, 2X Anti-Aliasing to smooth out the rough edges, and of course, Trophies.

The word “definitive” has been bandied about a lot this generation, and with little to really back it up. I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that this is the definitive version of God of War 1 and 2, and is worth every double-dipping penny.

God of War was already a beautiful title on the Playstation 2, but the enhancements in this re-mastered version go above and beyond what the PS2 could ever dream, and even the rather decent upscaling job backwards compatible PS3’s can do. The textures are sharp and crisp, and surprisingly detailed, and the smoother surfaces thanks to the 2X Anti-Aliasing really make the game look just that more polished. The original God of War’s fluctuated between 60fps, and while the locked at a constant 60fps is nice, I didn’t really notice any major differences to the feel of the controls. The God of War games always had silky smooth, responsive controls, and this collection is no different.

As impressive as God of War is, God of War 2 trumps it in every way. The game simply improves upon everything that made the original so great, and expands it as well. The re-master of this game nearly rivals many true “next gen” games on the market, as the lighting, effects, and texture detail are brought to the forefront thanks to the crisp and colorful presentation. The only real visual negative of both games are the fact that many of the cutscenes were rendered for standard definition, and thus, look quite a bit worse when played on an HDTV. They are generally fuzzy, and the in game cutscenes, which used the game engine, are dated. It’s a relief when the cutscene ends, and you are taken back to the beautiful re-mastered visuals.

On the gameplay front, the God of War games have aged magnificently. Carving a path of blood and chaos through ancient Greece is just as satisfying now as it was back when the games first released. The combos are a cinch to pull off, and magical skills and new weapons help to keep the game play fresh. God of War 2 in particular really mixes up the variety with it’s set pieces, which have Kratos battling a gigantic Colossus of Rhodes, maneuvering a Pegasus through hostile skies, and navigating obstacles with the Icaris wings, which allow him to glide long distances.

Newcomers to the series can expect a compelling, tragic tale, with great characters, excellent set pieces, and fun, hectic combat, while old fans will no doubt get a kick out of the beautiful remastering of their favorite game, and inclusion of Trophies to add some new incentive to run through the games again. Each title has it’s own separate Platinum Trophy, so you are getting two for the price of one. The bargain price of the collection makes it an even more tantilizing offer and a great pick up or even stocking stuffer (for the mature gamer, of course).

VERDICT: BUY – Whether you are a newcomer to the franchise, or a die hard fan, this collection is worth every dollar. The remastered visuals makes it feel like you are playing the game for the first time all over again, and the combat hasn’t aged a day. This is the definitive version of God of War 1 and 2, and an excellent primer for the conclusion to the series next March.

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