When we first heard that Sony was planning on releasing God of War I & II on PlayStation 3, we were more than a little excited to get our hands on the disc and see how Kratos stacked up in high definition. Developed by SCE Studios Santa Monica, God of War remains one of Sony’s most celebrated franchises to date, and, while we still have to endure a few more months of waiting for Kratos’ next outing, the newly released God of War Collection gives fans plenty to see and do while we wait for the hotly anticipated God of War III. For anyone who hasn’t tried their hands at God of War or its sequel (originally released on the PlayStation 2 in 2005 and 2007, respectively) this compilation is well worth your time and hard-earned cash.
This double pack is a compilation of both God of War I and II, released on a single Blu-ray disc and sporting new high definition graphics and Trophy support. This is one of the best ports to date, and allows you to play two great PS2 titles on your PS3, without the need of a backwards-compatible black box. Both games on the disc are completely unchanged, minus the visuals. The improved frame rate also affords a better gameplay experience, though it’s barely noticeable in comparison to Kratos’ last-gen antics. Still, the games do indeed run smoother than their PS2 counterparts.
Even with both titles receiving a graphical facelift, it’s pretty easy to tell the visual differences between God of War I and God of War II. The latter looks noticeably more polished than its predecessor, but both are still amazing in their own right. It is important to remember that the core gameplay elements have been unchanged. You still use the Blades of Chaos, collect health and magic orbs, and slash away at hordes of enemies. The boss battles are still epic, the puzzles are thoughtful, and the voiceovers and music remain as competent as ever. As we fired up each outing, we were instantly reminded of why we loved the games when they came out several years ago – the stories are so enormous, deep, passionate, and elaborate. Kratos is still enthralled in a mythological world, fighting to gain his title as God of War, and then losing it almost as quickly as he attained immortal powers.
The stories are brought to life by two different styles of cut scenes. The first style uses the in-game engine while the other uses sumptuous cinematic scenes. Admittedly, the cut scenes that utilize the game’s engine are a little lacking. They’re not overtly bad by any means, but they actually don’t look as good as regular gameplay. Where the game truly excels is during the cinematic scenes. These brutal and violent flashbacks are astounding and they give us quite a bit to look forward to for when GoW III comes out. Overall, the visuals have received a significant overhaul, though some aspects of the game’s graphical presentation aren’t quite as polished as we had hoped.
If you own or played either game than you probably now they both came with plenty of extras, predominantly in the form of unlockable videos. Like everything else in this compilation, these extras are available in God of War Collection. You’ll find the extras in God of War II in the Video section of the XMB, complete with standard video controls. The extras from God of War are available in the actual game, and therefore do not include any special controls. This isn’t a big deal; we just thought you’d like to know. Still, the video extras are not all that breathtaking from a visual perspective, echoing a similar situation to that of some of the in-game cut scenes.
As fans are no doubt already aware, gamers can also get their mitts on a demo of God of War III when you purchase God of War Collection. This was a very smart decision by Sony, and gives fans a taste for what they can expect come early 2010. It is interesting to see how all three games look different, although in HD, they all look strikingly similar. Ultimately, God of War Collection is absolutely packed with quality content, making it an ideal purchase for fans and newcomers alike – throw in an attractive budget price point of USD $39.99, and you can’t really go wrong. Take the plunge and relive one of last generation’s finest slices of entertainment in sumptuous eye-popping HD glory.