As I finished up my play through of Ghost of Sparta, I realized that I had completed every game in the God of War anthology on one console. This is one of the things I love about this generation: HD collections. The latest includes two of the best PSP games to date, complete with Trophy support, redone visuals and all on one Blu-Ray disc. I will admit, I was excited to finally get to play these two titles, but the thought of blowing up two portable games onto my large HD display had me worried about how they would translate. Thankfully, that was quickly silenced as I took control of Kratos.
If this is your first time playing through this collection, you are in for a treat. The two PSP entries actually fill in gaps between the major console releases of the games. Chains of Olympus actually serves as the first game (chronologically) in the series giving a ton of back story on Kratos and his family, giving you insight into what makes everyone’s favorite angry man so unbelievably angry. Ghost of Sparta takes place between the first and second games, filling in some additional holes in Kratos’ family tree, as well as figuring out what happened between him becoming the God of War and his betrayal at the beginning of part two.
If you have played any of the other games, you will be familiar with the storytelling. God of War takes classic Greek Mythology and mixes in its own twists and turns with the Gods. I won’t spoil anything here, but I loved the explanation of some of the stories and how Kratos is involved, much like any of the other outings. The cut scenes look fantastic in HD, and the voice work feels like it was ripped straight out of the console release, complete with TC Carson reprising his role as Kratos.
Storytelling aside, God of War is one of the most intense action games around. If you did play these games on PSP, the first thing you will notice is the control scheme has been improved thanks to the extra analog stick. In the portable versions, you had to hold down a trigger and tap the nub to dodge, which would become a pain, especially in Ghost of Sparta because of a certain weapon that also used the trigger to charge. Adding in the right analog stick completely changes this dynamic, making both titles much more playable.
When bringing both titles to the PS3, the developers went above and beyond the call of duty to flesh out the visuals. An entirely new engine was built for the games, and it shows. There was no doubting how good they already looked on the PSP’s slick screen, but when viewed in 1080p they look even better. You won’t mistake them for God of War III by any stretch of the imagination, but they stand above the original God of War collection easily. The frame rate remains steady throughout most of the game, and some of the locales are as epic as you would expect from a God of War game. Of course, there are limited areas, which were likely designed around the hardware, but you really have to be nitpicking to point them out.
One of the biggest questions about this release is, “if you have already completed the games on PSP, is there a reason to dive in?” As I never managed to complete either game on the system, my answer may seem a bit one-sided, but I had beaten both God of War 1 and 2 before playing that collection, and going back in with HD visuals really is worth it. As far as extras go, the game does include an awesome documentary that spans over 80 minutes of discussing the entire anthology with each director of the series. From David Jaffe to Stig Asmussen, the leads discuss what it was like to work on the series.
Outside of that, the HD visuals are really the biggest upgrade, along with added Trophy support, which I know makes a huge deal to fans. Also, support for Dolby Digital 5.1 and added rumble for the Dual Shock 3 are nice touches, but not swaying factors. The game does support 3D if you have the TV to display it, but honestly, it doesn’t really benefit here for a couple of obvious reasons. It is a neat effect, but nothing mind-blowing. Needless to say, this is one of the better collections for those that have yet to experience both of these games, and not so much for those that have.
God of War Origins is a fantastic collection that will have fans that have yet to play these two amazing games glued to their sets. If you are in that crowd, you are in for a treat for sure. Even if you have played them already, the experience still feels fresh thanks to all the enhancements. Kratos’ journey is possibly over after the events of God of War III, and now you can relive them all in glorious HD, all on one system. Yet another reason why I love this generation.
Review copy provided by publisher.