I know that time and time again I’ve adamantly spoken out against this whole “HD remake” phase that the gaming industry has been going through. It seems that everywhere you look there’s another 5 – 10 year old title (albeit classics) getting the 1080p treatment, with some fairing better than others. And while I’ve had sometime with a couple rehashed console games with lukewarm feelings about it, who would have thought that a couple of PSP titles would make me eat my words.That’s exactly what took place with Ready at Dawn and Santa Monica Studios’ God of War: Origins Collection.
The Origins double pack combines both of Kratos’ romps originally released for the PlayStation Portable, God of War: Chains of Olympus (2007) and God of War: Ghost of Sparta (2010). Not only did Sony have the titles fully remastered in HD, but they also re-mixed the 2.0 stereo track from the portable into a glorious 5.1 Dolby digital mix. And to top it all off support for full stereoscopic 3D, a first for the franchise.
It just so happened that a week before the title came in for review, a 3DTV had just been installed at the DualShockers HQ. “Diorama of War” is what I dubbed it only moments after booting up the first of the two titles and watching Kratos and company come to life. It really is like one of those diorama’s you remember from grade school. No, not the crappy one you made. Im talking more like the one the class suck up had his parents working on all night. Now just picture that diorama coming to life — except with more blood, violence, and of course…chaos.
The series is known for it’s clever (dare I say industry best) use of scale and combining that with 3D only solidifies it even more. You really get the feeling of just how epic the world around Kratos really is. So much so that I’m officially now an advocate for 3D gaming; and that’s something I thought I’d never say.
If you’re a series veteran one thing that you’ll quickly make note of is the jump between the two games. Obviously they released about 3 years apart, but I’d rather refer to them as pre and post God of War III era. I say this because of all the little touches the team at Ready at Dawn was able to borrow from the console classic that released a year prior. It’s the little details like the QTE’s (quick time events) not being in front of the action, and instead off to the side, that make all the difference here. Couple that with an even deeper combat and Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta begin to look like night and day.
Both stories are prequals in the series. Chains of Olympus takes place in between the first and second God of War title, and starts out with the persian army invading Athens. While this attack is taking place, Morpheus (the god of sleep), takes it upon himself to use this opportune moment to knock the sun (Helious) out of the sky putting the gods and humans alike into a deep slumber. Kratos, ordered by Athena, goes into action to restore the sun back to the sky. WIth it’s usual plot twists and turns that the God of War series is known for there’s a lot more that eventually goes into it.
Kratos is one bad mofo, and the second title in the collection Ghost of Sparta helps us to find out why. The story takes place before he was the God of War in the first title when he was still doing his bidding for Ares. The city of Atlantis also plays a role, and the title manages to shed light on the reason why Poseidon (the God of the sea) is just so salty at the beginning of God of War III. The boss in the opening scene alone is big enough to eat any boss in Chains of Olympus whole. And that’s a fact.
While the title doesn’t have anything multiplayer related (as it shouldn’t) there is definitely some replay value here. Trophies are among the biggest reasons why purists will go back over and over. And the addition of challenge rooms is also another plus. To top it all off the disc contains a panel that was filmed in 2010 which featured the three (console) God of War directors on stage in LA, discussing everything about the series.
I was among those gamers who had a PSP but remained skeptical about games like God of War coming to the handheld and the translation not fairing so well. Now I don’t need to worry anymore. Do I regret not playing them when they originally released? Well now after playing both titles in 1080p, stereoscopic 3D, with 5.1 surround sound, and a DualShock 3 controller; my answer is an emphatic hell no. This is by far the definitive version of both titles and a benchmark to what HD remakes and rehashes should be; not to mention a must buy if you own a 3DTV.