God of War Collection Review

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Review copy provided by the publisher

There are characters in games that have made such a gargantuan impact in the industry and in their respective genres, that they become a looming imprint in the back of our minds – legends, and proof that a certain era of gaming did indeed grace us with memorable moments; moments that we subconsciously embrace throughout the years.

One of these characters that have made such an impact on many folks, including myself, comes in the most brutal form – a barbaric Spartan that craves chaos and revenge. The man who is responsible for the extinction of the mythological Greek gods of Olympus – Kratos, the protagonist in the God of War series, and probably one of the most bad-ass individuals in gaming history.

For those of you who haven’t played God of War or God of War II, now would probably be the best time to experience two of the most praised games for the PlayStation 2, which has been released in a nostalgic Blu-ray collection for the PlayStation 3 titled “God of War Collection.” A disc that includes both games digitally remastered in high definition for you visual and audio aficionados, bonus content with the making of God of War II following director Cory Barlog, and, for those of you who are looking for an orgasmic taste for the next God of War title, a demo of God of War III. Although just about everything aside from the God of War III demo and added trophy support isn’t anything new, it is a package that any PlayStation 3 owner should take advantage of at a price of $40.

With regards to the story, there isn’t much to say that most of you don’t already know or have read about. Both games revolve around the Spartan military hero Kratos, and his journey to do biddings for the Gods of Olympus.

The first God of War takes Kratos on a journey to obtain Pandora’s Box which will give him the absolute power to defeat a god. In this case, the Gods of Olympus have asked Kratos to take care of the God of War himself, Ares – who is waging an unacceptable war against the goddess Athena’s city Athens. In return for slaying the god of war, Kratos’s violent past would be forgiven under the treacherous requests of Ares. He learns from the Oracle that Pandora’s Box is hidden deep within the Temple of Pandora, which lies on the back of the last living Titan, Cronos – who has been commanded by Zeus to endlessly wander the Desert of Lost Souls. Kratos makes the three day journey of climbing up the Titan’s back for three days and then gains entrance to the Temple of Pandora, where his life-changing adventure truly begins.

In God of War II, the game starts showing Kratos as the new God of War after successfully defeating Ares in the prequel. However, due to his ruthlessness, Kratos had yet to be accepted by members of the Greek pantheon due to his barbaric campaigns in leading his Spartan army against all other Greek states. Athena informs Kratos that he has angered the God of Olympus, warning him that there isn’t much she can do to help anymore if he continues his ways. The new God of War brushes her warnings away and continues his conquest against the city of Rhodes, where his powers are eventually taken away, and where he is betrayed and killed by the almighty Zeus.

Obtaining the help of the Titans, Kratos vows to get his revenge against Olympus and all that harbor in it, and – at the request of the Titan Gaia – he seeks out the Sister of Fate in order to change the moment in which Zeus killed him.

God of War, although a last generation game, still offers an experience that trumps current next-gen titles. Although the graphics aren’t on par with today’s games, the gameplay still offer the same reminiscent experience that awed us on the PlayStation 2. Although the gameplay remains old school, the game feels more like a classic than it does outdated. The visuals weren’t re-invented, so you won’t see too much changes in new textures and polygon counts. But the game does offer a visible change to the world of HD, which takes the old grainy look from the PS2, and reiterates it with much smoother framerate that would belittle current games.  However, one of the more tedious and noticeable aspects when playing the games is the gritty cutscenes which did not receive the same visual enhancement treatment that the games itself received. This is much more noticeable in the first God of War, which will easily put a look of disgust in some faces. Is it enough to pry you away from the intense in-depth action and story that makes God of War what it is? Absolutely not. But it will make some folks wonder why the developers didn’t cater to these portions of the games.

The new collection doesn’t really offer much of anything new aside from a demo, trophy support and crispier visuals, but it still offers the same solid gameplay that defined the genre of action games, which is more than enough to satisfy our appetites. The added trophy support adds an element of replay value that will encourage trophy whores to re-experience the game multiple times.

If the majority of you were expecting a lengthy review regarding the God of War Collection, there was nothing to touch upon aside from what has been newly added. The game itself is still the same old God of War which, for most of you, should say enough. For those of you who are looking to experience a blot of what God of War III will be when it hits on March, the demo will do a lot more than just give you a taste of what’s to come.

After completing both games, I found myself continuously playing the demo time after time. Throughout its first couple of plays, the game itself does seem a bit unbelievable. The graphical upgrades (and this isn’t the finished version) that the series has undergone is just mind-blowing. If you guys thought that Uncharted 2: Among Thieves looked amazing, you haven’t seen anything yet. From what can be felt in the demo, the series contains its gripping combat system, with the addition of a couple of more goodies. The things that makes it stand out when compared to other games is clearly visible in the first five or so minutes of the demo. It is a tease indeed and only makes fans of the series drool in desperation.

If you haven’t played the God of War series, you’re missing out on much more than awesome games. You’re missing out on a piece of gaming history that, I guarantee, will change the way you perceive action adventure games. You’re getting two of the greatest games, with the addition of the E3 demo of God of War III, for $40 – and this is a collection that, by far, is better than a lot of next-gen titles that permeate this generation today.

[Images via IGN]

  • Title: God of War Collection
  • Developer: Blue Point Games / SCE Santa Monica Studios
  • Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Release Date: November 17, 2009
  • MSRP: $39.99
  • Review Copy Info: DualShockers, Inc. was not provided with a review copy  by the publisher, and purchased the game for review purposes.
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Yaris Gutierrez

Born and raised in New York City, Yaris is one of three co-founders at DualShockers. Gaming since the inception of Nintendo in the 80's, he has grown to avidly appreciate games of every genre, maturing his preference specifically now to third-person action games, first-person shooters and JRPGs. He's a software engineer, father and husband during the day, and mildly attempts to hold onto his "hardcore gamer" title during the evenings. An attempt that he tends to fail miserably at.

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