The God of War series has always been held as somewhat of a standard in frenetic hack ‘n slash action games. They have impeccably responsive controls, an uncanny ability to take camera control away from the player without making them mad, and disgustingly epic set pieces. Effectively, God of War games are another step towards discovering the Holy Grail of game design.
This is why rereleasing God of War and God of War II in a collection for the PS3 is an amazing idea. The first GoW sold admirably in retail, but the second one got unfairly shafted due to its late release in regards to the PS2 lifecycle. Putting those two games, which many hold as some of the greatest ever made, is pretty much the best advertising possible for the impending God of War III since those that never played a GoW game before will realize what they’ve been missing out on, and old fans will remember how great those oldies were.
Of course, a straight port wouldn’t be the God of War MO. No, there are actually some pleasant surprises to be had with the collection. First off are the graphics. In various interviews and press statements, it’s been revealed that all of the game’s textures have been redone and sharpened up, the frame rate has been locked into a silky smooth 60 frames per second, and the resolution has been cranked up from the PS2’s 512 x 448 to a deliciously HD 720p. This all may not sound like much on paper, especially for four year old games, but it makes a world of difference in practice. GoW II actually looks so good that it could easily pass for a current gen release. Never has ripping people in half been so beautiful.
In an awesome fever of fan service, Bluepoint Games also saw fit to include Santa Monica Studio’s original behind the scenes videos with the collection. It’s odd that you have to fire these extras up from the Video section of the XMB, but that slight inconvenience is easily negated by how awesome the featurettes are.
There’s also the mild annoyance regarding switching between the two releases while in game: you can’t. It’s unlikely you’ll find yourself needing to go in and out of the two games that this will become a real problem, but it’s unfortunate nonetheless.
Of course, being that nothing else has changed in these games, there’s also nothing else you can read here than reviews back in the day haven’t covered. Kratos’ storylines are always amazing, fighting feels intense without being overwhelming, and the controls make everything you do feel immensely satisfying. With the right stick dedicated to evasive maneuvers, the camera is completely controlled by the game, but it is handled so masterfully you won’t care at all. Best of all, though, these two games are so unapologetically brutal. Metalocalypse fans will definitely be pleased.
There’s also a nice little surprise to be had that’s completely unrelated to GoW I or II, and that’s a code to download the E3 demo of God of War III. This demo alone makes this collection worth it. All those things stated for the full games goes double for the download, and that’s saying a lot given that it’s just a demo of an unfinished game. It looks super sharp and provides a greater thrill through combat than before, especially since the game somehow got even bloodier.
For $40, you just can’t go wrong with this collection. You’re getting two full, universally praised games, a smorgasbord of video featurettes, and one of the most hyped demos to come out of E3. All of that will easily provide you at least 50 hours of fun, which is undoubtedly the best value you’re going to find in just about any medium. Happy revenging!