If you are unaware of the God of War games, then you either have little interest in third person hack-n-slash blood fests, or you may have been living in a cave for the past five years. First released in early 2005 on the PlayStation 2, the God of War series has spawned three big releases with the last being God of War III on the PlayStation 3 in March last year.
Based, very loosely, on Greek mythology God of War tells us the story of Kratos a Spartan warrior (you know, those buff guys from 300) and his on-going battle with the Gods of Mount Olympus.
God of War has also had smaller titles released on the PlayStation Portable, as well as a game for the mobile smartphone format. Kratos, the main protagonist in the game, and the aforementioned God of War has also bled into popular culture with artwork, clothing and comic books dedicated to this master of mayhem. There is even talk of a movie in the works, though whether this ever happens is up for much debate. Then, so impressive is Kratos’s death dealing in the God of War series that he even made an appearance as a playable character in the latest Mortal Kombat (MK 9) game as a PlayStation 3 exclusive.
God of War Collection – Volume II, is a budget release for the PlayStation 3 and includes the last two PlayStation Portable God of War games remastered in high definition for the PlayStation 3. In addition to this the two titles, Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta, also feature Stereoscopic 3D (a first in the God of War series).
At its essence the God of War games are a blood and death, hack-n-slash a-thon where we control Kratos, a Spartan warrior elevated to godhood through the core God of War releases. The games mostly use a third person perspective and combine a visceral blood and gore combat system with a series of quick-time events. We even get a little puzzle and platform gaming for extra flavour.
The combat start out fairly basic with limited numbers of enemies and Kratos using his low level weapons with standard light and heavy attacks. Through both games Kratos will gain new weapons as he defeats end level bosses and the option to increase his combat abilities via blood orbs. Almost everything Kratos kills or destroys provides him with blood orbs so it doesn’t take long to get some really cool abilities.
Magic also plays a part in these games and Kratos will quickly earn a magical ability after defeating early bosses. His magic bar is drained by use however it has an automatic regeneration feature when not being drawn upon.Kratos’s health bar also can be regenerated via health orbs which also flow from the enemies he dispatches to the underworld. In addition throughout the game we find chests which have all the different types of orbs in them if we need a quick boos such as Gorgon Eyes (increases our overall health pool) or Phoenix Feathers (increases our overall magic pool).
This volume also supports DualShock 3 rumble features during combat as well as Trophies, for the completists amongst us.
The graphics for this collection have been remastered from the original PlayStation Portable standard to high definition 720p resolution and the anti-aliased graphics in this PlayStation 3 version are locked in at 60 frames per second. Models and effects on screen look great and the level of detail is very high for a budget release. The fluid nature of Kratos in combat is well captured, and using the right stick to evade incoming of attacks Kratos rolls and tumbles without glitches or tearing.
This game also features Stereoscopic 3D, which is a first in the God of War series. While we didn’t have access to a 3D TV to test this feature out for those lucky enough to own a 3D TV this is another reason to pick up this game.
God of War features extensive voice acting throughout its series and the Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta games are no exception. While the acting isn’t likely to threaten the Oscars list its perfectly acceptable for a video game and doesn’t detract from the on screen action. Speaking of action, the combat audio in the games is excellent. The clash and clang of steel on steel is well realised and the screams of the dying never seems to get old.
Summary For those who don’t have these games in the original PlayStation Portable format then, as a budget release, there is plenty going for this title. Fans of the God of War series who already own the originals will no doubt love this title too as this upgrade to the PLAYSTATION 3 standard has been handled extremely well.
Additionally, if we hadn’t played any of the God of War games this release would be an excellent place to start as it tells some of the backstory of Kratos for us before we move on to the core games.
So, for pick up and play blood and death this game takes some beating. With some challenging boss battles and interesting puzzle elements thrown in for good measure this game offers something for most players.
Button mashing mayhem in combat mixed with quick-time events and some puzzle.
The upgrade from the PlayStation Portable has been handled well and both games look great on a PLAYSTATION 3. 3D support is a bonus.
Voice acting is fine and the combat effects are well realised.
A budget title with two complete games, what’s not to like?
Overall (Not an Average)
Pick up and play death dealing with Kratos is always a fun way to spend a couple of hours.