God of War Collection (Available on PlayStation 3)
ESRB Rating: M
Number of Players: 1
Developer: SCE Santa Monica Studios/Bluepoint Games
Release Date: November 17th, 2009
One of the current PS3’s biggest problems is its lack of PS2 backwards compatibility. Reliving classic moments from games like Grand Theft Auto III, MGS3, or even God of War is impossible. With God of War III’s release still a few months away, Sony thought it would be a good idea to re-release the first two installments in the series recoded to run natively on any PlayStation 3. Instead of a simple port job, both GoW and GoW II have been completely reworked so that their native resolution and frame rate have been increased to 720p and 60fps respectively. Oh, and you trophy nuts can surely appreciate each having a platinum. Price is the collection’s other big factor. At only $40USD, there’s more epic gameplay on this one disc than almost every other title coming out this holiday season.
In terms of content, both games are exactly as you remember them on the PlayStation 2. All the same brawling, storylines, and yes, those awesome sex mini-games are still present. What’s changed is the visuals and overall performance that I previously mentioned. The original titles suffered from significant screen tearing and slight frame rate discrepancies whenever too much was going on. Both are now a thing of the past, and believe me; anyone can immediately notice the jump in clarity.
Instead of repeating what I’ve written in the past though, I’m simply going to say that everything holds up exceptionally. In fact, these two games are the basis for God of War III’s gameplay. That’s to say, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. The same wonderful combos, magical attacks and quick time events are alive and well. The games sustain themselves better than I thought they would after all these years. The boss battles are even improved thanks to the bump in resolution. Epic doesn’t properly describe this package; it’s beyond what ninety percent of the action games created today offer. If you’ve never played either, you owe it to humanity to play these smoother and more detailed experiences.
Not every aspect holds up though. While the developers recoded the games to achieve 720p native resolution, the big problem is that the cutscenes didn’t receive that treatment. They’re in standard def. Back in the day, these moments were created using actual game assets to sort of seamlessly bridge the gap between gameplay and cutscene. While it worked back then, it doesn’t work now because the content is ported over from the PS2 versions. Needless to say, it’s jarring to suddenly see an ass-looking version of Kratos, and two seconds later see the HD model. Why the cutscenes weren’t redone is beyond me, but likely has to do with time and disc space. HD video consumes a lot of space, and we’re talking about two full games here. Even so, it would’ve made this a much better-rounded package.
The games’ extra bonus content has also made it in this collection, only like the in-game cutscenes, they haven’t been given the HD facelift. The old interviews and storyboard shots are all in standard def and really don’t look great, especially on that lovely new TV of yours.
Audio-wise things have aged wonderfully. Every effect sounds as epic as ever. The voice acting also shined in both games, and still does. If you own a surround sound system, you’re going to be turn this bad boy up, believe me.
The God of War Collection is a worthwhile package. It’s only $40USD for two of the best action games ever created. On top of that, it serves as the perfect precursor to God of War III, which everyone and their mother (well, father really) is going to buy come March 2010. It’s a shame that the cutscenes and extra footage weren’t upscaled like the rest of the games, but given everything else in this package, we’ll take what we can get. For those with a 60GB or 20GB original PS3, I have no qualms recommending this collection thanks to the games looking great and running well too. I own an original launch PS3 and the originals don’t hold a candle to the re-encoded versions. I have nothing else to say except, buy this compilation and re-experience two of the best action games of all time.
Overall (Not an average): 9.1/10