Originally released as individual PSP games, God of War: Ghost of Sparta and God of War: Chains of Olympus have gotten a thorough scrubbing and been re-released as a remastered double pack for the PS3. Is it pandering to an audience in an effort to boost sales or is it truly fan service?
In the interest of full disclosure, I am a huge God of War fan. I also believe that God of War II was as close to a perfect game as is possible, not to mention the hands-down best of the series. That being said, I’ve never owned a PSP, so I have never played these games in their original state. This review, then, will be biased towards my mental benchmark of God of War II.
I don’t know the specifics of what it takes to convert a game from a 4.3-inch PSP screen to full PS3 Blu-ray quality, but I would assume that it’s a lot more complex than simply just stretching and repainting the frames. While the visual upgrade is surprisingly impressive, there are definitely quite a few glitches that detract from the overall gameplay. Freezes occur with infuriating frequency and, while only lasting a second each, they are very distracting. It may have happened because of the lofty ambition to run at 60 fps or perhaps because of the stereoscopic 3D that was added – a moot point for the gaming audience without a 3D TV. Whatever the reason, it adversely affects basic gameplay and becomes a nuisance.
Some of the visual effects are also lackluster, notably the fire effects in Chains of Olympus. Normally, I wouldn’t be such a stickler for slightly subpar visuals
in games but because the benchmark for visual effects in the God of War series has been set so high, the flaws become slightly less acceptable.
Aesthetics aside, the actual game and level design are more than adequate and one boss fight in Ghost of Sparta is definitely in the top five of any boss fight in the entire God of War series. Kratos’ greatest boss fights are a crafted blend of quick time events, environmental hazards, multiple scenarios and violent conclusions each in perfect proportion with each other – and that is definitely true of Erinys, with her dizzying aerial battle. For the most part, the games keep within the familiar territory of the series and don’t stray, but that safeness can sometimes lead to a feeling of staleness.
Despite my criticism that the games don’t stand up to their console counterparts, there is still an intrinsic fun to playing any God of War game. From watching Kratos yell out the names of gods and then proceed to kill them in horrifyingly ironic ways to the simple, visceral fun of maxing out abilities and then taking on room after room of enemies, the games in the series never lose their basic appeal. Also, with its relatively low price point ($39.99), the God of War: Origins Collection definitely stands on its own. Without a doubt, it is a must-have for any God of War fan who would like to enjoy one more romp with Kratos, but it is definitely not recommended as an entry point to the series.
Rating: Four out of Five Pies
(a word about our ratings)
George Collazo likes to stand on the shoulders of giants only to decapitate them. Follow his trail of carnage @GeorgeCollazo. The God of War: Origins Collection, from Sony, is available exclusively on PlayStation 3.