Surely one of the biggest upcoming releases of the year on PS3, God Of War III is almost with us. So, what better way to get in the mood for some Spartan slaughter than to replay the original two games, in high-def?
Although not officially out in the UK yet, the Kratos family pack that is God Of War Collection can be imported for use with European PS3s. This is great news for those who have yet to sample what has often been called the best game series on the PS2, and for long time fans waiting to relive the fight on PS3.
Re-mastered for PlayStation the third, the God Of War Collection features the first two games in full, along with a few extra bits of artwork and a code to download the E3 GoWIII demo, on a single Blu-ray disc. Both games have been tweaked with a lick of paint and can be played in full 1080p for some high-def destruction, something the game’s anti-hero, Kratos, is very good at.
In fact, there’s surely little Kratos can’t do, and if there was a contest to decide just who videogaming’s hardest character is, Kratos would certainly be an odds on favourite. He’s not only able to single-handily take on entire armies of demons, beasts, undead and fantastical creatures, but he’s also killed a god. Yes, Kratos knows no limits when it comes to picking a fight, and even if his foe is several thousand feet taller and wider than him, he thinks nothing of wading in, blades flying. He’s even died and fought his way up and out of Hades itself to get back to the land of the living. That’s how hard he is.
This is important, as part of God Of War‘s initial pulling power was the fact that you took control of this brutal and downright impressive beast of a man, and could wreck havoc in an almost balletic display of blood and gore. This is a feeling that hasn’t died down over the years, and despite the game’s age, time hasn’t taken its toll on Kratos’ adventures, and they’re every bit as fun to play as they were on their original release.
The controls are as fast and fluid as ever, and the challenge on offer is just as balanced and spot-on as it was back then. Both GoW and GoW II can be very, very challenging at times, but never unfairly so. The mix of fast and frantic combat alongside gentle puzzle solving and a sprinkle of trap avoiding is perfectly implemented, and learning Kratos’ vast and varied moves is key to besting the many difficult foes you’ll face. Even the various QTE finishers, normally something I dislike in games these days, are still perfectly acceptable.
To put it simply, both games could easily show many new releases of today how it’s done; they’re just that good. The first boss fight against the Hydra is still a jaw dropper, and many of the other boss fights will be remembered by gamers for a long time to come.
The new visual polish lavished on the re-release is great on the whole, with sharp anti-aliased visuals and solid frame rate at all times, but while in-game the new high definition Kratos looks great, some NPCs and locations do look quite dated. It’s also a real shame many in-game cut scenes have been left untouched, and so stand out like a sore thumb with low-res quality, but this isn’t really all that important to the overall game experience.
The only other flaws are the issues present in the original PS2 incarnations, and these include some rare instances of dodgy camera movement and transitions, as well as some iffy collision in some situations, such as enemy arrow fire and while dodging some traps. However, like the lack of polish in some visuals, these issues are minor, and really shouldn’t put anyone off.
In essence, this is a simple re-release of two all-time classic titles that Sony hopes will cash in on the imminent God Of War III release, and so you shouldn’t expect a mass of never-before-seen content. It’s just two excellent, action-heavy games that simply can’t fail to entertain. Let’s hope God Of War III can live up to the lofty heights set by its predecessors.