Review by animalmachine80
"The best way to wait for God of War 3"
Not ever having played the two original ps2 God of War games I knew as soon as this collection was announced it would be an essential buy. With God of War 3 just around the corner and having drooled over the impressive demo and epic looking trailer, this was the perfect instant fix. The only experience I had had of this series was Chains of Olympus on the psp which while not exactly heart stopping was a solid action game with some interesting mythological references.
Loading up the disc immediately gives you the options of playing the first and second games along with watching all the bonus footage from the ps2 release of the second game. The first important point is that both the games themselves run in full HD with various other tweaks which means they both look fantastic, with no screen tearing and run at a constant 60 frames per second all of which are apparently an improvement on the originals, and could pass as early ps3 games. Unfortunately none of the cut scenes have had this upgrade and while the full motion videos look fine some of the in game cinematics can be a little jarring when immediately switched to from the fantastic looking game play, although this is hardly a big problem.
The first game, where it all began, is an interesting take on Greek mythology with the anti hero Kratos doing the bidding of the gods in order to win his freedom from his nightmares, and primarily setting his sites on killing Ares, the god of war. The story is not particularly in depth but is interesting enough to keep you interested in what happens next and is a unique use of the mythological basis. The game is mainly focused on fighting waves of enemies based on mythological creatures, and this is fortunately where the game truly shines. Having one of the tightest and best looking fighting systems seen in a game, you swing Kratos' eye pleasing blades of chaos with medium, strong and grab attacks to create interesting and well implemented combos. This system is both easy to use and very in depth, taking lots of skill to master the higher difficulties. You also upgrade your statistics as you collect red orbs from chests and defeating enemies giving you new moves and combos. One seeming flaw is that you do collect several other weapons and magic powers during the journey, but many feel relatively redundant if only because your initial weapon is so fantastic.
The level design and themes are all quite interesting with several different types of environments involving various platforming and puzzle section. It must be said though that some of the platforming sections are a little frustrating and ill conceived, the controls of the character suiting combat very well but precise platforming not so much. Music and sound in the game are very well done and always suiting the occasion, while graphics generally while a little dated do look very good with the updates. Bosses and creatures as well as environments and other effects all look great. The game isn't over long and shouldn't take more than ten hours but its all time well spent and has many unlockables giving a fantastic replay value.
Finished with the first game, God of War 2 is a wonderful follow up you can dive right into. All the best things about the original have been kept, with the poorer things trimmed and a host of improvements. The graphics are better; there are more frequent and highly entertaining bosses, more refined platforming sections, and many new items and upgrades. The story of the second game is entertaining, although can often feel like a repeated version of the first just switching who you want to kill, and what you need to do it, but its not much of a problem. The combat system is as good as ever, with lots of new powers and items (although again many you probably wont even bother to use).
Environments in this sequel are nicely diverse with lots of interesting puzzles and fights, all blending seamlessly together into a wonderful experience. The only nitpick would be two separate little puzzles, both quite similar, involving jamming an object into part of a lift which don't feel quite right. But generally everything feels very natural. The violence has really been taken up a notch here which lots of dazzlingly gruesome finishing moves for enemies and in particular boss fights, some of which are spectacular. This game is also longer than the first and has many different unlockables to obtain.
Overall this is a fantastic package that I would recommend to any one who hasn't played them before. There are a few small flaws in the games themselves and it would have been nice if this collection had included the psp game as well, but that shouldn't put anyone of buying it before the imminent release of God of War 3.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 12/18/09
Game Release: God of War Collection (US, 11/17/09)
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