Review by horror_spooky

"Release the Kratos!"

Every milestone video game has a million copycats after it is released. Super Mario Bros. is still spawning rip-offs to this day, and it's hard to find an FPS nowadays that isn't more or less exactly like Call of Duty. Devil May Cry was one of the most important games of the last generation, and many games that followed copied its mechanics and ideals directly. Very rarely does a game series manage to outdo the game it is mimicking, but God of War, what many call a “DMC clone”, does just that. Both God of War and God of War II are excellent games, and now they are available as remastered versions on one disc on the PlayStation 3.

The God of War games can be simply described as pure awesome. Playing through these masterpieces is an adrenaline rush. Players control Kratos, a severely haunted Spartan, whose goal, in the first game (I won't go over any story details for the sequel in order to avoid spoilers) is to kill the god of war, Ares. The gameplay is very reminiscent of Devil May Cry—it's like a modern beat ‘em up, with a lot of blood, a lot of combos, and a lot of insane, gory sequences.

What sets God of War apart from Devil May Cry and makes it better is that it's simply of higher quality. The game is a lot more polished, with tighter combat, better pacing, more challenging puzzles, and a nice adventure element with very little backtracking involved. As the adventure progresses, Kratos unlocks new spells that can be activated with the left trigger. The shoulder buttons also control blocking and opening treasure chests. The face buttons are used for combat and by combining all of these different functions, Kratos has a ton of combos available to him.

Switching between weapons and activating special abilities requires players to hit two buttons simultaneously. This is actually a very good idea. This way, players don't accidentally use Kratos's Rage of the Gods ability and only activate it when necessary. There's no question that the combat in God of War is done to perfection. The platforming elements and the puzzle elements also work with the combat to provide one of the best gaming experiences ever, period.

My only gripe is that between God of War and God of War II, there aren't a whole lot of differences in terms of gameplay. The games are both really great adventures, but they fail to carve their own identities. There are minor refinements found in the sequel that make it the technically better game, but the overall experience and powerful narrative that the original game provides just can't be replicated.

While the gameplay is largely unchanged in the jump from the first game to the second game, don't worry. The gameplay is still awesome in both games, featuring awesome combat, creative puzzles, and slick platforming. The QTEs during boss battles and other moments in the game lead to wickedly gory scenes, though they do feel a bit cheap at times. Both games are absolutely stuffed with content, offering plenty of unlockables, easter eggs, multiple difficulty modes, and creative and fun to go after trophies. It's easy to sink hours upon hours into the God of War Collection.

This collection has been remastered with not only the addition of trophy support, but also somewhat improved visuals. While the actual graphics really haven't seen much of an upgrade, the game does run smoother. Some cut-scenes are a little grainy and slow-moving, but the CGI cut-scenes are absolutely gorgeous and stunning. The draw distance is impressive as is the amount of enemies on-screen without any slow-down at all. While the God of War Collection obviously isn't the best looking PS3 release ever, these games still look better than a lot of other games out there.

Voice acting is impressive, if not terribly original. If you've seen any movie set during these times or played any game set in ancient Greece, then you know the drill: loud, gravely voiced men, and cryptic old women talking. That basically covers the voice-acting in the game. Where the audio shines, though, is the epic soundtrack. A thunderous orchestral score pounds through the game, making something as simple as climbing up a ladder the most amazing thing ever. It's badass. There's no way else to put it.

If you are a serious gamer, then you owe it to yourself to play these games. If you somehow missed these gems last generation, then now's a perfect time to pick up both of them on one disc. The God of War Collection is one of the best video game compilations ever released. This is a must-have for any PS3 owner that hasn't spent an extensive amount of time with these games in the last generation.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/03/11

Game Release: God of War Collection (US, 11/17/09)

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