Giant Bomb Review

43 Comments

God of War Collection Review

4
  • PS3

Thanks to the high-res treatment and bloodily timeless gameplay, these PS2 action classics hold up better than you might think.


You'd be surprised how nice God of War II cleans up. 
The inclusion of a demo for next year's God of War III in Sony's new two-game compilation God of War Collection makes it starkly evident how little this series has diverted its attention from blood-soaked, button-mashing Grecian slaughter since its initial 2005 release. From that first game to this next one, sullen anti-hero Kratos has always busted out the exact same chain-whip combo when you hit square-square-triangle; he's always ripped hapless enemies in half right at the waist. The magical attacks and mythological foes might become more outlandish over time, but playing this package reminds you how remarkably consistent God of War's basic rhythms have remained over time.

That's probably just how fans want it--and it's probably why the series' first two games, landmark releases on the PlayStation 2 in their day, are still so playable now. There's something to be said for devising a winning formula and sticking with it, after all. The games do start out sort of button-mashy, but they allow room for technique in the action before they eventually start to require it. The carrot-on-a-stick drive of amassing red orbs to exchange for deadlier powers is still a good motivation to plow through these games, as are the epically cinematic (though largely scripted) boss encounters. Remember impaling that gigantic hydra's head onto the broken ship's mast at the beginning of the first game? That fight hasn't lost as much of its original wow factor as you might think.

 The first one ain't no slouch either.
God of War Collection lets you visit or revisit these first two installments in what's now one of Sony's tentpole franchises, giving you a chance to bone up on where Kratos has been and where he's going prior to the launch of that next big God of War game (the first on the PlayStation 3) next March. From his quest to redeem his sordid, violent past in the original game to the travails of newfound godhood he grapples with in the second, Kratos' tale is one still worth absorbing, and although I can't say with certainty that you'll need to know the whole story to appreciate next year's sequel, it sure won't hurt if you do.

God of War's narrative elements may be timeless, but its visuals, however recent, are not. At least not in their original form, which Sony has dramatically gussied up by increasing the resolution to a sharp 1080p and locking the performance in at a buttery smooth 60 frames per second. At nearly five years old, the first game looks surprisingly good with these improvements, but it's the second one that really stands out. Granted, God of War II came out after the PS3 did, but at times while playing it in this collection you could start to forget it was actually designed for a generation-old piece of hardware in the first place. That visual excellence probably owes in large part to strong art design, but the technical polish on this package makes a huge difference in keeping it current too.

Niiiiiiice and simple. 
For $40, it's probably beyond the scope of this disc to expect any new special features, nor a PS3-compatible version of last year's PSP installment, Chains of Olympus. (Sony would probably still like you to buy that one on the PSP.) At least you do get the original behind-the-scenes bonus videos that shipped with the two original games, in which you get to see a younger, goateed David Jaffe talking shop, and Cory Barlog making a sandwich in his kitchen. And Sony has integrated a raft of easy trophies into both games, just about all of which you could earn on your first time through each one. These are broken out into two separate entries on your PSN profile, so this disc is recommendable to anyone looking to earn a couple of easy Platinum trophies.

It's also essential for diehard God of War purists who want to own the best possible versions of these games for posterity. For someone who already has the original releases and a backwards-compatible PlayStation 3, on the other hand, God of War Collection is a harder sell. But it's ultimately most valuable to people who didn't play much or any of the originals, for whom this package serves as both a fine refresher course and also a couple of kick-ass action games, available on the cheap.     Brad Shoemaker on Google+
43 Comments
Posted by Willy105

This would be so awesome if there was a way to censor it.

Posted by JJOR64

I never played the 2nd one so maybe it's time to finally play it.

Posted by Bigandtasty

Sounds about right for people who are into that sort of thing. For me, the first one was enough.

Posted by kerikxi

I love ya to death Brad, but you basically put some stars in front of your Quicklook commentary.

Posted by RobotHamster

If they had trophies back then, I would of had platinum on both.  Oh well, guess i'll just do it all again.

Posted by TwoOneFive

must buy for me!

Posted by TheFreeMan

Maybe it's time to play the second one with this collection......but I really didn't enjoy the first GoW very much at all when I played it recently. Hmmm.....

Posted by CharlesAlanRatliff

Great review! I might be picking this up on Black Friday. I haven't played the first God of War in a long time.

Posted by LordAndrew

Oh shit! I still need to play God of War!

Posted by F1

Gettin' it!

Posted by JeffGoldblum
@Willy105 said:
" This would be so awesome if there was a way to censor it. "
A censored God of War game is not a God of War game at all.
Posted by CountRockula

This review is honestly a little surprising.  I'd always gotten the impression that Brad had a pretty distinct disregard for God of War and its ilk.

Posted by Valkyr

It's 720p , if you are playing on a Full HD TV that's another thing, your PS3 is upscaling it, why do you keep saying the game is 1080p?, I don't want to be a jerk, but come on, read the game box or manual before posting a review

Posted by RHCPfan24

Sweet review and nice site update!! I want to pick this up.

Edited by Pepsicolaboy

You know ive NEVER played a God of War game? Crazy.
 
Anyway - sold.

Posted by Milkman

If this included Chains of Olympus, I'd be a lot more interested.

Posted by DukeTogo

I've got GoW II, finished the first years ago, and my PS3 is an original 60 gig with b/c.  Maybe if it was $30, or if it was included in a special GoW III box for $20 more, but as it is it's just not enough - especially with the great stuff already out right now.  The demo will also eventually be online, and later useless when the game comes out, so I don't see how any can put any value on it.
 
A used purchase in several months perhaps.

Posted by illmatic19

If only I could find $40 laying around...

Posted by Dudacles

It's cool that they're putting this out for 40 bucks, but I've already got GoW I and II on the PS2. Yeah, they look aged, but that's not nearly enough incentive for me to buy this package. I'll just keep playing the original games.

Edited by Yummylee

Awesome, sadly what i've got in stead is the waiting game, waiting for when this will be released in the UK >=/
Online
Posted by Ghostiet

TROPHIES?

As a Trophy whore, I am getting this shit in quite some time.

Posted by get2sammyb

Got my import this morning. Can't wait to jump in.

Posted by GalacticPunt

It's already been said once in these comments, but I'll say it again.  This Game's Resolution Is 720p.  It's clearly stated on the box, and on the introductory page of the manual, and by the developer's in their behind-the-scenes video put online this week.
 
They're proud of 720, there's nothing wrong with 720, 720 is obviously looking good on your 1080p TV.  But it hurts the review to state something like that, that is obviously objectively wrong.  Easy to fix.

Posted by spankingaddict

4 out of 5 my ass. Gow 1 & 2 are are among the best games ever released...

Edited by BoOzak

Went back & played the first two on the PS2 briefly & this does look quite alot better shame about the pre-rendered in-engine movies but what can you do..

Posted by Kohe321

Great review, I'm getting this.

Posted by Brackynews

Mmmmm, Balrog Sammich.

Posted by Vigilance

I hated the first game. 
 
Actually, even that's too strong.  
 
It was just boring and dumb, and made me not want to play it. 

Posted by Meltbrain

Totally getting this. Thanks so much for the review, Mr. Shoemaker.

Posted by Eidderf

You could say this game is godly.

Posted by Brad
@GalacticPunt said:
" It's already been said once in these comments, but I'll say it again.  This Game's Resolution Is 720p.  It's clearly stated on the box, and on the introductory page of the manual, and by the developer's in their behind-the-scenes video put online this week.  They're proud of 720, there's nothing wrong with 720, 720 is obviously looking good on your 1080p TV.  But it hurts the review to state something like that, that is obviously objectively wrong.  Easy to fix. "
 
I'll double-check and update the review, but my TV at work specifically said it was receiving a 1080p signal while I was playing the game, and the PS3 itself doesn't upscale.
Staff
Posted by Valkyr
@Brad: I think that the PS3 upscales things by software, in comparison to the 360 which has a built-in upscaler
Posted by Baziel
@Abyssfull said:
" Awesome, sadly what i've got in stead is the waiting game, waiting for when this will be released in the UK >=/ "
Order it online? That's what I did, I dont like the waiting game :p
Posted by theleatherman
@Abyssfull: i live in the uk aswell, no need to wait, you can buy this on www.videogamesplus.ca :)   region 1 games work on pal systems :) ive ordered myn, should be arriving next week sometime. i had to buy mlb 09 the show off this site seeing as they didnt release that game over in the uk:(  and u shouldnt have 2 pay import tax either because  its from canada
Posted by Yummylee
@theleatherman:
Ohhhh right, well cheerz mate for the tips 8).
Online
Posted by Whisperkill

Meh, God of War's combat is nowhere near as deep as DMC's
Posted by Media_Master

Trophies!!!!

Posted by Spacetrucking
@Media_Master: TOO MANY TROPHIES! :)
 
I never played GoW 1 so I'll definitely give this a try. And dude...David Jaffee!
Posted by KingX

I own both but I think Im gonna be a sonywhore and buy myself the this collection anyhow.
I totally love the god of war games! 
And seeing the old games look a bit better is just golden

Posted by Bouke

Never played God of War 1 or 2, i did play Chains of Olympus, so this sounds interesting. And easy trophies you say!? Mmmm now i only need to not have a job, so i have more gaming time!
Posted by Godlyawesomeguy

I need a PS3
Edited by rugripper40

the gameplay is great in hd but they should have updated the videos but all in all this version on the ps3 is great...plus  i pre ordered it and played the god of war 3 e3 demo...fkin a...this game is going to rock us the fk out...hell yeah 
 
i see also ur tv ur playing these ps3 games on are  jittery and lag somewhat...i have a 8500 series 55 inch  superflat samsung led...theres never any lag...2ms refresh rate in 1080p  1920 x 1080  240 mhz motion flow    games look pretty sweet on it and run great
Posted by NTM

The only problem I have with the HD versions is how it doesn't support Dolby Digital, only Dolby Pro Logic II. I find it awkward that they wouldn't put that in.