What Once was Old...

No one can deny that this is an exciting time for the video game industry. Intricate plots are being woven with undeniable maturity, graphics and animations are increasingly realistic, and the quality of writers and actors has improved immensely over the last decade. To put it simply, the medium is growing and evolving, inching closer to the time-tested juggernaut that is the movie industry. This is an undeniable triumph on many levels, but there are two sides to every coin. Specifically, I'm speaking of the push towards a mass market. With a larger audience and sales expectations continually rising, there is renewed concern that the creativity of this wonderful art is being hampered. I do not mean to imply that originality is gone, as there are far too many examples of poetry in motion being released on a regular basis to backup that claim. Instead, I simply wanted to comment on the rash of remakes, rehashes, and re-releases that are currently dominating all forms of entertainment.

I'm pretty sure I own at least one of these on PS2 already.
I'm pretty sure I own at least one of these on PS2 already.

I own a lot of games that I've yet to play. I'm not proud of it, but I enjoy collecting, so I can usually justify my actions. However, one cannot help but doubt prior purchasing decisions when a new and better version always seems to be a development cycle away. This is something Hollywood has been doing since before we were born and, to a smaller extent, an exploit that the gaming industry has been working since the early days of interactive entertainment (think of all the Atari, Intellivision, Capcom, etc. collections that are released for every console). I am not actually trying to rail on this practice because, honestly, I don't know how I feel about it. I love the idea of catching up on games that I missed and getting to experience a definitive version of an already respected product. In fact, I've got a copy of The Sly Collection sitting on my shelf, Ico/Shadow of the Colossus preordered, Beyond Good & Evil HD on my mind, and God of War Collection waiting patiently in my PS3. Yet, I can't help but be disappointed that so many resources are going towards these products as opposed to something completely original.

Stabbing giants in the eye just got prettier!
Stabbing giants in the eye just got prettier!

In the end, I don't have any answers. These are just the thoughts running through my head as I start to play the God of War II HD remake today. It's good and I'm glad I'm playing it. When I played the original God of War on the PS2, I came away unimpressed. The story was interesting, but I found the combat to be too repetitive. Regardless, I fought my way through endless enemies and soaked up the drama of the Greek Gods. Then, I largely forgot about the series. However, with the recent release of God of War: Origins Collection, I've been wondering where things went with the sequels, especially given all the fanfare from stab-happy reviewers.

My first impression was that the game looks fantastic. The character models, lighting effects, animations, and environments are great. It's clear a lot of work went into the HD conversion, but it's also clear that the game must have been truly impressive in its original form. In the short time I've spent with it, the gameplay seems to be very similar to the first one. I mash the buttons and the enemies go away. The game starts with an abilitease, so I'll have a better impression of skill progression and strategy as I go further. Mostly, I'm just trying to run through the game to get the story and see the sights, so it should go quickly. Still, I'm feeling things click like I never did with the first one. I think it's just an objectively better experience.

RenegadeSaint: Last seen November 10, 2011.
RenegadeSaint: Last seen November 10, 2011.

That's it for now. I've got a couple old-school games lined up, and I'm always ready for some Reach or Borderlands. And of course, Gears 3 is around the corner and Skyrim is just over the horizon. The future looks fun. And busy.

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