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Michael Kontoudis
05 Feb, 2010

God of War Collection Review

PS3 Review | Import: Beware of Greeks bearing blades.
In many ways, reviewing the God of War: Collection for PlayStation 3 is an exercise in utter simplicity. Most gamers who had the benefit of owning a PlayStation 2 console (and by golly there are a lot of them out there) understand the greatness of the original God of War and its even more bombastic sequel, God of War 2, and the prospect of packing two seminal titles onto a single disc, refurbishing them, and selling them at a discount price will no doubt prove attractive. The reality is, of course, that a host of gamers, both experienced and new to the medium, have never before encountered the Ghost of Sparta and will see the God of War: Collection as something of an unknown quantity. This review will attempt to answer two direct questions: has the Collection done justice to two highly-regarded favourites of yesteryear, and is it worth playing for those yet to be initiated into the cult of Kratos?


Kratos makes a bid for Olympic gold in rhythmic gymnastics.

Kratos makes a bid for Olympic gold in rhythmic gymnastics.
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For the neophytes, the God of War series tells the story of Kratos, a Spartan warrior whose lust for blood leads him down the dark path to self-destruction. Soon enough, the ‘Ghost of Sparta’ finds himself a slave to the Gods of Olympus and chooses to rebel in the most brutal fashion imaginable. The narrative of both games is pure hokum, but the clever way in which the tropes, icons and figures of Greek mythology have been updated gives the series a sense of freshness not shared by the floppy-haired casts of every other anime-inspired action title.

The melodrama plays out in the form of an action-adventure, comprising accessible combat, exploration and puzzle-solving. Even by today’s standards, both of the games in Collection represent sterling examples of terrific pacing and seamless transitions of different gameplay mechanics. One minute sees Kratos pulling levers and leaping over traps, while the next sees him engaged in an eye-boggling set-piece battle against a lumbering colossus, and it is this varied and consistently measured approach to progression and level design which makes the God of War titles so engaging. The combat system itself is fairly rudimentary, owing more to titles like Final Fight than any heavyweights in the action genre such as Devil May Cry or Bayonetta, but it is instantly accessible and satisfying from start to finish. The litany of upgrades available for each of Kratos’ primary weapons wards off any scent of repetition, and overall, one would be hard-pressed to name another entry in the genre which is as gratifying as the games on offer in Collection. These games are beloved pieces of pop-entertainment for a reason; they are welcoming and mainstream but never relinquish any of their sense of challenge.


Traversal of gorgeous levels is one of the series' great pleasures.

Traversal of gorgeous levels is one of the series' great pleasures.
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Overall, Collection plays even better than the two games did in their original iterations. Controls are smooth and responsive, and aided by an enhanced framerate which appears to remain locked at a consistent sixty frames-per-second across both titles. If you have never played either of the God of War titles, this is the place to start. For many, returning to the PlayStation 2 iterations will be unbearable in light of the improved performance on display in Collection.

Along with the buttery-smooth framerate, Collection boasts HD-quality visuals, and believe us, the improvement in resolution and image quality is astounding. For series’ veterans, the games will seem new and vital, and those who have never seen the originals will wonder how the titles ever ran on the PlayStation 2 hardware. God of War 2 in particular boasts graphics so detailed and laden with effects that it outstrips many titles of the current generation. These were always gorgeous games, but Collection ensures that gamers can throw aside their rose-tinted nostalgia-goggles and behold these classics as the technical showcases they represented at the time of their release. Sadly, the only fly in the ointment is the quality of the game’s video scenes. These cinemas, whether FMV or in-engine animations, are held back by the quality in which they were originally rendered, and the result is that watching Collection can be somewhat of a bumpy, uneven experience, ranging from the sublime to the sloppy. Still, the game is gorgeous where it counts, and is best experienced on the largest high-definition set one can muster. The sublime orchestral score and pounding effects sound as wonderful as they ever did also. All in all, what was once regarded as beautiful is beautiful once more, and has us salivating at the prospect of other titles in the PlayStation 2 back catalogue being afforded the same loving rejuvenation.


These screenshots accompanied the second game's original release. This time, however, the visuals really do look this good.

These screenshots accompanied the second game's original release. This time, however, the visuals really do look this good.
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As a package, Collection is a tremendous bargain, offering two substantial adventures and a raft of bonus content which was previously available as part of the limited edition releases of the originals. There is little else to be found on the disc, but the addition of trophies makes a profound difference to the lifespan of both games, giving veterans a chance to display their prowess to the world at large.

To answer the questions posed in the introductory paragraph, God of War: Collection is a sleek, tidy culmination of two of the most influential, engrossing action-adventures ever made, delivering both games in their definitive iteration. If you already own both of these titles, buy Collection to experience them as they should be experienced. If you are new to the series, begin your education by sampling what God of War: Collection has to offer. With no confirmed Australian release date for the stand-alone collection, you may have to turn to your local importer to track down a copy or purchase the upcoming Ultimate Trilogy Edition of God of War III; trust us, you will be glad you did.
The Score
A terrific compilation which gives two of the best games of the previous console generation the tender, loving care they deserve. Utterly essential for everyone with a PlayStation 3. 9
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related God of War Collection Content

God of War Collection gets an Australian release
25 Mar, 2010 Twice the anger, half the price.
God of War 1 & 2 remastered
01 Sep, 2009 On a Blu-Ray disc with trophy support.
God of War: Chains of Olympus Review
15 Apr, 2008 Can you defy the God of War, when he's in your hands?
14 Comments
4 years ago
I already have both games on PS2, but without a doubt will have to get this. Can't wait to play these games again! Kratos is almost as badass as Jack Bauer.
4 years ago
I'm 2/3rds of the ways through this and completely agree with your review Michael. It is truly amazing that these were originally released on PS2, the upgrade in frame rate and to HD make this last generation mega hit one of the greatest to have graced the current gen. Highly recommend importing this to all(or wait for the uber cool GOW3 Collectors release which has these packed in)
4 years ago
i still think a proper colelction should have included a remastered version of chains of olympus as well; as short as it was, it was still a brilliant bit of backstory for kratos
4 years ago
FeralOni wrote
i still think a proper colelction should have included a remastered version of chains of olympus as well; as short as it was, it was still a brilliant bit of backstory for kratos
Yeah, but being a PSP title, how well would of it transferred to the HD PS3 format. I can't imagine it would of to well.
4 years ago
So this isn't going to be made available here in backwards land?
4 years ago
Another thing... the import version has a code to download the GOW3 E3 demo.

I have played GOW 1 and 2 many times and still own them (and have a BC PS3 to play them), but its worth getting the collection to enjoy it again in HD.
4 years ago
In relation to the God of War III demo, not all copies of the Collection contain code for same, and the way I understand it, only a very small number of early copies contained it.
4 years ago
Yep I got this off ebay ages ago and it is awesome. Unfortunately there was no GOW3 demo.
4 years ago
Michael Kontoudis wrote
In relation to the God of War III demo, not all copies of the Collection contain code for same, and the way I understand it, only a very small number of early copies contained it.
Fair enough I just assumed it came with them all. I guess by the time it comes out here, no one will have any use for the code anyway.

P.S the demo IMO was fantastic.
4 years ago
The only local release it's getting as far as I know is as a part of a GoW3 ultra mega package.
4 years ago
FeralOni wrote
i still think a proper colelction should have included a remastered version of chains of olympus as well; as short as it was, it was still a brilliant bit of backstory for kratos
Agreed. It would have been worth the extra time & effort to bring this title up to the current gen standard of the original two as it is an exceptional PSP title and is very fitting of the GoW name stamped on the box.
4 years ago
I'll probably end up getting a PS3 at some point for GoW and Heavy Rain.
4 years ago
Good review.

Also agree that the improved resolution and frame rate is a BRILLIANT upgrade. Any good PS2 game would sell well with this type of work.

And don't believe the dodgy comparison between the re-done version and the original PS2 version that GameTrailers tried to show. On screen, the game is way better than it originally was.
4 years ago
Imported for $50.

Best $50 spent.
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| More
  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  29/04/2010 (Confirmed)
Publisher:
  Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre:
  Action
Year Made:
  2009

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