Perhaps more than any of its franchises, God of War stands out as the most looked-upon series in Sony's library of fantastic titles as even people who don't own a PlayStation system take a look at what Kratos is up to every time new info hits. While we still have some four months to go until we can get our hands on God of War III, the wait is being made a little bit easier with the release of the God of War Collection.
This compilation contains both God of War I and II ported over to PlayStation 3 code. This means that you don't need a backwards-compatible PS3 to play them as the collection is actually a native PlayStation 3 title, despite the content being completely untouched. While the games remain identical to their original releases, one big thing here is that they both now run in HD, and simply because of the resolution bump, they've never looked (and even played) better.
As I mentioned, the core games remain identical to their original releases. The textures, models, animations and everything else are exactly the same that you'll see on their PlayStation 2 counterparts. Rather than trying to improve a diamond, Bluepoint and Sony Santa Monica left the content alone, and I for one am pretty happy about this.
Now, one element of gameplay that has changed very slightly is that both titles feel smoother to play thanks to the increased framerate. While God of War I and II both ran pretty well on the PS2, their framerates weren't perfect and there was screen tearing aplenty. There's none of that here, and because of it, Kratos feels a tiny
bit more responsive. It's a subtle difference, one that you might only be able to notice if you've played the original versions recently, but it is indeed a nice improvement.
Given that God of War I and II have been out for years now, there's not really much new that I can say about the gameplay, though it's certainly worth mentioning that both titles hold up very, very well. Both games are every bit as fun as they were upon their release, and despite having finished both of them a couple times already, I still had an absolute blast slashing mythological beasts over and over again. Even compared to other games on the PS3, the scale and scope of the experience is virtually unmatched to this day. If you want to know the nitty-gritty details of the games, read our original reviews for God of War
and God of War II
One bit about both games that hasn't
aged well, however, are the cutscenes. There are two types of videos that play during the game: those that are entirely CG and made to look as nice as could be, and those that were rendered using in-game assets to look as close to gameplay as possible. The CG scenes still look very nice, though the video could be a little crisper (they're still standard-definition). However, the cutscenes that use in-game assets look pretty bad compared to the HD visuals of the gameplay, and the jump between the two can be pretty jarring. On the plus side, it'll make you appreciate how good the games look now, but that's just silver lining on a graying cloud.
Fans of the franchise know that God of War I and II both included plenty of behind-the-scenes content and videos, and all of that is wholly intact. The content that shipped with God of War I was viewable inside of the game (it's in the actual code rather than being a standalone video), so that's still the case. The downside is that you don't really have any controls, so you can't rewind, pause or anything like that. The stuff for God of War II, on the other hand, is viewable under the Video tab in the Xross Media Bar, so you have access to the same controls that you do for DVDs, Blu-ray discs or downloaded videos, which is great.
In both cases, like some of the in-game cutscenes, the video has not aged well. The content is all great and definitely worth watching, but you might want to don a pair of Vaseline-covered glasses beforehand.
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