6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Volume one's little brother,
This review is from: God of War Collection: Volume 2 (PS3) (Video Game)
Well, seeing as when I reviewed both of these games on PSP originally I gave them both 5 stars for being head and shoulders above any other action games available on handhelds it would follow that of course this PS3 upgraded collection of both is a 5 star no brainer, right? Believe me, these games are still fantastic, but on a big screen, stacked up against their home console predecessors? Sadly you can see the limitations they were built under a lot more clearly than you could on a PSP screen... but damn are these still some good gaming.
Both games are obviously prequels to the main God of War games, with Chains of Olympus being a prequel to the first game and Ghost of Sparta a prequel to the second. Chains of Olympus follows Kratos' quest to the underworld to find the missing sun God, Helios, at the behest of Goddess Athena as Kratos' nightmares about his bloody past torment him. Ghost of Sparta meanwhile follows Kratos on a journey to find out the truth behind what happened to his long-thought-dead brother, who is apparently still alive. I don't think Kratos has any nightmares in that one, but there are a lot of flashbacks. The plots in both games are pretty decent, but of course are little more than set up for lots of violence. This isn't the place to come for character development or intricately layered story telling as really... the plots in any God of War title don't need to be about anything other than Kratos' being very very angry all the time and pulling various living creatures and the occasional monster apart with his bare hands. The stories are fun enough and well put together though, I'll give them that.
The gameplay is fast, intuitive and smooth to control as ever, with high impact, rewarding combat and perhaps a bit less focus on the puzzles and platforming elements compared to the main GoW games in both games. The gameplay is more or less identical to the main series, just on a somewhat smaller scale for obvious reasons. One really stand out thing I noticed though is that these games are actually considerably easier with a Dualshock controller than they were on PSP, as the significantly easier control set up (Most especially with regard to dodging) makes the majority of both titles a walk over. I actually had to restart Chains on the highest difficulty I could access because it was so easy, and even then the biggest challenge was in the fairly strict timing needed for the QTE segments. Ghost of Sparta proves a bit harder, but really, neither title is anywhere close to the kind of crushing difficulty you'd get in the hardest difficulty in God of War 3. Challenge issues aside, the games are certainly still great fun to play, don't get me wrong, but they are a notable step down on numerous fronts from the God of War releases we've already seen on PS3 to date and you'll breeze through both titles fairly quickly. Both games have bonuses to unlock and challenges to try (That ARE harder than the main games it must be said), but between those and the trophies I'd say the most you could expect to get out of this package as a whole is probably around 15 hours or so of gaming... which isn't so bad I guess for a lower retail priced collection like this, but still...
Visually, both games obviously show their handheld beginnings, with Chains of Olympus in particular looking quite sparse and empty a lot of the time... However, the updated visuals really do work wonders with both games, most especially in the case of Ghost of Sparta, which now looks comparable visually to God of War 2 in the previous GoW collection and boasts some mighty impressive visual set pieces and texture work for a game ported from a handheld. Despite the relatively minor shortcomings on Chains of Olympus' part on the visual front, both games do look great, with ultra sharp, clean visuals and a completely unbroken 60fps frame rate from beginning to end of both titles. Couple this with the usual high standard soundtrack work and hilariously OTT voice work you get in this series and you have a technically impressive package that may not stack up well against other PS3 titles, but taken for what it is is a lot more impressive than you may be expecting.
So, yeah, both of these games are still really really great fun to play... but there's no getting away from the fact that on a big screen, they're clearly watered down spinoffs of the main God of War trilogy. I'd still strongly recommend this collection of course, but would advise that anyone buying it keep their expectations realistic and remember that these are handheld games with some graphical upgrades... don't go expecting God of War 3 levels of scale or design.