Posted by John on September 17, 2011

Kratos Needs to Pay a Visit to Jack Nicholson

I admit it, I suffered from Kratos fatigue. The Spartan’s near endless quest for vengeance had worn thin with me thousands of deaths ago. However, when I read my buddy Paji’s review of God of War: Ghost of Sparta I knew that I would eventually have to play the PSP God of War games. If you don’t know anything about the games then I urge you to check out Paji and Sam Bishop’s review of God of War: Chains of Olympus. Both games were given a score of 9.5, which was well deserved and shows you that these were both excellent games already.

The God of War: Origins Collection adds quite a bit to the PSP titles. The $40 price tag gets you two great games in 1080p HD and 3D, trophies, and, most importantly, the right analog stick. Why exactly is that so important? I know from reading about the games as they were released on the PSP that one of the biggest complaints was rolling. Now, with the second analog stick, it plays just like its console counterparts. All of these upgrades make the games easily worth its $40 price of admission.

For those of you who have never played a God of War game, the basic premise is simple. Kratos is one angry dude and he is going to make sure everyone around him is as miserable as he is. In all seriousness, he is a divisive anti-hero that goes on a quest to rid himself of his hellish past and take vengeance on those who have wronged him. It just so happens that those that wronged him include everyone on Olympus, just about every person in the underworld, and everything else in between. When I said that Kratos was divisive, I meant it: just a simple Internet search leads you topics that hail him as the greatest bad ass to walk the Earth and on the same page you’ll see him called “an insufferable, whiny douche.” No matter what camp you’re in, though (and it should be obvious which side I’m on), you have to recognize that the quality of the games he’s in. Even though the combat is shallow compared to titles like Bayonetta and the Ninja Gaiden, all of the games are a load of fun. Some even think that God of War III may be the best that the PS3 has to offer.

Anyway, I’ll stop railing on Kratos and get back to the task at hand. Chains of Olympus serves as a prequel to the very first game and Ghost of Sparta slots between God of War and God of War II. CoO features Morpheus, who has cast a spell on the world and it is up to Kratos to save it from ruin. GoS has Kratos travel to Atlantis and fleshes out his back story by introducing us to his mother and brother. Both games look great with their HD upgrades, though GoS puts CoO to shame. In fact, I would go as far as saying that GoS could have passed as a full fledged PS3 game with a little work to its textures. Neither game will take longer than eight or so hours to complete but there is some post game stuff, including challenges and treasures that can only be used in a second playthrough.

There are some small technical hiccups that I would like to call attention to. First, to go from one game to the other you have to quit to the XMB. It’s a minor inconvenience but it would have made sense to let you swap from one game to the next by backing out to the menu. Both games suffer from brief lockups that correct themselves. These occur after saving, before a cutscene comes on, or even when you’re just moving from one area to the next. The camera also seems to work against you in parts, especially in the transition from climbing to hanging, but if you’ve played the series before you’ll quickly get the hang of it. It’s sad when the only things I can point to as flaws are this minor but that’s just another sign of how great this collection is. Sure, if you hate quicktime events you will probably loathe both of these games, but, if you hate them so much you probably know to avoid this series like it’s the plague.

If you have never played either of these games on PSP then now is the absolute best chance to check them out. I remember the hype surrounding Ghost of Sparta after its release and now I understand why so many people say it may be the best game in the series. Chains of Olympus is no slouch either, but it does show a lot of age (what do you mean I can’t just slide down?) for a game that’s only three-and-a-half years old. If you did get a chance to try these out in their original forms then I’ll leave it up to you if you want to double dip. I can honestly say that I prefer these two to the previous collection and would recommend it, along with God of War III as the best that the series has to offer. Definitely check it out if you have so much as a passing interest in the series and if you have to, just mute your TV when Kratos starts talking.

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