Despite really enjoying the "God of War" series, I'd gladly admit that I missed out on "God of War: Ghost of Sparta" when it released on PSP towards the end of last year. Chalk it up to a busy holiday season, mashed together with me not being terribly fond of Sony's handheld. So the news that the game would be re-released in high definition on the PS3 as "God Of War: Origins Collection" was welcome indeed. Better graphics, better platform, trophy support and, wouldn't you know, it's bundled with the first "God of War" PSP game, "Chains of Olympus," which has also received a visual update, all for $40. Sounds like a pretty good deal, right? Well it's not. It's a terrific deal.
Just before the release of "God of War 3," Sony re-released the first two "God of War" games in a bundle called "God of War Collection." "God of War: Origins Collection" is the exact same idea, a bundle of the first two "God of War" PSP games, complete with updated graphics and trophy support.
Like every "God of War" game ever made, both titles feature Kratos, a Spartan warrior who has a bit of an anger problem. Despite first releasing on the PSP, the two games bear all the hallmarks of the franchise, from 360-degree combat to extreme gore to experience-based character progression.
If You Haven't Played Them, They're New To You!
I'm sure there are plenty of "God of War" fans out there who never played the PSP installments because, well, they were on the PSP. With "Origins Collection" there's officially no excuse. While the two games don't do much to break the "God of War" mold, they are tremendously fun experiences which actually reveal some pertinent details regarding the history of Kratos. "Ghost of Sparta," in particular, focuses on elements of the character that were only hinted at in the first game and never mentioned again.
Fire Walk With Me
The biggest novelty, gameplay-wise, appears in "Ghost of Sparta," which introduced the ability to light Kratos' blades on fire, adding extra damage to attacks. There's a meter which refills almost instantly so long as you're not holding down the trigger to activate it. This fire ability isn't reliant on your magic meter, so folks accustomed to hording mana needn't worry. Really it's just a new variable for you to toss into the mix, and it really should be considered for any future "God of War" games, as it adds strategy without needing to worry about running out of magic and working yourself into a corner.
On The Big Screen
It's important to note that "God of War: Origins Collection" does not look nearly as good as "God of War 3" did. These were PSP games, after all. And yet, both titles look sharp and never ugly, with great art design trumping the lower number of polygons. The games look considerably better than the "God of War Collection" re-releases, too, so you needn't worry about eye-strain.
There are two groups of people who should definitely not buy this game. The first group: People who are expecting something vastly different from the other "God of War" games. Although excellent, the formula in both PSP releases is ripped straight from the console games. There's definitely a new weapon or ability here and there, but mostly it's a return to the familiar.
The second group: If you played both PSP games already. HD visuals and trophy support is nice, but if you've already played these games, only extreme "God of War" die-hards would feel like playing through them again. There's no extra content to discover that wasn't on the PSP releases, so really it's just about re-playing games you already own. That seems terribly wasteful in this down economy.
If there's a single "God of War" fan that hasn't played these PSP installments, "God of War: Origins Collection" is an absolute steal. We're talking about 12 new(ish) hours of "God of War" content for $40. And with no new "God of War" games in sight, this could be it for a long while.
Newcomers to "God of War," "Chains of Olympus" actually takes place before the first "God of War" game, so if you're looking for a good place to start, you've found it. "Ghost of Sparta" actually takes place after the first game, though, so keep that in mind when trying to keep the chronology straight.
Even without the franchise, the "Origins Collection" brings together two extremely fun games at a budget price. If your PS3 has been feeling lonesome, this is a great way to perk it right up.