God of War Origins Collection makes sense as the first PSP remaster series game for North America. By bringing Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta to the PS3, PlayStation 3 owners can experience all of Kratos’ journey. Okay, fine, PS3 owners still don’t have God of War: Betrayal, but that’s just a cell phone game and side-story anyways.
As the title suggests, God of War Origins Collection contains the two PSP games that chronologically take place at the beginning of Kratos’ ordeal and set up later entries in the series. God of War: Chains of Olympus is the very first game. The story takes place while Kratos pledged service to the gods to gain forgiveness for his bloodlust and inadvertent murder of his family. Kratos is called to defend Attica when it is attacked by Persians. Once the battle is won, the Sun disappears and darkness covers the land. He realizes that Morpheus has become all powerful due to Helios being kidnapped and the gods are powerless as they’ve fallen asleep. Kratos is then tasked to rescue the kidnapped sun god Helios.
God of War: Ghost of Sparta is technically the third game, and set after the events in God of War. Kratos is the current God of War and has received the forgiveness he was working for, but his nightmares never ended. Athena cautions him against seeking answers for this, but he heads to Poseidon’s Temple anyways. There, he finds his mother Callisto, who tells him who his father is, but is transformed into a monster as a result, after ending her suffering, Kratos then learns from her that his brother, Deimos, is still alive and has been held captive by Thanatos, god of death, all these years. Kratos then goes to honor her last wish and save Deimos.
Both games are standard beat ’em ups. Kratos moves through areas inspired by Grecian mythology and tears through hordes of enemies using his Blades of Chaos/Athena and magic spells. Occasionally, a stronger opponent or boss will show up, which Kratos will weaken with standard attacks and spells and then finish off with a quick time event triggered by pressing the circle button and then performing a chain of actions within a limited amount of time. Failing the QTE (quick time event) restores a little of the opponent’s health and requires you to go through it again.
While they aren’t RPGs, both games in the God of War Origins Collection offer ways to enhance Kratos, his weapons and his abilities. Defeating enemies, crushing environmental objects (lots of urns!) and opening chests yield different colored orbs. Red orbs can be spent on upgrading equipment and spells and unlocking costumes or videos. Green orbs restore health and blue orbs refill the magic gauge. Kratos can also find hidden Gorgon Eyes, Phoenix Feathers and Minotaur Horns to upgrade health, magic and the Thera’s Bane meter in Ghost of Sparta. The equipment and magic upgrading is a helpful motivational tool, as it drives you to defeat every possible enemy you can find and go through the extra Challenge modes so you can make Kratos more powerful.
Visually, both games in the God of War: Origins Collection look pretty fantastic. Granted, it doesn’t look as amazing as a game created specifically for the PS3, like God of War III, but I’d say it’s on par with footage I’ve seen of the HD remasters of God of War and God of War II in the God of War Collection. At times, I would probably even say it looks better, especially some scenes and characters in God of War: Ghost of Sparta. Plus, you’ll probably notice lots of details you probably didn’t pick up on or catch when playing either game on the PSP, like clothing accents or perhaps statue details.
What is kind of neat is that you can control how the God of War: Origins Collection looks. If you have the right equipment, you can see everything in stereoscopic 3D. I couldn’t test it out, but it’s good to know it will be there for people who can make use of it. You can also determine the screen size and dimensions before you play, to get it showing perfectly on your set-up. You may want to adjust the brightness level on your TV before playing either game though, as Kratos can end up in some rather dark areas. Having Morpheus drape the world in darkness while Helios is gone or journeying through death’s realm does that.
The one thing I did notice is how simplistic Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta feel, now that they’re on somewhat-equal footing with their console counterparts God of War I–III. I borrowed the first two PS2 games from a friend before beginning this playtest, to know what I was getting into and get a feel for the series. You really notice how the puzzles and challenges don’t seem as in-depth or complicated in the PSP remastered titles. They’re still both fun and well made games and there are a few challenging moments where you have to think rather than button-mash-assault everything in sight, but if you immediately went from playing one of the remastered PS2 games or the PS3 game to this, you’d really see what had to be left behind due to the PSP’s limitations. This comes up more often in Chains of Olympus than in Ghost of Sparta though.
I can imagine that it wouldn’t be as noticeable if you actually played the games on a PSP first, but once they’re on your PS3 and on the big screen, it’s noticeable. On the other hand, it does help you appreciate some of the things the PSP is capable of, because both games did transition so well to HD on the PS3. That, and it’s not like the difference is at all drastic. If pressed, I’d say the God of War Origins Collection ports look like games that were made specifically for the PS3 as PSN downloads.
The God of War Origins Collection works wonderfully on the PS3. It plays well, looks great and gives people with the system to see Kratos’ full story if they so desire. Plus, it’s not a bad deal for the price. If you were to go get God of War: Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta new for your PSP, you’d pay $19.99 and $29.99. Getting them bundled together in HD with trophies, 3D support and a documentary for $39.99 ends up making more sense.
Food for Thought
- It’s handy that the dodging actions are linked to the left analog stick, as it’s easier to use that then the L1 or R1 button and right analog stick to avoid enemy attacks. It fits in well with the fast-paced battles.
- If you’re looking to earn some easy trophies, both games are pretty good for that. You can easily unlock some without even going out of your way.
- God of War: Ghost of Sparta also includes the pre-order DLC like the God of War: Game Directors Live behind-the-scenes video, Legionnaire costume for Kratos, Forest of the Forgotten Challenge area.
- Be careful not to press random buttons during story scenes in either game, as there’s a toggle switch to make subtitles appear and disappear.
- There are quite a few unlockables in and multiple difficulty levels for both games.
- It’s quite graphic, so keep that in mind going in. If you don’t care for adult situations and lots of blood/gore, then Kratos’ adventures aren’t for you.