God of War Collection Volume II PlayStation 3
Published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by Ready at Dawn Studios
Assuming that you're a fan of the God of War series that isn't into handheld gaming, the God of War Collection Volume II (known as God of War Origins in the US) is an absolute godsend. Volume II includes both God of War titles that have appeared exclusively, until now, on the Sony PSP and gives PlayStation 3 owners the opportunity to appreciate these two very good additions to the series. Of course you might have already played the games on the PSP and simply want to enjoy HD versions of both games with the hope that refinements have been made for them.
God of War: Chains of Olympus (you can read our full review here) was the first game in the series to appear on the PSP and served as a prequel to the original God of War game that appeared on the PlayStation 2. In some respects this was a wise move as it enabled those who were unfamiliar with the PlayStation 2 series to enjoy the game without having to feel as though they were missing out on any of the storyline from the two PlayStation 2 God of War titles. Chains of Olympus was a great game with the major difference between it and the previous God of War titles being that the puzzle elements played a much smaller part of the experience to allow the game to be focused on combat.
Whilst Chains of Olympus served as a prequel to the original God of War game, God of War: Ghost of Sparta (you can read our full review here) served as an interlude between the events of the first two God of War titles for the PlayStation 2. Kratos is being plagued by visions of his past life as a mortal. Although he is strongly advised by Athena against doing so, he decides to explore his past and search for the temple of Poseidon for answers and to attempt to change the events of his recurring vision. The game serves to add depth to Kratos' storyline and represents a significant jump in quality, both visually and in terms of gameplay, on Chains of Olympus.
The presentation of both games is impressive. Both benefit from the higher resolutions that the PlayStation 3 affords and whilst they aren't as impressive as God of War III (which is to be expected seeing as that game was designed for the PlayStation 3), they are more than good enough. Ghost of Sparta looks noticeably better however and it's clear that developers Ready at Dawn Studios managed to get a lot more out of the PSP the second time around. In some respects it's a shame that Chains of Olympus couldn't have been brought up to the same standard for this compilation although I daresay it would have been both prohibitively time consuming and expensive to do so. I was pleased to see that the use of the right analogue stick has been implemented in both games. In the PSP games you had to hold down the L & R buttons and move the analogue stick to evade but here you simply push the right analogue stick in the desired direction (the original PSP evade controls are there if you want them however). Those who have access to a 3D TV set can also benefit from 3D visuals. Trophies have also been added for both games.
The original releases of both games were subtitled although in both cases only the main dialogue was subtitled and that is still true of the games in this compilation. There are actually many minor events in both games which are not subtitled as a result and whilst these don't really carry any of the main plot threads, it's still disappointing to miss out on so much dialogue during the course of both games. The subtitles are enabled by default in both games. Tutorial messages are shown in text for both games so you'll have no problems in getting to grips with either game.
God of War Collection Volume II is an excellent package that makes it possible to play two of the finest PSP games on the PlayStation 3. The quality of both games in the collection is impressive and both games benefit from being on the PlayStation 3. Visually the games don't look as good as God of War III but they don't look out of place on the console. Most will appreciate the ability to use the right analogue stick in both games (as the PSP only has one analogue stick of course) and those with a 3D TV will appreciate that both games offer support for this technology. The collection is quite simply an excellent package for anyone with the slightest interest in the God of War series.