God of War: Origins Collection
Developer: Ready At Dawn/SCE Santa Monica Studio
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
North American Release Date: September 13th, 2011
European Release Date: September 16th, 2011
Trophies: God of War: Chains of Olympus 1 || 5 || 10 || 20
God of War: Ghost of Sparta 1 || 5 || 10 || 20
God of War: Origins Collection is a re-release of Kratos' two PSP adventures in HD format with trophies, in the same vein as the original God of War Collection. Included in the release, whether purchase on Blu-ray or downloaded from PSN are God of War: Chains of Olympus and God of War: Ghost of Sparta, both of which aim to provide backstory for Kratos and hint more at some of the motivations of certain characters in later installments.
Gameplay in the Origins Collection is much the same as in other God of War games - a good mix of hack 'n' slash and puzzle elements. The addition of new weapons and new magic in each game offer a standard God of War experience in that there is no standard God of War experience. While some of these new offerings may feel similar to those in other titles, there are just enough innovations or unique aspects to these tools to keep things interesting.
Both games offer new weapons and magic for Kratos to use.
The difficulty levels, however, could use some work. Far from the balanced and arguably cunningly-crafted difficulty levels of the main trilogy, the higher difficulty levels in both Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta feel rough and unpolished. There are enormous stretches where one can go without dying at all, even on their first playthrough, and then there are portion where you feel like you've hit a brick wall and need to take a break. Speaking as an extremely veteran God of War player, that's not a good feeling.
Both games in this collection were created to introduce more backstory into the series. Chains of Olympus is set before the first game, while Ghost of Sparta takes place between the first and second.
Chains of Olympus, while providing an interesting story, doesn't seem to fit all that well into the storyline of the saga. While savvy players will notice connections in God of War III, they are fleeting at best, and certainly don't make up for the lack of connections between Chains of Olympus' story and that of the later two games in the series. With Atlas being a fairly central character in each game, it's disturbing that there's not more effort to integrate these appearance and make them flush with each other. That being said, for a rather contained and seemingly unconnected story, the story that Chains of Olympus does offer is a good one, and offers a little insight into the nature of Kratos' humanity.
Both games offer new insight into Kratos' backstory, and each has its own enjoyable plot.
Ghost of Sparta, however, offers plenty of such insight and an enormous number of these connections to other games in the series. Wrapping up plenty of loose ends concerning Kratos' family and conflicts with the gods, this game is fun throughout and ranks as one of the best of the series so far - which is definitely saying something, given God of War's reception as a saga.
While the graphics in these titles won't be winning any major contests, that's an excusable offense because they're PSP titles, and the graphics are tight despite not being flashy. There are no framerate issues to speak of, and the HD makeover is clean and crisp. While the graphics themselves are on the fuzzy side, they're nicely done in 720p. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to try out the 3D capabilities, but I've heard good things.
While the graphics are great for PSP titles, they're not top of the line for the PS3. Luckily, the HD skinning is fabulously done.
As for the audio, God of War once again hits it out of the park. Mixing some of the best tracks of the series with new material, the score for these two games is phenomenal. Nothing to complain about here.
The trophies for these two titles are fairly typical of God of War games, including trophies for finding all Phoenix Feathers, Gorgon Eyes, and the like, as well as plenty of story trophies. Additionally, they include the requisite Challenge of the Gods/Hades trophies, as well as ones for beating each game on Hard. Even compared to God of War III, that's no mean feat, and should offer up the platinum only to those who really want it. Neither one is an excruciating plat, but neither is all that easy either.
Going for the typical $40 selling price of all Classics HD and remastered collections, the Origins Collection is a must-buy for absolutely any God of War fan. While Chains of Olympus isn't phenomenal, it's far from awful, and Ghost of Sparta offers arguably one of the best gameplay experiences of the series so far. Again, all God of War fans will want to buy this as even after the platinum you'll probably want to go through again. And even if you're not a super huge follower of Kratos, it's still worth a dabble if you're at all interested. You can't go wrong.
It's God of War. You know what you're getting here, and that's not a bad thing at all.
Singleplayer: 8/10 (Chains of Olympus) + 9/10 (Ghost of Sparta)
Chains of Olympus has a decent story, and Ghost of Sparta's is stellar. Both games are integral to Kratos' story, and you'll want to play them both.
Solid graphics, especially for PSP titles, and crisp, fabulous audio. Sound games technically.
Overall: 8.5/10 Superb