It ain’t easy being the God of War. Maybe it’s not surprising considering his ominous job title, but Kratos’ life consists mostly of fighting an assortment of evil mythological creatures and gods or being ordered around by the sanctimonious “good” gods who want him to kill things for them.
And in the quiet moments when he’s not busy running around causing death and destruction, Kratos is haunted by vivid visions of the violent death of his wife and daughter. No wonder he’s always sullen and yells at everyone.
Can you imagine what would happen if Kratos didn’t have half-naked Greek maidens waiting to bed him and he had to try his hand at an online dating service? No one would want to go out with him with all that baggage.
Luckily, “God of War” meets “Catherine” isn’t in the works and we won’t have to simulate Kratos’ disappointing dinner dates. Instead, we get games like the two titles that make up the new “God of War: Origins Collection” for the PlayStation 3 -- “Chains of Olympus” and “Ghost of Sparta.” Both are packed full of everything we’ve enjoyed about God of War over the years: Bloody, gruesome combo-heavy combat, epic battles against massive bosses, light puzzle elements, and dark ancient mythological stories.
“God of War: Chains of Olympus” acts a prequel to the original game and follows Kratos on his quest to free sun god Helios and bright back light into the world. “God of War: Ghost of Sparta” is set between the first and second game in the series and finds our hero plagued by a strange vision involving his brother. Believing he can alter the vision, Kratos sets off for Atlantis and eventually through Sparta and the realm of Thanatos, the god of death.
If this all sounds very familiar, it’s because both gamers were previously released on the PSP. Part of the idea is that plenty of God of War fans who don’t own Sony’s portable now have a chance to experience them on the big screen.
But even those who have played them before might want to check out the Origins Collection because it’s not just a direct 1-to-1 transfer to a different system. The action and animations are smoother because of an increased framerate and the new high-definition coat of paint makes the already attractive visuals even better, even if they still don’t completely match up to the jaw-dropping graphics of “God of War 3.” The change from the hand cramping controls of the PSP to the regular PS3 controller is also a welcome addition.
Gamers with 3D televisions get a special treat as well, as the Origins Collection can be played in stereoscopic 3D. As opposed to the headache inducing 3D effects in first person shooters like “Call of Duty: Black Ops” and “Crysis 2,” the God of War games are actually a great way to experience 3D gaming because of the fixed camera angles. If there’s any game that might make you think of upgrading your TV, this is it.
There’s not much here that you haven’t seen before in other God of War entries, but Kratos’ revamped PSP adventures are still some of the best action available on consoles. Getting two great games for only $40 is a pretty incredible value.
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