"Ripping People in Half for Half Price"
The advent of HD re-releases is a good thing for gamers. Gone are the days when looking for an old game meant scouring various specialty stores, paying large secondary sums, and hoping the used copy wasn't damaged. Now, gamers can acquire many of medium's classics in a format that's not only compatible with their current systems, but at a comparatively lower price as well. One of the best recent examples is God of War Saga Collection, a package that contains the entirety of Kratos' bloodstained adventures for only $40 USD, a bargain that cannot be overlooked.
By now most gamers have at least heard of God of War, Sony's hyper-violent series of action/adventure games. When Kratos debuted in 2005's God of War for the PlayStation 2, he took the industry by storm with the sheer audacity of his barbarism. *Spoiler Alert Begins* The story follows the so-called Ghost of Sparta, a warrior who made a pact with Ares (the original Greek god of war) for power, but he ended up becoming a monster who killed his wife and child in a fit of warrior's madness. Understandably plagued by guilt, the only way Kratos can keep himself going is by taking his vengeance on all of the Greek gods, and absolutely nothing will get in his way. By the end of the series, Kratos has literally destroyed the heavens and earth in his quest for revenge, making the player an accomplice in his murder of millions.*Spoiler Alert Ends*
If Mortal Kombat introduced video games to gratuitous violence, then God of War redefined what it meant to be a gory game. As you will experience in God of War Saga Collection, Kratos tears his enemies apart with his bare hands, slices through hordes of monsters like they are made of tissue paper, and tears down creatures as big as entire cities. However, there's more to the Ghost of Sparta than gratuitous violence, and the superb quality of the games is what's made the franchise one of Sony's staples. The controls are simultaneously complex and fluid, encouraging players to pull off elaborate combos and rewarding them with more devastating moves. The levels are vast and beautifully rendered, and the puzzle segments offer a nice, short break between bloodbaths that allows the player to enjoy the scenery. God of War also helped popularize the quick-time events (QTEs), pulling into button-matching mini-games at the end of each boss battle. Though nowadays they're common to the point of cliche, the mini-games in God of War added to the game's flavor, pulling the player directly into the moment so they can pull off an epic and brutal coup de grace.
Every God of War game has launched to rave reviews, and the God of War Saga Collection contains all five titles: God of War and God of War 2 for the PS2, God of War 3 for the PS3, and GOW: Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta for the PSP. The Saga package is a roughly arranged set, as it comes with two discs (one for the PS2 games and one for the PS3 game), a digital voucher for the HD versions of the PSP games, and a code for one month of PlayStation Plus membership. For $40 USD, this is an exceptional deal, especially with the extra month of PlayStation Plus that's included. The value definitely makes up for the inconvenience of spending hours downloading the games from the Origins collection.
The only problem with the content itself is unfortunately highlighted by the nature of the compilation. The God of War games are excellent, but they all play largely the same. The graphics vary depending on the console each game was originally made for (though the older ones have been remastered in HD), and the stories are consistently interesting, but the formula introduced in the original remains the same throughout the series. Then again, the God of War formula doesn't need tinkering when it's so disgustingly fun. If you're a player of the appropriate age and ability to stomach blood and gore, you can't do much better than God of War Saga Collection.
GameDynamo's Score for God of War Saga Collection (PS3)
Neil Kapit is a freelance writer, cartoonist, and "La Li Lu Le Lo" agent based in Los Angeles. His work can be seen on www.therubynation.com.
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