God of War Origins Collection (PS3) Review

The Short


Pros

– Excellent ports of the PSP God of War games

– Includes one awesome game and one…ok one

Ghost of Sparta looks quite good in HD. Chains of Olympus…looks ok

– Has 3D support but…um…does anybody care about that?

– Controls have been modified for the Duelshock, meaning right stick rolls! Hooray!

– Runs at a consistently smooth 60 fps

– Trophy support for both games is a great addition

– All in all, this is the best version of these two games

Cons

Chains of Olympus, while looking great on the PSP, shows its technical limitations in HD

– It also feels much shorter when you play it on an console, which isn’t a plus

– I downloaded it off PSN. Don’t ever download big files off PSN

– Cutscenes (mostly in Chains of Olympus; Ghost of Sparta does them in-engine) are not upscaled, so they look…really bad. PSP quality bad

Chains of Olympus shows its hardware limitations in HD

The Long

As I did in my God of War Collection review, this is not a review of the individual games included in this package (as I’ve already reviewed Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta previously). Instead, I’ll be going quickly over how these games ported up to HD, and whether or not this collection is worth your time.

This collection, as you’ve probably guessed already, is an HD port of the two PSP games. This, in my opinion, was an absolutely fantastic idea. As someone who has no interest in owning a PSP (had to borrow one whenever I wanted to play a PSP game), getting two of the best games on the system in a heavily discounted HD PS3 package is like Christmas, especially considering how much I love the God of War franchise. But, as one might guess, porting PSP games up to the PS3 is a little different than PS2 ones were in the original God of War Collection. How does the Origins collection hold up?

Ghost of Sparta fares much better with the upgrade

I enjoyed both of these games, but I can say that after playing them on the HD collection that Chains of Olympus isn’t really well suited for a console experience. It’s still a fun little romp, mind you, but it really shows it’s short length and dated graphics when being slapped up on my 37″ HDTV. While I will still say it’s probably on par with the first God of War in terms of character sprites, the backgrounds look muddy and the effects (blood, etc.) look pretty bland. It’s still worth playing, just be aware that it’s a short game and won’t exactly dazzle your eyes.

Ghost of Sparta, however, turned out much better, probably because the art direction was significantly improved in the original PSP version. Since it takes you to much more memorable locations (a volcano, Atlantis, the realm of Death), it gives a chance for the HD visual to shine. The meticulous effects look even better in HD, as do the sprites. Kratos in particular looks really good, probably the best he has before God of War III.

Both games have a much cleaner look and are far less grainy, but in Chains of Olympus‘ case it just shows the low poly-count more. Ghost of Sparta benefits most from this upgrade, looking downright incredible.

This is one pretty game

For a brief recap on my opinion of these two PSP games as, well, games, I enjoyed Chains of Olympus for being a God of War Lite, and love love loved Ghost of Sparta‘s excellent story, strong pacing, and fantastic combat. Both games still feel a bit stripped down when compared to their console brethren  but honestly this didn’t bother me much. Chains of Olympus is kind of lame, but Ghost of Sparta feels more refined, if anything.

You also get much better control. The PSP versions of these games required you to press L+R and the left “stick” of the PSP for rolling (a core move in the God of War franchise). With this collection, it’s mapped like it is on the console versions: to the right stick. It’s a great improvement and easily makes these versions of the games the best to control. So this is absolutely the ideal way to play these games, assuming you didn’t want to play them on the toilet.

And if you do, just move your TV into the bathroom! What? Is that weird or something?

In addition to the upgraded visuals and controls, you also get full trophy support, as well as 3D support if you one one of those “passing fad” 3D TVs. I don’t have a 3D TV so I can’t attest, but I’m guessing it probably washes out the colors for a very moderate 3D effect. Yeah, my opinion of 3D tvs isn’t that high, I’ll admit. But it is nice to have trophies.

 

The last thing I’ll mention is the upgraded (or not upgraded) pre-rendered cutscenes. This was extra annoying in God of War Collection, which uses a trillion of these things. Chains of Olympus also suffers, but Ghost of Sparta was smart and did most of their cutscenes in-engine. As such, that game looks extra good because it isn’t full of crappy SD video causing visual dissonance.

Flame on.

God of War: Origins Collection is a must-buy for fans of the series. While Chains of Olympus is a pretty weak entry, Ghost of Sparta more than makes up for it. While many will consider these inferior spinoffs of the original games, I think this HD collection confirms they should rightly be placed next to the main series, and the main games could especially learn a bit about storytelling and character growth from Ghost of Sparta.

A word of warning, however: the God of War Saga Collection (ever game in the series up to this point) does not include a disc of Origins. Rather, it has two download codes to redeem on PSN. As someone who owns both an Xbox 360 and a PS3, I’m certain anyone can agree with me in saying PSN’s bottlenecked download times are horrendous. This is a 12 GB+ download (which I unfortunately bought off PSN), which (unless you do some trick router configurations and give your PS3 a static IP) could mean long, long hours of downloading. If you are a physical media guy, your best bet is to ignore the collection and buy it’s parts separately at the slightly-increased cost.

That aside, God of War: Origins Collection is certainly worth purchasing, especially if you are a fan of the series and do not own a PSP. Choosing them over the original games is really the preference of mobility (and want of a right stick roll), but I for one like the improved Ghost of Sparta graphics far more than their fuzzy portable counterparts.

Fans, eat your hearts out. Four out of five stars.

BUY THIS GAME RAAAR.

Author: Nathan Major

Spirit Shark: Hammerhead. Retro game collector, true ginger, and SNES fanatic. Goal in life is to become Karnov from the NES game Karnov.

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