God of War: Collection 2 Review (PS3)

God of War has always been about scale. This was instantly apparent during Kratos' debut, his clash with Hydra still standing as a series highlight today. Since then the console releases have continued to impress, culminating in last year's epic conclusion that not only pushed the boundaries visually, it redefined the scale of the series considerably.

Shifting sideways onto the PSP, Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta both provided an excellent account of themselves. For those who fancied a little more hack 'n slash brutality, the portable versions extended the experience with a confidence that isn't often seen on the small screen. God of War has always tested the power of the technology it runs on, and it was no different for Sony's handheld, where both games excelled to critical acclaim.

With that said, Kratos' PSP outings definitely had their limitations. Controls were restrictive, as simple actions like evading the offence of an enemy was often a hassle. With the added bonus of a second stick, players can now spring out the way easily. This provides both games with combat that is instantly more dynamic than the original outings. Opponents aren't quite as aggressive as their console peers, taking a little longer to come towards Kratos and unleash fury (especially in Chains of Olympus). The entire combat system is slightly less complex, including the brilliantly disgusting QTE sections. Of course, they're still gruesome and mesmerising in a bizarre way, just not quite as jaw-dropping as what we've seen throughout the series before.

This summary underlines Volume II pretty well. Both games translate naturally and are definitely worth playing if you bypassed them the first time. Even PSP players should be interested, as the HD makeover has been applied with reasonable success. It's fair to say there are mixed results, largely depending on the age of the original release. Chains of Olympus is smoother than before, but there's plenty of rough edges. Characters are particularly square, their colours less vibrant and generally lacking the clarity of the console games. Ghost of Sparta fairs better, and as the newer title of the two, moves across to the PS3 with greater assurance.

Aside from these minor adaptations, this really is a double helping of the classic God of War dish. The Blades of Chaos slice through various mythical beasts as if they were grating cheese, and players can grab grunts in order to throw them around like rag dolls. Coloured orbs litter the world, providing Kratos with a boost to his health or the chance to unleash an ability he's ripped straight from the hands of a powerful opponent. Lighter droves of enemies attack on smaller arenas, echoing the insistence that these titles are scaled-down stopgaps between the numbered iterations.

It's pretty difficult to significantly fault Volume II. The battles are smaller, and the games don't look as good as the titles that were built for PS3, but they never were going to. It's impossible to complain about a disc that includes two enthralling HD remakes, especially if you want to play through all of Kratos' adventures in one sweep. This is very much the God of War we all know and love, and it's great to finally witness both games on a screen worthy of the series. Throw in the fact that the sound has been remastered with 'proper' speakers in mind, and a definitive way to play each title shows itself. Now we can play through Kratos' epic journey from start to finish in one place, making the entire series more enticing than it ever has been.

Top Gaming Moment: Experiencing these great games on the big screen.

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