Review: God of War Collection (PSV)

god-of-war-collection-psv-review

Title: God of War Collection
Format: Game Card / PlayStation Network Download
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Sanzaru Games
Original MSRP: $29.99
ESRB Rating: M
God of War Collection is also available on PlayStation 3.
The PlayStation Vita Game Card version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy.

Audio Review:
The audio review for this game is available on Episode 370 of the podcast.

Gameplay:
When God of War first hit the PlayStation 2 back on March 22, 2005, the brutal action game with a decidedly cinematic bent took players by storm. The story, the upgrades, the magic, the combos and even the Quick-Time Events combined into a memorable experience and one of the best selling PlayStation 2 games of all time. God of War II followed that up in March 2007 upping the ante in every way and serving as one of the last big budget games on the PS2.

In 2009, the two games were remastered for the PlayStation 3 in the first of Sony’s Classics HD series. Now, five years later they’re coming the the Vita and they’re coming in style.

Over the course of the first game you’ll slowly learn the story of Kratos, servant to the God of War, Ares and why he’s called the Ghost of Sparta. Your ultimate plan is vengeance on Ares as you attempt to complete the near impossible task of killing a God. In God of War II, Kratos sets out once again on a journey of revenge and a fight for his very life.

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The games boast a complex series of combos that are doled out slowly across the story, allowing the player time to get acclimated to the different button presses and it’s all handled at a really nice pace. But honestly, how many people are here learning about the God of War games for the first time and how many are here just to see how they translate to the Vita?

Handed over to Sanzaru Games the God of War Collection hits the handheld at peak performance. So let’s get this out of the way right now, I am a HUGE fan of Sanzaru Games based on their work with the Sly Cooper franchise over the last few years and I’m also a huge fan of the God of War series but I’m not looking at this through rose-colored glasses. If the games were a disappointment, I’d be tearing them apart right now. Instead, I feel the thrill of playing as Kratos all over again and it has rekindled my interest in the series after being burned out a bit over the past few years. And since a number of people have already asked, no, the games are not Cross-Save so you’ll just have to play through them on their own.

So the next question from God of War veterans likely centers around the controls and the lack of the L2 and R2 triggers. I’d remind everyone that Ready at Dawn did an amazing job translating the complex controls down to the PlayStation Portable for both Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta. This, on a system which not only lacked the L2 and R2 triggers, but also had no Right Analog stick (not to mention having no touch screens either).

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Sanzaru has done an excellent job with the controls, remapping where necessary and using the Front and Rear Touch Screens to fill in for missing button presses. The Left Trigger fills in for L1 with blocking but the Magic has been moved over to the Right Trigger since the Vita has no L2 button. Because of this, the Stomp move has been moved to an icon on the screen along with The Rage of the Gods/Rage of the Titans.

You’ll hold down the Rear Touch Screen to open chests, move boxes and such and also at Save points. This is the only place I had any kind of problem with the Rear Touch. With most actions you need to position yourself properly and hold down the Rear Touchscreen for it to work. However, when you’re anywhere near a Save point it will trigger even if a finger is resting on the edge of the screen. My biggest problem was saving then triggering the “Would you like to save your game?” message again and again. It quickly made me aware of where my fingers were for better or worse. The controls are definitely a change, but they tend to feel quite natural and your hands will get used to it all fairly quickly.

Visuals:
Both games look every bit as good as you’d hope them to be which is a pretty amazing feat in and of itself. God of War II fares just a bit better overall being the newer of the two but the original God of War looks absolutely fantastic on the Vita’s screen.

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The cutscenes tend to be the one rough spot. Going back to the original 4:3 cinematics is a bit jarring but it also helps to highlight just how good the games look during the actual gameplay. Lighting and shadows stand out and the chaos on the screen is just as glorious as the HD Remakes on the PlayStation 3.

Audio:
Everything is here from the original games and it sounds perfect, especially with headphones on. The rousing soundtracks, the sounds of combat, the narration of the venerable Linda Hunt and of course, Terrence ‘T.C.’ Carson giving Kratos his distinct voice and rage. Nothing was skipped, downgraded or left out and it’s awesome.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single player only.

Conclusion:
If you had told me in 2007 that in a few short years I’d be playing God of War and God of War II on a handheld and that they’d actually look better than the originals I’d have said you were crazy, but here we are.

These two games translate quite well to the Vita and the frequent Save points make them ideal for gaming on-the-go. Cross-Save would have been a huge plus, but it’s understandable considering that the PS3 versions would have needed a patch and a ton of QA making it unlikely that it would be cost effective at all.

I’ve heard complaints here and there about the cost but I have to disagree. Having the upgraded visuals and crazy fun gameplay of God of War and God of War II on my Vita and available at any time for $15 per game feels like a good deal to me.

A lot of work obviously went into this collection and it’s made me a bit greedy. As long as they’re handled with the care and attention to detail of a developer like Sanzaru, I want the rest of the God of War series on the Vita along with a whole host of other games from the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3.

Score:
9.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Vita’s built in screen capture feature.

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Written by Josh Langford

Josh Langford

Josh has been gaming since 1977 starting with the Atari 2600.
He currently owns 18 consoles and 4 handhelds (all hooked up and in working condition) including all consoles from the current generation.

m4s0n501
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  • William

    Thanks for a great review…. on a seperate note will s nation review borderlands 2 on vita?

    • http://psnation.org/ Josh

      I received the code for Borderlands 2 on Monday night. I will be doing the review, possibly by next week.

  • Keith Dunn

    Looks great! AND I think $30 is a perfectly sane price.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/stoffinator2010/videos Stoffinator

      I cringed when they announced that price. I feel it is a little to high. But I feel it will become a PS Plus game some time very soon.

  • italodance

    Great Review :D

  • Kirk Apolo

    I have God of War collection for PS3 and was already streaming to my ps
    vita,only difference,I cant take it on the rd-Big Deal…Can we get a
    PS4 collection Edition.. Gratis Games