Review: God of War Collection (PlayStation Vita)
It is perhaps indicative of Sony’s current interest in the PlayStation Vita that their first God of War should be a port of a port. While the PlayStation Portable dined on two exceptional original adventures – both prepared by the Order: 1886 developer Ready at Dawn – the platform’s latest portable device is forced to feed on scraps. It’s fortunate, then, that the discarded snacks are a pair of classics, with fixed versions of anti-hero Kratos’ inaugural PlayStation 2 outings on the menu for this refreshing feast. The question is: will this refocused feast satisfy even the biggest appetite, or will it leave you pleading with heaven for a few seconds?
Well, it’s certainly not going to be fulfilled as a custom-made snack to eat. Chances are you’ve played Sony Santa Monica action adventures a couple of times in the past, which means that the shock of defeating the sea monsters may have lost its luster by now. That doesn’t mean the games have aged poorly – far from it, they still hold up incredibly well – but with the series stalling a bit over the past two years, it’s hard to shake off the feeling of monotony as you hit Square, Square, Triangle so It feels like the umpteenth time. Fortunately, if you are in some way a newcomer to the franchise, then you can skip this paragraph with your purchase intent more or less intact.
In fact, the conversion here has been produced with a little more care than in the horror show also known as the Jak & Daxter Collection. Much like The Sly Trilogy, this re-release builds on the excellent PS3 update of the same name, meaning that the otherwise dazzling murky textures of PS2 titles have been replaced by high-definition alternatives. Unfortunately, this version does not run in native resolution, so while the improvements over the original outputs are easy to see, the package still lacks the clarity of its console counterpart. In addition, the developer has chosen to halve the number of frames of each title, which has made the fluidity of the franchise brand disappear.
It is undeniable that these two concessions diminish the value of the package, but they do not mutilate it to the point of no return. In fact, as bad as the sounds above are, this is still a perfectly playable new purpose, with all the original game pieces present and correct. It’s true that the Hydra may have been outmatched by God of War III’s Poseidon strike, but we think the second game’s battle against the tanned Colossus of Rhodes will forever remain one of the game’s greatest moments. And it is represented here in all its gruesome glory; From the first stab to the labyrinthine finish, this masterclass in game design has certainly stood the test of time.
In fact, even nearly a decade after their release, both titles remain textbook examples of exceptional pacing and expert-level construction. The environments weave together, lending a serious sense of scale to the dilapidated ruins and contemplative temples that you will be forced to explore. There are times when you’ll cautiously stand on tiptoe on wooden beams, overlooking the bloody tiles in the hallways where you fought the harpies several hours earlier. Both games are incredibly well built, and while there are moments in the first installment where you can reflect on what creator David Jaffe and his team were thinking, the famous spike column of Hades comes to mind, these occasions are rare. and distant from each other.
And unlike most ports, the experience actually pairs well with the Vita to boot. The second analog stick allows dodges to be performed in the more traditional way in the series, while the various front buttons offer a suitable alternative to the DualShock 2. When the shoulder buttons were used in the originals, the developer has mapped the actions in the rear touch panel. However, while this may seem like a recipe for disaster, it actually works incredibly well, allowing you to touch any area of the sensitive surface to open chests or push puzzle objects, rather than pressing the R2 button as if you were trying to reach the physique of a Greek god. Speaking of which, the fast-time events have been shortened, making them less taxing on your patience.
The front touchscreen is also used to switch weapons and unleash the Rage of the Gods, but overall they are well implemented and will not impede your progress – you will certainly still be able to watch the Challenge of the Gods without desperately begging for mercy. It’s a shame the audio doesn’t hold up as tightly, as it once again falls victim to the compression of the tiny cartridges in its motherboard, making Kratos’ irate monologues sound like they’re happening underwater. Likewise, the pre-rendered cutscenes succumb to a similar fate, and while they never quite rival the late ’90s QuickTime approach employed by The Sly Trilogy, they still appear to have been captured on old VHS tape that has been hit with a hammer a couple of times.
It’s hard to talk about the God of War Collection without sounding like a broken record. This re-release includes two of the best action games ever made, and now they can be played in the palm of your hand. Frame glitches and slightly blurry resolution mean this may not be the high-definition remaster you were hoping for, but even these issues can’t detract from the cool design shown here. If you’ve never played the first two titles of the seminal Sony Santa Monica series before, then you’d better try them out first on the PS3 – but if, for whatever reason, you need to take Kratos with you, then this version of Vita represents a gift. more than adequate of the Gods.