Sony took some heat for removing backward compatibility from the PlayStation 3 so early in its lifetime, but the elimination of such functionality has opened the door for re-releases of classic PS2 games like the God of War franchise. We already chatted with John Hight, Director of Product Development for Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, at Santa Monica Studio about what to expect from the Collection, so let's see what we think after a week's worth of playtime with Kratos and the final version.
In the God of War Collection, both God of War I and II have received major face-lifts and performance upgrades that are immediately apparent the moment you begin playing. The game's 60 frames-per-second gameplay is incredibly smooth, so much so that it's actually jarring when a cut scene of lesser quality leads into the action.
The games graphics have also been adjusted to fit HD resolution displays and, as a result, look fantastic even by today's standards. Some textures have been bumped up as well, though they may be less apparent.
Like Hight said, there is absolutely no difference in gameplay between the classic PS2 versions and the Collection. If you've played the original titles, there isn't anything new to discover here. We think the first two PS2 titles are perfect as is and we're glad their experiences were kept intact.
So is it worth it for veterans of the God of War franchise who've mastered the previous two games to buy God of War Collection? It's tough to recommend purchasing a rehash of a game to anyone who has played through the original. Sure it's nice that both games--and some additional video footage--are packed into one Blu-ray Disc and priced right at $40, but there are sure to be some PS3 owners who will resent the fact that they are essentially "buying" backward compatibility.
That said, die-hard fans of the series may find value in the technical upgrades and new PlayStation Network trophy support. Also, if you can't wait until March 2010 for God of War III, the Collection includes a voucher that will let you play through the entire E3 2009 demo--which, as it turns out, is one of the best sneak peeks we've ever played.