Genre: Action, Fantasy, 3rd person adventure
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For those who don’t own a PSP but have a desire to murder lots of mythological creatures (and pretty much anything else) fear not: the two God of War PSP epics –and there is no other word to describe a GoW game- have been rendered into HD for the PS3. The GoW series focuses on Kratos, a Spartan warrior whose Greek God death toll rivals that of the bubonic plague.
GoW, to the new initiate, will initially come across as a simple button masher and indeed the overly powerful signature blades on chains are exceptionally effective in killing everything on screen with the minimum of effort. While button mashing can get rid of vast amounts of weaker enemies, in order to score enough experience to upgrade your powers and weapons, some finesse is required. The combat is further complicated by quick time events and rapid button pressing to finish off certain enemies. The Quick Time Events are fairer than most games, although I found quickly moving between rapidly pressing the circle button to a QTE seemed designed to ensure failure on some tasks on the first attempt.
The game is a challenging action adventure which stands out thanks to its backing in ancient Greek mythology and over-the-top bosses. Platforming elements are entertaining, puzzles generally good and the plot will keep you playing to the end. The flaws of early games, unfortunately, return – most notably the lack of control of the camera. A new issue concerns the protagonist himself. In the first game, Kratos’s cruelty was made bearable as it was tied to his impending doom, but without that he is often too cruel to find sympathetic. I find it hard to believe he will start a quest to save someone when he guts innocents for experience points.
To new players these are excellent games but they would be better off with the original as its story arc puts it on another level. If, on the other hand, you have played any GoW game before you know exactly what you are getting and here is the problem: these games are almost entirely pointless. More precisely, they had a point (which was to demonstrate what the PSP was capable of) which is no longer relevant. The controls are the same, many of the enemies you encounter are the same, the plots are entertaining but add nothing to the series’ story-arc and the level design has not evolved from earlier games. The opening level of the original (where you defeat the Hydra) is considered a classic for good reason but now it is really beginning to feel copy pasted onto later entries. This is then compounded by both games opening in the same way. With the length of each game considerably shorter than the originals they also come across as expansion packs rather than full games.
They are well made but unless you are a die-hard fan, I would recommend renting unless you get them at a good price.
Buy or Rent: Rent
Reviewed By: JP Gallagher