I’m not really a God of War fan. I picked up the God of War HD Collection when I needed a new joystick (Yay for bundles!), but I honestly didn’t care for either game. It wasn’t the gameplay as much as it was that I utterly hated Kratos as a character. That being said, I played Ghost of Sparta last year and found that to be far more enjoyable. So when the God of War Origins Collection demo came out on PSN, I was happy to download it and give it a whirl. Of course, it also helped the game that I’m the only staffer with Playstation Plus so I didn’t really have a choice when it came to who talked about this. But enough of the disclaimer about me NOT being a God of War fan. Here now are ten quick thoughts on the demo.
1. You’re only getting to play Ghost of Sparta in this demo. That’s fine with me as it’s the best of the three God of War games I’ve played, but I was kind of hoping to experience Chains of Olympus as well. If you want to read Aaron’s commentary on the PSP demo, go here.
2. This is the EXACT SAME demo I played on my PSP about a year ago, just in high definition. I can understand why they chose that to a degree (time and money saving), but for those that have already played it, it’s a bit of a disappointment.
3. Although the demo is advertised to be “high definition,” I’m not really seeing any difference quality-wise from the PSP version. Sure the visuals are smoother looking, but the text and menus are the only things that really looks like it has received an overhaul from the PSP version. Of course, the PSP version of Ghost of Sparta was quite very good looking, but the PS3 one is more…mediocre looking when compared to other PS3 titles. This is especially true with the cut scenes that look more PS2 than PS3. Blood and water look especially rough for a PS3 game too. Of course, that’s not the game’s fault. It was originally developed for the PSP after all, so even giving it the HD treatment means it’s not going to be able to compete with titles specifically developed for current gen consoles. What’s here is nice, but if someone was expecting God of War III level visuals, they’re going to be disappointed. What’s here is better than the first God of War Collection though.
4. There is a huge lag between when text comes up and when the “press X to continue comes up.” I don’t remember this in the PSP version. It’s annoying, but it’s the only real complaint I have with the actual PLAYING of Ghost of Sparta.
5. With all that negativity out of the way, I have to say, the game plays wonderfully. Controls are crisp, there isn’t any lag or slowdown and it’s SO much better than my experiences with God of War I/II both visually and gameplay wise. It’s classic God of War gameplay, so if you’ve played one, you will know how to do most of the things in this game. The only bug I found came after the first block pushing “puzzle” where you have to swing in a circular manner on your blades of Athena, the entire screen will go black except for Kratos for a few frames. I was able to repeat the bug with some regularity, but this is a pretty minor one, all things considered.
6. Your fight boss fight is with Scylla. It’s not much of once since it’s the first, but it shows off how large some bosses can be in this game. Here you’ll have to find the Scylla (which looks nothing like how it is described in classic Greek Mythology by the way) and the spider-crab monsters it spits out of its mouth. You eventually beat it with a QTE, but you don’t get to kill it. Scylla will be back to attack you throughout the level. You won’t get the final battle with it in the demo though.
7. The Eye of Atlantis is the first new power/Magic item you get in the game. You wield it like a shoot and it shoots out lightning. It’s the only item you can power up with orbs and you will earn enough to do it once in the demo.
8. Much like with the PSP demo, finishing the demo, nets you Arena Mode which lets you set things like your health, magic, costume, backdrop, difficulty and more. It’s a nice practice mode but the demo version is limited. If you’ve played the actual Arena Mode in the PSP version, than you know there is a lot more to this than what you get in the demo.
9. The demo ends in a very anti-climatic fashion. It ends with a cut scene right before you have the big battle with Scylla. The demo isn’t very long and it doesn’t highlight anything that makes Ghost of Sparta stand out from the other God of War games. Out of all three God of War games I’ve played though, this is my favorite (and the only one I can say I liked), so it was fun to play the demo on the PS3, but also disappointing that it was the same exact demo I played last year.
10. I’m not really sure what to make of God of War Origins Collections. On one hand it is nice to see some more games get a HD treatment and the price tag of $39.99 for two games is quite nice – especially when you realize that’s how much each of these games cost for the PSP when they first came out. On the other hand, this is a great reminder of how crappy Sony has treated the PSP over the past few years and I feel for the gamers that already own both of these for the system. I know some God of War fans will pick this collection up without thinking about it, but all that means is that Sony gets your money TWICE and it’s just less games one feels they NEED to own for the PSP. I suppose it’s all moot with the Vita (horrible name) coming out in a few months.
Overall, even though it was just a demo, it was nice to see Ghost of Sparta playing just as well on the PS3 as it did on the PSP. It’s a VERY short demo but it is something God of War fans will eat up while people who aren’t fans already can safely pass this up without feel like they are missing something. God of War Origins Collection comes out on September 13th and Aaron Sirois, our token Kratos fan will no doubt have a review of it shortly thereafter.