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God of War Saga PS3 Review

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God of War Saga

God of War Saga

Image © Sony
Five of the best games in Sony's history were recently released in one glorious package called the "God of War Saga" for a low price point. $39.99 for five games that are worth that much on their own breaks down to eight dollars a game. It's one of the best deals you could find for PS3 owners. Yes, of course, this is little more than a way for Sony to repackage, re-market, and try to re-sell a series of games that have been played by the vast majority of Sony PlayStation 3 owners but the few souls who have put off experiencing the influential saga of Kratos have little excuse left to not do so. To be blunt, if you have played and still own the five games in this set -- "God of War," "God of War II," "God of War: Chains of Olympus," "God of War: Ghost of Sparta," and "God of War III" -- then there's no reason to do so again. There's nothing new in this set. However, if you haven't played at least two of them, having all five in one set to prepare yourself for the coming of "God of War: Ascension" in 2013 is worth a purchase.

Gameplay

  • Publisher: Sony
  • Developer: Sony
  • ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
  • Genre: Action
  • Pros: Five Amazing Games, All of Which Have Held Up Well
  • Cons: Nothing New, Not Even an Avatar

"God of War" and "God of War 2" were originally released for the PS2 (and released in HD-upgraded versions in the "God of War Collection"), "God of War: Chains of Olympus" and "God of War: Ghost of Sparta" were Sony PSP exclusives (and also released in a PS3, HD-upgraded version called "God of War: Origins Collection") and "God of War III" was released exclusively for the PS3. Got that? There have been a lot of games and a lot of repackagings for a franchise that only started just over seven years ago. Then again, "God of War" is not your ordinary franchise. It's one of the few '00s series of games that justify this kind of assault and 2013's "God of War: Ascension" promises to only continue Kratos' reign as one of the most important video game characters of the last decade.

Game Details

God of War Saga

God of War Saga

Image © Sony

2005's "God of War" details the rise of Kratos from a servant of the Gods to the title character after he defeats Ares and takes his throne. The game was and is an amazing blend of mythology and modern video game action. It redefined the hack-and-slash genre in which players string together combo moves of light and heavy attacks along with increasingly powerful special fighting techniques. The game was a landmark event for the PS2, one of the most important releases in the history of that console.

2007's "God of War II" didn't change the formula much but did refine the mechanics and storytelling of the first game in remarkable ways. Many lists of the best PS2 games of all time include this mega-hit, the story of how Kratos destroyed a vengeful Zeus and began an attack on Olympus. "God of War II" features some of the best puzzle design in a game like this and really proved how an action game could engage the mind as well as the hand-eye coordination. It has been copied dozens of times in just the five years since its release. "Darksiders II" doesn't exist without "God of War II."

As PS3 owners started wondering when they would get a next-gen console title, Sony took to bringing Kratos to the PSP, releasing "God of War: Chains of Olympus" in 2008. The game became a massive hit, one of the few reasons to own a PSP and honest proof that Sony never quite did enough with their handheld console. There should have been more games as accomplished as "Chains of Olympus," and the only way one would know that it was never designed for PS3 if they play it in the "God of War Saga" is that it's relatively short. Same goes for 2010's "God of War: Ghost of Sparta." The two PSP imports are technically not in the package, just a voucher for them to be downloaded from the PlayStation Network, so make sure you have the hard drive space before you buy the "Saga."

Finally, there's "God of War III," my predecessor at About.com's choice for the Game of the Year 2010 and certainly not a bad one. It's a remarkable game that hasn't aged even slightly in the two and a half years (a lifetime in gaming) since it was released. It's action-packed, intense, and beautifully rendered carnage.

Graphics & Sound

The "God of War" games are extremely violent and sexually-oriented but there's also a striking beauty to them in terms of graphics. These games have such a personality to them that they've helped redefine the visual language of action games since they were released. Yes, the first two PS2 games look a little dated but not by much and they've been expertly remastered in HD. As for "God of War III," it's one of the most strikingly designed games ever made in terms of video and audio. It's a beauty, as much as a game that features a POV shot of a man getting his eyes poked out can be a beauty.

Overall

God of War Saga

God of War Saga

Image © Sony
If you asked me the most important and influential video game franchises in the last decade, "God of War" would be near the top of the list. Considering this release is nothing more than a voucher for "God of War: Origins Collection," a disc of "God of War Collection," and a disc of "God of War III" in one set, if you own those already, don't bother. However, if even one of those releases have passed you by or you're wondering how the world of Kratos has aged while you prep for "God of War: Ascension," then this is a must-own. Everyone who owns a PS3 should play the "God of War" games and this is the new best way to do so.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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