Let me start by saying "Do yourself a favor and play the first 2 games in the series before you play GoW3 E3 demo". This is strictly because the gap in visuals is vast and you may not appreciate the true beauty of the first 2 titles if you play the 3rd first. That being said, Sony has done the gaming community a great service by releasing these titles in a remastered HD edition. Now for the rundown.
For the uninitiated lets start with a rundown of the story. David Jaffe's original opus to Greek Mythology tells the tale of a brutal Spartan warrior (Kratos) trapped in the service to the Gods of Olympus, due to a haste decision. Kratos ultimate master and enemy is however that GOD of War himself Aries and he will stop at nothing to defeat his Lord and Master even traveling through the depths of Hades domain.
The story rundown in the second installment of the series starts you out as the new God of War but this time you are trying to defeat the God of Gods himself. Zeus is thine ultimate enemy and instead of the Gods assisting you this time its the titans that come to your aide. The game-play in this chapter is slightly changed from the original but all and all essentially the same.
So essentially none of the game-play elements have changed in these updated releases so the primary focus of this review is to visit the updated visual enhancements. Upon booting up the GofW Collection disk you are brought to a screen containing a choice of GoW, GoWII and GoWII extras. Both games are accessible from your game XMB but if you want to check out the extras you will have to select the disk under the Video section of the XMB.
Upon loading up the first game you are instantly treated to the upgraded visuals that grace this title. Although both these games were some of the best looking ever on the PS2 like many other titles from last gen they have not transferred well to the HD screens of today. I have previously played GOW II on my HD screen with the original PS2 disk in my PS3 and I can assure you that the game looked very ruff. Now with this remastered collection the game-play looks sharp and brilliant. Upon playing the titles its hard not to believe you are not playing a current gen game. The visuals aren't Uncahrted good but as good as many of the PSN Unreal based side scrollers of the current Gen.
There are only two things that detract from the visuals and point to these being older last gen games. The first of which being many of the cut-scenes are ruff and for whatever reason were not given the sleek and shine of the gameplay and the main in game movies. The second of these is what I eluded to earlier in doing yourself a favor and not playing the God of War III demo until you had completed the Collection games. The sheer beauty of this demo is astounding and makes the collection games look small and detail less.
Considering that the GoW III demo is going to be a year old by the time the game finally hits store shelves it's hard to imagine what they could improve on visually. The detail of every item on screen as well and the animations of the characters is brilliant. The only complaint I have is that I hope they go back to the center screen for the quick-time events because on a modern wide-screen its difficult for the eyes to keep up with the event indicators because they are on the outsides of the picture now. All in all for 40 bucks this is one of the most fulfilling game purchases of the year. Two great games spanning over 20hrs a piece and a short yet visually outstanding demo. Anyone who owns a PS3 should check this out. 9/10 on the thirsty scale.
David Allison 12/06/2009