As I currently work my way through old Playstation titles that I’ve tragically missed as an Xbox 360 owner, I’ve decided to share my experiences with each exclusive as they dance between my fingers and thumbs. It’s a series of posts that I’ve decided to bunch up under the PS-Revision title, or PSR for short. I know you enjoy a good acronym, so that one’s on the house.
THE HOUSE OF SPARTA.Coming into the God of War HD collection for PS3, my expectations were pretty high. Kratos now stands toe-to-toe with other signature Playstation icons like Lara Croft, Crash Bandicoot and that rapping dog made out of paper, there must be something pretty special about the series to achieve such a loving place in the hearts of Sony aficionados. Turns out, that something is getting vexed to the max and clapping minotaurs into Greek architecture. And it’s really bloody fun.
It’s oddly lethargic too. My nights for a couple of weeks involved nestling up on the sofa, bundling up frustrations collected throughout the day and channeling them into the decapitation of a giant cyclops. It helps that you control a character that just seems to be permanently pissed off too. Kratos shouts his way through encounters with mythical gods, tears open undead spleens and even climbs around walls like he’s cursed with an everlasting bonk on. He’s brilliant, and I think a Kratos dedicated section should be included in every form of digital entertainment.
Having been spoilt with Bayonetta and its insane array of bosses however, some of the God of War beasts did feel a little underwhelming. The first title in particular, which starts out with a battle aboard a ship with a three-headed dragon waits until the closing moments before it cranks up the ‘epic’ dial again. God of War 2 does fix this, with a generally more fulfilling experience that flings you from one spectacular scenario to another without much breathing space, but I never felt the crippling fear that comes from an overwhelming boss fight in either title.
I think back to the lake monster of Resident Evil 4 or the battle with Gohma in Ocarina of Time, and I was terrified. Chest-pounding, get me out of here, I’m going to throw up an anorak, terrified. They’re relatively simple too, but as is the case with any first date, it’s all about the first impression. Our mind needs time to imagine the unthinkable, to revel in the worst case scenario so anything that emerges will become the fresh face of hell itself. You’ll stagger over to the table, sit down gushing with sweat before an accidental brush of the boob during an overenthusiastic welcome. These are the boss battles you remember. The ones that cause panic before they’ve even begun.
This gut-wrenching build up is ruined by the instant cinematics that play as soon as you enter a room that’s geared for a boss fight. I want to walk in an area, take in the scenery, imagine what’s going to trigger that cute little animal to turn into a five-headed death machine, and then shake out a nervous dump in the corner. It’s a niche ask, but I’ll throw it out there in the hope that a game developer reads this and meets me halfway during this epiphany.
While I’m yet to play God of War 3, my time with God of War 1&2 (mostly two) has been very much enjoyed. The combat has the best mix of gore and button-bashing satisfaction around, and even the puzzles are surprisingly decent for an action title. It also holds the crown for some of the most bizarre quicktime events I’ve seen, from mashing someone’s face into a stone tablet to watching a bedside lamp rock back and forth as Kratos performs sexual acts with two ladies. A sequence that, looking back, might be the most understated sequence across the entire game.
Alright the latter was an optional mini-game, but you’ve got to collect all the Trophies right?