Kratos has a serious issue with rage, and he frequently swears to avenge some wrong doing as he sets out on a path of devastation and death. This has been the set up for God of War games in the past and it is also true for the two PSP adventures included in God of War Collection: Volume II. First he goes on a quest to bring down his vengeance (and furious anger) upon Persephone, and in his next adventure he must deal out justice to the demons who have kidnapped his brother. There is always some reason to bludgeon monsters.
You get to pick which adventure you want to start on, but regardless of which one you choose it kicks off with a bang. Ready at Dawn have made careful notes of Sony Santa Monica's bag of tricks and after a brief introduction to the story you're thrown straight into combat.
The controls always came across as a bit clumsy on the PSP, but thankfully the developer has made use of all the benefits of the Dual Shock 3 in this version, something we can only applaud. The right analogue stick is used to dodge attacks, as it is in the Playstation 2 and Playstation 3 games in the series. The make do solution on PSP, using the shoulder buttons for dodges can also be utilised, but we don't recommend it.
If you choose to experience the games chronologically you will quickly sense that they weren't created at the same time. Chains of Olympus was originally launched on PSP back in 2008, and the concept, pace and mix of combat and puzzles is a bit gentler than what we're used to from the series. It's still a very enjoyable game, that still offers some of the most memorable moments in the series.
Ghost of Sparta, released on PSP in 2010, is a way more exciting offering, where the pace is higher and the level of graphical detail has been vastly improved. Both magic and weapons are more enjoyable, and can to a larger degree be combined to create the kind of devastation the series is known for. The story is also better told, even if story is secondary in this kind of game.
If this is the first time you try one of the handheld installations in the series, you're bound to be pleasantly surprised at how well large portions of the combat system have been ported over. But there are areas where compromises had to be made, and it plays out at a slower pace than what we were treated to in God of War III.
The animations are also a bit sparse, and this in turn means that you'll be forced to relearn the timing of certain moves. It's by no means a game killing flaw, and it was most likely unavoidable given the PSP hardware, but it still removes a bit of the intensity from the experience.
There should remain no doubts that Ready at Dawn are true wizards when it comes to pushing the PSP hardware, and that the job they did squeezing God of War into our pockets was amazing. However, this is something that isn't always translated across to this Playstation 3 edition, the image quality in Chains of Olympus comes across as a bit lacklustre, while the more recent Ghost of Sparta really shines with the higher resolution. It's still miles away from God of War III of course, but the higher resolution doesn't spoil the experience in any way.
There is plenty of action and adventure to be had in God of War Collection: Volume II, and while it may come across as "God of War Light", to those who have already experience the PS2 and PS3 entries of the series, it's still great value and a collection no action fan should go without.