How do you take two universally acclaimed PSP games and better them? You move them onto the PlayStation 3, of course, giving them a spritely high definition makeover, Trophies and stereoscopic 3D support before bundling them onto a Blu-ray designed to sit neatly alongside the first volume which, you’ll remember, featured the two equally great PlayStation 2 titles.
Sounds like perfect common sense, really, Sony are pushing remakes harder than Nintendo at the moment and getting original developers Ready At Dawn involved makes even more sense. Thankfully, you’ll be glad to know that after a few hours playtime yesterday we can say it’s a resounding success: both games translate nicely to the console and the porting is exemplary.
The build Sony dropped off is the final one – everything’s present and correct and we’re not confined to a PR demo or a limited playtime – so we reckon we’re well placed to pass judgement. I’m personally a bigger fan of the second PSP game (I thought Ghost of Sparta was flawless) but the first, Chains of Olympus, becomes suddenly more playable and – yes – much better looking on PS3.
Naturally, despite a certain amount of claims otherwise, it’s hard to deny the two games’ roots – it’s clear from the polygon counts and sometimes limited animation that you’re playing a game originally designed for a much less capable machine, regardless of how much work the studio has put into increasing the complexity of the models. It looks like a top-end PS2 game with some current-gen flair, as you’d expect.
That’s not a negative, though – the art style of the two titles lends itself to this kind of process, though, and the newly tweaked textures and impressive middle distance shine through.
The newly rendered videos are a nice treat too – they were re-made and re-rendered using the advanced PS3 version of the game engine rather than simply upscaling the PSP originals, and you can tell. They’re a little soft, mind, and don’t always segue so nicely into the game when the action kicks back to the player, but they do work well and were generally well produced in the first place.
But it’s the stereoscopic 3D that impresses the most. Sure, the game drops to thirty frames per second (instead of the rock solid sixty that the two games now run at) but the depth is fantastic and the in-game slider means that you can adjust the intensity to suit on the fly, something all games should offer. Both games are a delight in 3D, which is a first for Kratos, and really help to show off your TV set.
I’m impressed. This is another great package that God of War fans should absolutely pick up: don’t write the games off as ‘just being PSP titles’ because they’re both brilliant (and I stand by my claims that ‘Sparta is the best in the series), they’re not only canon but crucial to the overall plot, and now they’re better than ever – but if nothing else they show that Ready At Dawn are supremely talented.
The game’s out in September, look out for our review soon.