Review: God of [What] Was

god of war hd collection review pack shot

God of War has always been a game I’ve been interested in. I had been following the franchise since the first title was released; however, I had never actually gotten a chance to play any of them until God of War III.It lived up to my expectations, which is why I had to get my hands on the High Definition remake of the first two videogames.

For an HD remake, it’s one of the better titles that I have experienced. Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) did a great job in respecting the source material, as I later discovered. The God of War HD Collection consists of both God of War and God of War II. I’ll be reviewing the former.

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: SCE Santa Monica Studio
Platforms: PlayStation 3
Release Date: March 18th 2010
Rating: 18 (BBFC & PEGI), M (ESRB)

The general idea of the title is that you play a character named Kratos, who is allied with the gods. As the player progresses the game, they unlock new abilities and enhancements to the character. God of War is a typical hack and slash game. The better the combos you use, the easier the game is. Though there is a few difficult challenges in the game, though some of the challenges are merely down to how fast you can button mash — something that has never been improved upon in the franchise. Sometimes I found myself experiencing fear for my controller from the extreme button mashing that was required. This is particularly the case during the first boss.

The protagonist of God of War will never change. He will always have the same attitude and same personality. He will always be a killing machine. His thirst for blood and battle enhance the experience of the game; instead of playing a whiny character, we have a badass protagonist who shares our thirst for blood, our hunger for tearing enemies apart. Our lust for the battlefield and love of action. Moreover, his attitude continues throughout as he becomes more chaotic in cut scenes, and his attitude towards his enemies becomes more aggressive.

Disappointingly, the visuals may be stunning and high-definition but the cut scenes have seen no change or improvement. They’re still pre-rendered in the old resolution of the PlayStation 2. I was personally hoping that they would render the cut scenes in at least 720p resolution instead of just re-using the original cut scenes. Instead, they are visually muddy and even the sound quality isn’t up to the standard of the rest of the title.

Putting the disappointing cut scenes aside, God of War HD is a good remake. The visuals look great, the sound quality is good, and the gameplay is fun and flows very well. It’s a good title worth picking up, especially from retail as it comes complete with God of War II HD.

God of War HD was completed on normal difficulty. The title scored 8/10, meaning that it’s a great game with a couple of relatively minor flaws. Input Lag is a regular author of the Gaming Advance website and can be contacted through the email address: inputlag@gamingadvance.com

(The review is entirely subjective and should not be considered fact. This review is the author’s opinion and nothing more. Feel free to discuss the review in the comments below, but try to keep it civil. You are also entitled to an opinion that may differ from the author — and don’t forget this!)

Finally: The Witcher 2 Mod Tools Announced!

Witcher 2 mod kit Redkit announced

CD Projekt, the developer and publishing team behind top-selling PC game, The Witcher 2, have announced their intentions in the upcoming Gamescom 2012 in Germany. This includes their upcoming mod kit for The Witcher 2 entitled ‘REDKit’. Information after the jump.

Announced on The Witcher‘s own forums, the mod kit for The Witcher 2 will be shown off at Gamescom to the press. The Gamescom event will be taking place in Cologne in Germany just next week.

The mod kit, named REDKit, will allow users to develop their own content including new locations and quests. The mod who submitted the post on the forums stated, “We will be hosting a series of behind closed doors, exclusive media presentations where we will be showing the REDkit, a long-awaited set of tools for modders which will allow any player to create their own content for the PC version of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, such as new, non-linear adventures, great looking locations and more.”

Following the surprise announcement, Rock, Paper, Shotgun queried CD Projekt regarding the use of Steam Workshop. CD Projekt responded with, “A[t] this point I can tell you that we’re concentrating on the tool as such, so no Steam mention at this point.” This does not rule out possibilities, but it does not confirm the use either. They added, “[they are looking for] the best modders out there.”

This suggests to me that the mod tools won’t be as user-friendly as those of, for example, Bethesda Game Studios release. In addition to this, CD Projekt are even kind enough to their customers that, right now, you can reserve a free copy of The Witcher (2) on GoG (Good ol’ Games) provided you have your serial number for your product. Now we patiently await for some anime conversion mods, which are undoubtedly already in their concept stages as users wait for REDKit to be launched.

(Rock, Paper, Shotgun – Geralt Goes to Westeros: Witcher 2 Getting Mod Tools)

Silent Hill HD Collection PS3 Patch Available, 360 Patch Cancelled

silent hill hd collection patch available on playstation 3 not on xbox 360

The recently released Silent Hill HD Collection, containing both Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3, wasn’t without its problems. Many fans made complaints about how poorly the titles were ported. To resolve these issues, Konami released a patch on the PlayStation 3 platform; however, it appears that Konami are abandoning the Xbox 360.

The title received a lot of backlash when it went released in what fans perceived as being in an unfinished state. The atmospheric fog was missing, the frame rate was taking a dive regularly, the audio regularly went out of sync and some music was missing. Since its launch in March, the title has been widely regarded as an abomination and treated the source with little respect. Finally, July came and Konami released a patch — for the PlayStation 3.

Players on the system would discover those issues faded away thanks to the new patch. Included in the patch were also some graphical and audio improvements. This victory for the unfortunate gamers who picked up Silent Hill is, unfortunately, cut short, and this horror story continues. The PlayStation 3 version may have the patch, but the Xbox 360 version will not be getting the same treatment.

“Plans for an Xbox 360 title update have been cancelled due to technical issues” Konami stated, adding, “Understanding the issues some users are experiencing, Konami issued a title update for Silent Hill HD Collection (PS3), which fixed frame rate issues as well as audio-synching and other reported issues. KONAMI apologizes to any players who are continuing to experience these issues on the XBOX 360 sku.”

I guess picking up the title on the Xbox 360 is a lost cause at this point.

Preview: Transformers Fall of Cybertron

Transformers Fall of Cybertron Preview Demo Metroplex and Optimus Prime screenshot

At last I can finally get a taste of the sequel to 2010’s Transformers: War for Cybertron. After falling in love with the previous title, needless to say that expectations are high for High Moon Studio’s latest videogame. The demo is unavailable on Windows, and so I will be previewing the PlayStation 3 version specifically.

The demo opens up with three available options. The player can select either one of two campaigns; The Exodus, the tutorial stage where you play the Autobot Bumblebee; and Death From Above, a relatively non-linear stage as the player assumes the role of Vortex — a new character in High Moon’s Transformers series. There also exists the option of multiplayer. As expected, both campaigns are brief but share a lot of information.

In The Exodus, an injured Bumblebee is guided through his abilities, whether that involves shooting Decepticons attacking the bridge of the Autobot ship: the Ark; or whether it’s when simply dashing. There have been a few modifications to the controls since the last title. Instead of two unique abilities, each character is now limited to one instead. However, the trade-off is that every character may now dash, run, and carry out evasive manoeuvres instead of just the scouts.

Transforming is as smooth as it was in War for Cybertron, and also includes some new abilities to make use of — primarily turbo which results in three methods of travel in vehicle mode. Initially, the vehicle hovers over the ground in a futuristic fashion. When holding the left shoulder button the vehicle will then boost as the shape changes into something more modern than futuristic, simple driving on the ground. Lastly, we have turbo. Turbo allows the player to travel faster for a temporary period of time. As expected from High Moon’s Transformers franchise, the player can fire weapons in vehicle mode too. Thanks to the smooth transition between modes, players can use the vehicle tactically during combat.

The combat itself is fast and fluid. Players can transit between between shooting and melee smoothly with a click of the right analog button. The melee itself feels more polished than War for Cybertron. The player health is also handled differently this time. In Fall of Cybertron, the player has a shield and health gauge. When the shield is depleted the player then starts to receive damage to the health gauge instead. Whilst the shield replenishes over time, when the player stops getting damaged, the health gauge will not recover without the use of Energon which is scattered throughout each stage. How the player carries weapons has also been changed; the player may carry only one primary and one heavy weapon, instead of any two weapons.

As the first stage serves as a tutorial, it is very linear but cinematic. There weren’t many surprises in that stage, but I was surprised by the second campaign stage. We play as Vortex, a Decepticon who transforms into a helicopter (and a jet when boosting). Aerial Transformers modify the vehicle controls a little as turbo is replaced with an evade ability. The goal is to reach a specific bridge in order to sabotage it and divert an Autobot convoy towards an ambush. The first section of this stage is semi-linear as you’re directed forward at all times; however, there are different corridors to choose from.

After breaking through into the next area, destroying any sentries that attempt to annihilate Vortex and his partner Blast Off, the player is rewarded with a large open area. There’s a powerful gun in the middle of the area that takes your shields offline instantly, so the vehicle mode is great to avoid fire while swapping between platforms and picking off Autobots. There are also three levels to this area. An upper platform area, a middle platform area, and the ground itself. It’s quite expansive, but transforming into a jet makes short work of the map.

Newly available to the player is the Teletraan 1 Shop. In this store, the player can trade ‘shards’ for weapons, tech and perks. Weapons can be upgraded a number of ways and also rated by the community. Each perk has its own function, such as the health matrix which restores your health every time you interact with the store. Tech is split into two categories: Assault Tech and Utility Tech. Much like perks, this is a new feature that Fall of Cybertron introduces to the series. Choices of Assault Tech is limited between an attack drone that follows you around or a bomb that destroys the fabric of space and time. Meanwhile, Utility Tech is limited to a defensive shield that only the player can shoot through, and an intercooler to enable your unique ability quicker.

Also scattered through-out the vicinity is the Armory Recreator. These dispense another weapon, Tech, ammo or Energon for the player to use — for a fee. This was the only way to obtain the sniper rifle in the demo. Armory Recreators aren’t the only way to obtain weapons, ammo or Energon though, as they can be found through-out the stage without a fee.

Both stages are brief, but informative and fun. In particular, there’s a lot to do in the second stage. Death From Above contained audio logs, hidden weapons and cool tech worth trying out. I had particular fun with the Dimensional Decimator though it cost a lot of the in-game currency.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is looking good so far, and I’m very excited. As for the multiplayer, I will be previewing that separately. Fall of Cybertron is launching August 21st and it’s certainly getting a day one purchase from me at this rate.