God of War not only redefined the action genre when it debuted in the waning phase of the PlayStation 2′s life cycle, it somehow catapulted itself to the vanguard of Sony’s fleet of flagship brands. It is difficult to understate how groundbreaking it was for the time, whether in tone, style, or substance. As Penny Arcade famously observed in 2007, “Every other game is the joke. God of War is the punchline.”
Yet, for as seismically influential as the PS2 offerings were, the PlayStation 3 era doesn’t quite seem to stack up at first glance. God of War III and Ascension are serviceable action titles, but they don’t do anything to push boundaries, nor do they quite compete with the seventh-generation output of studios like Platinum Games, which released the fantastic Bayonetta and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance during the same time frame. The best God of War games of this era were arguably the PlayStation Portable entries Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta (in fact, they made our PSP 25-in-25).
Then what did God of War do for the PS3 to make our list of the hardware’s most important games? It perfected the HD collection.
The PlayStation 3 hosted a number of fantastic bundles. The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection, Jak and Daxter Collection, Ratchet & Clank Collection, Sly Collection, inFamous Collection, Resistance Collection, Killzone Trilogy, Mass Effect Trilogy, Journey Collector’s Edition, Best of PlayStation Network Vol. 1, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix, and Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection are all brilliant bargains and a few of them may even be worthy of a 25-in-25 spot on their own merits. But none of them are a match for the value of God of War Saga.
Containing God of War, God of War II, God of War III, God of War: Chains of Olympus, and God of War: Ghost of Sparta (the last two via download), Saga is perhaps the best deal since Valve’s Orange Box. A mere $40 at launch, God of War Saga unequivocally raised the bar for what console collections should aspire to. With the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One both eschewing backwards-compatibility at launch, we will undoubtedly see a whole new influx of HD remasters and franchise bundles. We can only hope that publishers look to this release as their inspiration when compiling back catalogues for new audiences in the future.
You can find more articles in our 25-in-25 series over here, and stayed tuned tomorrow for another look at a great PS3 title!