Like many others I prefer to re-play installments of a series prior to the newest being released.  In the case of Kratos and his identity struggle with the pantheon of Greek gods this has involved downloading the HD updates to his first two adventures.  At this point in my play-through of the series I've just arrived at the island dwelling of the sisters of fate.  My eventual plan is to finish all three numbered entries on my PS3 before tackling the handheld spin-offs on my Vita before diving into Ascension this March.

As I play through well-traveled areas for the second or third time I can't help but notice that God of War Three they are not.  While up-scaled and certainly a smoother experience, they can't compare to the processing speed of the PS3 outing even though the game-play is, in some instances, better.  What struck me as most telling in the first title is the Metroid-like feel to the game world.  Every area and challenge in the game is connected both physically and in the sense of new items/abilities opening up different paths to take.  While the on-screen action has received a face-lift, it comes at the expense of the cut-scenes having a bit of a blurred edge as they don't appear to have gotten the face-lift the rest of the title received.  An epic journey, my time with his first appearance in gaming was marred by one foolish design decision. 

"No, Sony Santa Monica.  I don't want to switch to easy mode!"

Why in the name of Zeus am I prompted to switch difficulties after several poorly timed jumping sequences send me plummeting to my death?  Especially if all easy mode does is tone-down the fight scenes. 

"It's not the battles I'm having trouble with good sir or madam.  It's this terrible platforming!"

While it's easy to find fault in a game that's several years old, the second title in the series has redeemed itself so far.  Showing that not all HD updates are created equal, God of War 2 HD's visuals shine to the point that it has become more difficult for me to notice the difference between this and it's PS3 big brother.  The boss battles are intense as well as a glorious spectacle to behold.  The Colossus of Rhodes in particular will go down as one of the best in the series (if not gaming as a whole) showing crazy levels of scale, particularly for a PS2 title, as well as multiple forms or stages to the fight.  While it's starting to feel like I've done some of this before, God of War 2 is an amazing title that has me chomping at the bit for more.

The only minor gripe I've got about the second title is that some of the QTE controls from the first were switched up for this outing.  While not noticeable when playing them years apart as originally forced by the release schedule, something about differing controls when playing the series straight through has made for a somewhat frustrating experience.  Also, didn't Athena say in the first that all the Titans save Chronos were dead and gone?  Different directors I suppose...

Once I finish out the second entry I plan on diving straight in to the third for what I remember as Kratos' most epic journey of all.  While it seems odd to be heralding the doom of the major gods who granted powers and abilities to me in the first installment as well as the titans who played that role in the second, Kratos' rage knows no bounds and all who spited me (him) in the first two will be subject to his (my) wrath in the third.  I've yet to start what will be my fourth play-through of God of War 3, but plan on using the second half of Two and it as the action fall-back to my current obsession with Ni No Kuni Wrath of the White Witch.

With a prequel story and the series' first foray into multi-player, God of War Ascension looks to be upping the ante once again for Sony's most epic of titles.  While I worry that story may end up taking a back seat to the action as the series is getting to the point of being played out, the action/rpg lover in me eagerly awaits the opportunity to wander the wilds of ancient Greece while slaying monsters and powering up my weapons and skills to become the true 'ghost of Sparta'.

With several big-name titles releasing this spring, (it may be the heaviest spring release window ever) many gamers are going to have to choose between playing the origin story of Kratos or exploring Columbia.  And let's not forget the possible return to San Andreas or cross-country trek of The Last of Us just a few months later that will be vying for our gaming dollars.  All I can say is that revenge is a dish that can be oh so sweet and I can't wait to play all of the mentioned titles.

Just quit prompting me to switch to easy mode!

How about it GIO?  Is Kratos' tale worn out or is there room for this prequel?

Will he be 'gifted' his blades early on or will we be fighting in new, unexpected ways?

How about the MP?  Thumbs up or down?

Thanks for reading everyone but I've got some leveling to do in Ni No Kuni!