Like Criterion editions of groundbreaking films, some games deserve to be reissued. Too often, the technology of game-making and -playing moves on and fans miss out on the opportunity to relive some of the titles that changed the market going forward.

Like Criterion editions of groundbreaking films, some games deserve to be reissued. Too often, the technology of game-making and -playing moves on and fans miss out on the opportunity to relive some of the titles that changed the market going forward.

Sony's God of War series is one of the hallmarks of the PS2 generation of games. It introduced a title character, Kratos the Spartan, who holds a special place in the memories of action gamers even if he may not have garnered the universal recognition of Mario or Sonic. His upcoming third game is only just beginning to generate intense hype and expectations.

God of War III will bring the continuation of the series to the PlayStation 3 in a few months (March 2010). But those who either missed out on the original two games or don't have a PS3 that supports backward compatibility should rejoice that Sony has reissued both titles on a single Blu-ray disc - with enhanced graphics and support for trophy achievements.

The God of War series focuses on Kratos, a dour Spartan warrior who at first fights for the Olympian gods. He acts as their "cleaner," and generally leaves chaos in his wake at the urging of Zeus, Ares and even the titans of Greek myth.

The action of the title drives Kratos to confront a number of famous monsters at the behest of the deities, and eventually brings him into direct conflict with them. What results is the dark hero assuming the titular mantle after defeating the Greek god Ares himself.

These games established a lot of the visual and gameplay conventions that, to some extent, became overworked in later action titles. While they were not the first games to introduce timed gameplay sequences or sequential timed button pressing, they really set the mark for how to do it well.

Graphically, both games pushed the PS2 hardware. While the new updates don't quite match the high-resolution textures found in modern action titles, the special effects are impressive and the characters are smoothed out.

God of War and God of War II both feature visceral, action-oriented gameplay, plenty of gory fighting with dismemberment and decapitation, and a surprisingly well-told dramatic story. Kratos is far more than a mindless killing machine, and the original creators manage to make you care about his background and motivations.

The budget price and upgrades make this a great addition to any PS3 owner's collection.