Unboxing: God of War III Ultimate Edition

So I picked up my Pre-Order of God of War III Ultimate Edition last night, there were a few stacked on the counter behind the register and one of the clerks tried to get me to give-up my pre-order, lamenting that he neglected to order one for himself. Apparently they only got in 7 of this edition, and that only covered the pre-orders that had been placed. Already this sounds good to me because rarity makes these CEs appreciate, unlike bin-fillers that flooded the market such as the Halo 3 Legendary Edition.

I’m a little put-off by the box art, nothing really special about it, just a bunch of pictures of Kratos brooding with a black background. the PS3 logo and read line looks like a futuristic letterhead and sticks out like a soar thumb on the front and kind of ruins the feel of the box art, I suppose that can’t really be avoided though.

I think my biggest problem with the box art is that it doesn’t give the feel of the era the game is from. the box itself looks more like one that would contain a joystick bundle than Pandora’s Box, out of context one might guess it contains a modern era wrestling game, if it weren’t for the swords on the side.

I used a razor to cut the 3 circular sticker seals holding the lid of the box down, I dare not peal them off and risk damaging the art… I might use a little steam later to ensure they’re removed properly.

Opening the box I am even more disappointed…

Personally for me one of the most important aspects of a CE, especially one that that fetches a >$80 price tag and comes in a large box is the un-boxing process.  A lot of companies are paying attention to this. I give kudos to Microsoft as the un-boxing presentation for both the Xbox 360 and the Zune were extremely well thought out, each flap, and wrapper unveiled something special and they thought about what it was you saw when you unveiled it… Bioshock 2 Special Edition paid really close attention to this, each layer of the packing gave you really high quality art work to look at, it focused your attention on the next item in the box and everything felt high quality and, well… special.

Opening the cardboard box revealed uninspiring cardboard, and rather than seeing the neat case, we’re presented with an instruction sheet printed on plane white paper… this is the kind of un-boxing experience if I brought home a new router…

Pandora’s box itself actually looks pretty nice, but as soon as you touch it it feels very cheap. it’s made of plastic and the horns on the lid are rubbery, it looks pretty good in the photos above but all you need to do to capture the feel of this box in a photo is look at the bottom.

Not that I’d expect this to be made out of metal or wood but they did advertise the box design as being “carved” which is completely inaccurate. Perhaps they should have gone with “forged” or “cast” they sound mean and angsty and it’s actually somewhat accurate too.

Now we’re getting to the good stuff, the box looks nice and from here on out I’ll be unveiling all the special content locked inside.

Unfortunately once you slide the lid off you’re presented with more instructions and a big white hunk of cardboard filler, more disappointment. You can’t tell from the way I shot the picture but the text was actually upside down, the lid only slides off one way and I did so in the direction the previous instruction sheet told me so it’s not like I opened it wrong.

If they were really worried about people not being able to figure out how to open this thing, maybe they could have rigged up one of the sound boxes from those stupid talking cards, they only cost a few cents and they could have had some ethereal voice instructing you how to open the box, you know, like you’d get in the game. Or at very least dye the paper brown and make it look like parchment or something.

Inside under all you see is the DVD sized hard cover art-book, pretty standard fare for a CE these days. I would have liked if they had made the book a bit larger since they weren’t actually constrained to the standard dimensions of a DVD. Again I’d like to reference Bioshock 2 Special Edition which included a full size art-book like what you’d buy in a store as a stand alone product. This is really a nit-pick compared to the rest of the un-boxing experience. I can hardly complain about a hard bound art-book it looks nice, and it’s got some good content. I should also note that the inside of Pandora’s Box is lined with felt which is a really nice touch and probably the best feature of the box next to the design details on the outside.

Removing the art-book it’s pretty obvious that the box has a false bottom, it seems to occupy nearly the bottom half of the box and where it’s made of light plastic there’s no way it’s made of thick plastic.  I think it would have behooved them to ad some small weights to the box this would have completely changed the impression it gives off. If you’ve ever held a Staples Easy Button, even though it’s made of plastic, it has some heft to it and feels like a high quality product. That’s because they added some small weights to the inside. They do this with a lot of devices, computer mouses, and home phones, etc.

The game case is nothing special, it actually looks just like a regular edition. I don’t see anything else in the box anywhere, looking at the back of the case I notice it states “NOT FOR RESALE” where the UPC would normally be so I crack open the plastic to have a look at the content inside.

Inside there is the single game disc and an instruction manual, the only item that makes this special is a folded DLC content card with 3 codes.

This, in my opinion, was the turd flavored icing on an already disappointing cake.  I can understand in-game content getting a DLC code, that’s fine. I personally don’t like DLC codes in CEs since I feel it forces you to choose between enjoying your CE or retaining it’s value, but I can understand it for in-game-content.

This is the PS3 though, there’s no reason to make you download the making-of documentary, we have a blu-ray player, put it on a blu-ray disc, or shove it on the game disc, it can’t be that large, and if it is, that’s all the more reason to not make your players waste hard drive space and bandwidth downloading the thing.

Having the soundtrack as downloadable content is just a straight up kick in the balls. how hard would it have been for them to include a cheap CD with a cheap jewel case, or eve put a disc flap in the game case and stick it on there. CDs cost pennies  to produce and it gives your collectors the freedom to use the music in whatever way is most convenient to them. I have a number of game soundtracks that have found themselves in regular rotation with the CD player in my car, Grand Theft Auto IV, Getting Up, and others. Do they really expect me to sit in my home theater room burning my projector lamp, racking up my electrical bill power the PS3 and all my other home theater equipment, to listen to the games music? If I wanted to listen to the games music in front of my PS3, I’d play the damn game. Again they could have at least put this on the game disc in a super high quality surround sound audio format so we could at least enjoy that aspect of it.

Final Impression:
I’m rather torn on this one, the un-boxing was completely uninspired, the art-book was run of the mill, and the game case itself is nothing more than the regular edition of the game. The biggest disappointment is that Pandora’s Box is essentially empty beyond that with the rest of the content being provided by way of DLC code. The best part though is that Pandora’s Box looks nice, and will make a nice addition to any collector’s display case, although it does feel cheap once you pick it up.

I don’t think I’ll be cashing in any of the DLC codes though, the reason being is that this is a popular game and stock of the Ultimate Edition was actually limited, so keeping that intact will preserve the value, besides I can download the game music in a more friendly format elsewhere anyway.

Games Discussed in this Article


  1. scourdx:
    Nice read. Although the box looks nice, I am not convince this CE is worth $99.99. If you are a huge fan, get it. I personally not a fan of the series.

  2. Maven:
    Same old story of companies cutting all corners to maximise profits & releasing a cheap product. It may look good on display but as a collector you can't help feeling unappreciated by both the company & the designers behind the final product. If you look at the press kits available for some games they are of a high quality & in most cases better than the collectors edition of the same game. I'm still waiting for my Trilogy Edition & will let you know of any difference apart from the extra game disk.

  3. twistedsymphony:
    Originally Posted by scourdx View Post
    Nice read. Although the box looks nice, I am not convince this CE is worth $99.99. If you are a huge fan, get it. I personally not a fan of the series.
    Had this included the soundtracks on an Actual CD, the making-of on a separate disc or on the game disc and a little more attention to detail in the unboxing process I'd say it would be worth the $99 tag.

    With those items the way they are though, it's debatable... though as a collector I think it's worth the purchase simply for the rarity coupled with the desirability of anything with the GOW logo on it.

    it could have been a turd wrapped in GOW brand cellophane but if it fetches twice the MSRP on the open market then it's technically "worth" it.

    The European collectors make out a bit better with the inclusion of the first two games, though theirs does cost quite a bit more too.

  4. scourdx:
    From what I heard the European is getting black & white manual and non-hardcover artbook. To make matter worst they are paying more than the N. American.

  5. Skoolstah:
    Are there any expiration dates on the DLC like on those for Uncharted 2? Not much point in keeping them unused unless you're gonna sell it.

  6. scourdx:
    Originally Posted by Skoolstah View Post
    Are there any expiration dates on the DLC like on those for Uncharted 2? Not much point in keeping them unused unless you're gonna sell it.
    Pretty much all DLC has expiry date. For instance Dragon Age Collector DLC expires in April 2010.

  7. Skoolstah:
    Originally Posted by scourdx View Post
    Pretty much all DLC has expiry date. For instance Dragon Age Collector DLC expires in April 2010.

  8. NikeFerrari:
    I prefer the EU edition since it includes the soundtracks on 3 separate disks, each in it's own paper sleeve with different artwork and that's what i got.

  9. twistedsymphony:
    damn... thats a lot nicer than a stupid download code.

  10. enemyzero:
    I must admit that I was not that impressed with this one, especially as it cost so much. I was taking some comfort in the fact that the GOW 1 and 2 games were supposedly "exclusive" to the CE and then everyone on my forum started posting that it will be available on PlayUK in the next month or so.

    At least the game itself was not so much of a let down!

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