God of War: Chains of Olympus
When it got known that Kratos would be making his first appearance on the PSP with God of War: Chains of Olympus, we suspected the handheld would be getting another top game. And that suspicion turned out to be completely correct!
The game starts before the events from the first God of War on PS2 and shows how Kratos loyally follows the orders of the gods of Olympus until he suddenly faces a dilemma. The story is naturally not important and is mostly used just to create the setting where you get to perform some bloody actions. Mythical opponents, hostile creatures that are willing victims be butchered, interactive pieces and a solid dose of testosteron are again the most important ingredients of this episode. Some titties and an off-screen erotic scene are also of course present, but whether we need to be happy about that is something I’ll leave up to you.
Those that have played one of the previous games will immediately feel at home. Despite the smaller screen the action and combat is very comparable to that of the previous adventures of Kratos; quite an achievement of the makers! The only movement that will need some getting used to is evasion. For that you need to go to work with both shoulder buttons and the stick, something that will remain clumsy up until the end of Chains of Olympus.
Next to the still as spectacular Blades of Chaos and accompanying combos, you also get a new weapon in the form of the Gauntlet of Zeus. This deadly glove shines at hitting your opponents, and also your magical attacks are again present. I even had the feeling that you can use these more than in the PS2 games.
Classic are also the possibilities to upgrade all your weapons and magic by collecting red orbs, while the feathers and eyes extend the life and magic bars.
You’ve probably figured it out already: this episode offers little innovation, but concentrates on the successfully porting the epic experience from the console games to the PSP. And this is done very well. From the first minutes on you get confronted with giant and spectacular opponents, beautiful and vast surroundings, nice movies and graphical effects that make you drool. On the technical side (the sound is also excellent and of high quality) this is without a doubt just about the best we’ve experienced on the Sony handheld up to now.
Those that didn’t like the puzzles in God of War 2 will be glad to hear that there’s less thinking involved here, but all the more fighting. Your wrists and fingers will be all but pleased with this. My hands more than once got cramped around my PSP and especially towards the end a feeling of repetition started to arise.
Too bad is that the veterans of the series won’t only recognise gameplay elements (quick-time events isn’t something new these days…) but also a lot of enemies. Apparently there wasn’t enough time or inspiration left to be very original and offer some more variation. That’s in effect also the biggest critic we can give the makers: it’s all but surprising eventhough we still enjoy the continuous action. The lifespan reflects this same trend, but the +/- 10 hours that Chains of Olympus kept us busy (for one play-through) felt just long enough.
God of War: Chains of Olympus nicely ports the action and epic of the console games to the PSP. Both the graphics, the animations, the fights and the controls are excellent but we do miss some innovation and surprise. It does remain an absolute top game on the handheld though, and a must-have for those that love unequalled action!