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Platform

Playstation Portable

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

SCEA

 

Developer

Ready at Dawn

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

March 4, 2008

 

 

- Easily one of the best — if not the best — PSP games to date

- Amazing transition of controls from console to handheld

- Tons of glorious “death blow” combo moves to apply on hapless mythical creatures and beings

- Lots of save points

 

 

- Cannot rotate camera to see obscured view areas of the game environment

- Adventure ends much too soon

 

 

Review: Daxter (PSP)

Review: God of War II (PS2)

Review: God of War (PS2)

 

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God of War: Chains of Olympus

Score: 9.5 / 10

 

Without dispute, one of the greatest first-party franchises of the PlayStation 2 is God of War, despite not reaching the Sony console until late into its lifespan as a current-generation system.

 

chains of olympus          chains of olympus

 

Both games that were released, first in 2005 then in 2007, were spectacular action titles, with awesome gameplay that had gamers take on the role of the Spartan warrior Kratos, who bloodily (extremely bloodily) battled against the mythical gods and creatures of Olympus with his plasma-splattering weapons of destruction and death, including his furiously fun-to-use slicing and dicing chained Blades of Chaos.

 

God of War also pushed the boundary of the system’s graphical quality past what many thought was an unbreakable barrier at the time. With the PS3 now here, God of War gamers surely are clamoring and hoping for a next console version of Kratos’ adventures. Details are a little vague when there is indeed a next-generation God of War coming — although Sony’s “oracles” have apparently foretold of one soon (that’s what’s written in the God of War: Chains of Olympus manual, anyway, with a teaser “Coming Soon” on the back cover, without any 

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kind of date listed). But until that day comes, PSP gamers have the pleasure of enjoying the most recent God of War title, God of War: Chains of Olympus, an incredible game that could just be the single best PSP title released to date.

 

This is a prequel title, telling the tale of Kratos before he set off on his PS2 adventures. In God of War: Chains of

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Olympus, Kratos, who’s already in servitude to the gods, must make a most difficult decision: save his beloved young (and very deceased, at his hands no less) daughter or save the world from ending — while battling a myriad of mythical creatures and deities such as Medusa, Cyclops, Minotaur and Hydra before plunging into the deepest depths of Hades for a final epic battle against the Queen of the Damned.

 

Although God of War: Chains of Olympus features a fantastically well-scripted story, It’s the gameplay that’s the star of the show, with tons of gloriously gory gameplay highlighted by spectacular weapons that pummel enemies to a bloody pulp, eviscerating all that foolishly enter the path of Kratos’ Blades of Chaos. Then there’s the fist of fury, equally destructive with its highly effective death-blows punches, that gamers will be able to switch to later once it’s claimed in victory from a fallen foe after a Boss battle (there’s more than a few of the classic Boss battles, which are tough but certainly rewarding once the Boss has been vanquished). And Kratos can even dabble a bit with magic attacks.

 

Anybody concerned that there’s no possible way for the PSP to somehow have strong controls for this type of game considering that the PSP is missing the second analog stick of the PS2 controller will be very surprised with how well God of War: Chains of Olympus performs.

 

The hack-and-slash combat is smooth and never problematic, even in the fiercest of warring situations by using a combo system implementing the PSP analog stick, L and R buttons and the four shape buttons. The fighting requires not only an adroitness of general controls, but also a Simon Says approach: when certain enemies are close to defeat, Kratos must follow (or choose to follow, on lesser enemies) the exact button or match the analog-stick rotation pattern that flashes on-screen within the appropriate time limit in order to win. There are also times, especially in the final battle, where Kratos needs to catch with his shield deadly projectiles and fling them right back where they came from (namely, toward the hellish Queen). Never were the controls an issue, behaving just as effectively as if one was playing the next console version of God of War.

 

chains of olympus          chains of olympus

 

Those responsive controls are what make God of War: Chains of Olympus such a great game. Swinging Kratos’ Blades of Chaos, which are essentially two razor-sharp blades at the end of two chains that Kratos uses by violently twirling through the air until they come in deadly contact with an unfortunate foe, is great fun, particularly during the many mini-battles throughout the game (the blades are versatile, too, serving as climbing instruments).

 

Kratos will travel to an enclosed area in the game, then will be cut off from any route of escape by evil-spirited blockades. Then, enemies of various difficulty and size (depending on what part of the adventure a gamer may be at during a particular time) materialize, just waiting for Kratos to cut them to bloody shreds. For the most part, there’s little for Kratos to do except annihilate his mythical enemies, although there are those Boss battles which require some more advanced fighting techniques.

 

Despite its hack-and-slash mentality, God of War: Chains of Olympus requires some adept button combo skills to complete Kratos’ adventure. Those techniques rely a lot on not only a combo system which, by pushing the proper button combination, can unleash even deadlier weapon and/or magic attacks. And gamers need not worry about falling in battle, because there’s plenty of save points throughout the game, cutting down on backtracking for those unfortunate gamers defeated in the heat of mythical battle.

 

Another stunning aspect of God of War: Chains of Olympus is the excellent graphics that astonishingly stand side-by-side in quality with the visuals of its PS2 brethren. The cut-scenes are absolutely beautiful, probably the best the PSP has ever seen up until now. And it’s not just the cut-scenes, either. The in-game graphics are striking, and paired with strong voice-acting, bring God of War: Chains of Olympus’ story to vivid life. Unfortunately, however, the story ends all too soon, as one can expect only about six hours of gameplay —although what a great six hours it will be!

 

Simply put, God of War: Chains of Olympus is an amazing title. Tragically, this is the last PSP game from Ready at Dawn, which has avowed to never develop for the PSP again, instead choosing to focus on the next-generation consoles instead. That’s a shame, as they really did great work with this game – one that certainly is deserving of a sequel itself.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(June 30, 2008)

 

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