PSP: God of War: Chains of Olympus

Currently released in America on PSP, if you like blade swinging, mindless killing and Greek Mythology, then this is your type of game. Following in the line of the formally console based action title, SCE Santa Monica have finally ported the action-adventure title over to the PSP but does this port live up to the hype?.

You play Kratos, a ruthless Spartan warrior hell bent on revenge against the gods for making him take his wife and Daughter. The story in COD, predates the first PS2 installment and takes place 10 years before the lead up to the start of the original game. Kratos is immediately sent on another mission by the god in retaliation against the invading Persian army. Along the way he discovers the sun chariot and the temple of Helios where Athena pleas for Kratos to save Helios.
What then ensures is a plot full of twists and turns though the plot is easily forgettable by the great game play and doesn’t shine out in any way.

Game play is what you would expect from a God of War game. Simple attacks are done by the square button which is basically all you’ll need for a majority of the game while aerial attacks are all controlled by mashing triangle. There aren’t alot of weapons in the game as you’ll be mostly using Kratos Blades of Chaos which sufficiently does the job well for a large portion of the game. However there are a few additions like Zeus’s gauntlet which allows for more damage and special combo attacks all of which can be upgraded by the collection of red orbs dropped by enemies. There are at times where you’ll feel like all you’re doing is just the same repetitive actions again and again. The action is broken up by a mini-game for a few enemies where you’ll tap certain buttons displayed to you on screen at the right time for a more vicious kill.

Magic, though limited, do return in this installment but for the most part does not play a big role in terms of combat. You can obtain 3 types of magic. Efreet Magic which allows you to summon Efreet who creates a powerful blast on the ground eliminating nearby enemies whereas Light of Dawn throws fireballs at selected enemies allowing long range attacks. Save points are plenty and you can blast through most of the game without even using one. God of War Chains of Olympus plays very much like it’s predecessors and retains much of what made the game play so great even when condensed into the size of a portable.

Visually the game is stunning, even given the limited screen size the of PSP the game rarely hinders in frame rate. The only noticeable drop only occurred during transitions between places in the levels where the rest of the level is loaded into memory. Kratos and enemies are detailed in their set up and all the viciousness from the action is brought into light where you’ll see blood splatter from hits to the aftermath of unleashing hell upon enemies. Levels are vast and impressive to look at such as seeing the fiery depths of Hades to the gigantic Titans of Tartarus. Story elements are told through a mix of pre-rendered CG and in game cut-scenes which not only look impressive but do a marvelous job of using the capacities of the PSP.

The audio in this game definitely requires the use of headphones for the best enjoyment. The music is all orchestrated in full and mixes well with the onscreen action. The voice acting does a decent job though the emotion in some parts is not conveyed well by Kratos.

Given that the PSP is missing an analogue stick and two buttons, you’ll wonder how they managed to retain a majority of the controls from the PS2 editions. What they have done is mapped more actions to the shoulder buttons in combination to face buttons. This does the work decently but you can be overwhelmed by remembering what combination does what.

The game however does tend to be on the short side, clocking the normal difficulty in 6 hours though harder difficulties do stretch this time longer. Upon finishing the game you unlock God mode, this is of course, a much harder version of the whole game and will mostly be played by expert or perfectionists. There are unlock-ables and extras obtained by completing the main story and challenges in the games treasures menu.

Overall the game though short lives much to it’s hype and definitely a must have for any PSP owner wanting to at obtain an additional game to the limited selection for the PSP.

Game Play: 8.7
Replay Value: 7.8

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