|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ready At Dawn||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SCEA (SONY)||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 4, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
November 30, 2007 - Did you know that the highly-praised God of War series made its way to the PSP? Did you know that in just a few months you'll be able to fit Kratos's new story in the palm of your hands? And what's more, did you know that this game is just a delicious appetizer for what's coming next? Yes! God of War 3 has also been confirmed! That means we're going to have a lot of God of War action in the "hopefully" near future. For those of you who, just like me, loved the previous installments of God of War on the PS2, this is great news! Getting to play the God of War: Chains of Olympus demo was great news for me as well. Read on and find out all about it!
In God of War: Chains of Olympus Kratos will fight against daunting creatures of the ancient Greek mythology. The story happens much before his battle against Ares, so the game is a prequel of the PS2's God of War titles. Kratos takes on the arduous task of helping the gods and becoming their crusader. He journeys to the underworlds and battles ferocious beasts strewn throughout. He finds himself making a tough choice: his own personal redemption or saving Sparta from destruction. The game is, as always, full of fighting, puzzles, traps, and it seems like it even contains multiple endings! Sounds like a nice ride, doesn't it?
The demo places Kratos in the middle of battle. The Persian army has invaded Sparta, and he'll have to put his blades to work right away. Soldiers come from all over the place, and soon enough you'll be surrounded by a horde of enemies. It's pretty easy to battle those smaller minions, especially if you have played God of War before. When the area is clear, Kratos will go and shoot a Godzilla-looking beast with a big crossbow, nicely placed in the tower top. The monster will run away, and Kratos will continue his way at his own pace. He'll run by treasure chests, more enemies, and then a seaside scene; here you'll have to make sure and avoid the bombs that keep dropping on the beach non-stop. He'll cross a few more doors, just to end up trapped inside a room full of torches, empty boxes, and a treasure chest. Is this a puzzle? No, there's a door. As soon as you open it, a Cyclops will jump right in and try to crush your head with a thick log full of deadly thorns. Button-mashing will save you from this one, but the huge reptile is back and eats the Cyclops in one bite! Oh no! It turns out he's the one you're fighting, and he doesn't look happy at all. You'll be battling him while he makes your life difficult with ground slams and fire-breath. He's not really a boss though. The boss is just a few rooms away; it's the greedy and malevolent Persian King responsible for the invasion. You'll fight him and his underlings until they're all dead. Were you wondering about the final strike? It's bloody; bloody and crude. That's how God of War is; it can't be all work and no play!
The gameplay is very similar to the one found on the PS2. It feels like you're playing the same game, even if the lack of a second analog stick is noticeable sometimes. In the PSP's God of War: Chains of Olympus, when you press the square button Kratos performs a strong attack with the blades, and when you hit triangle, he'll do a light attack. X makes him jump, and circle activates switches, levers, and opens doors and chests full of health, magic, or orbs. Also, if Kratos is close to an enemy, he'll kill him with a clean stab when you press circle. When you hold L and push the PSP's tiny analog stick in a specific direction, Kratos will roll away and evade the attacks. Unfortunately, this is my least favorite control; it was much easier to push the other analog stick on the PS2 controller rather than having to use a secondary button in combination with the small thumbstick the PSP has. However, there probably wasn't a better way to implement the controls, and they are quite good overall. Just that one small complaint shouldn't hinder the rest of the gameplay.
As you might remember, every time you fight an enemy you'll obtain orbs, and those orbs can be traded for other weapons, attacks, or upgrades. As most games of this genre, button combinations have different effects on the enemies. There are always special attacks you can use against your enemies. If you hold R and then push one of the attack buttons, you'll trigger the special power, which uses up your magic but is well worth it. Some of the special attacks found in God of War I and II gave Kratos the power of lighting, turning enemies into stone, and more. The magic power I obtained in the demo was quite destructive and fun to use. It's the power of Efreet, the Persian King. Kratos will thrust the ground with a huge, magic arm that squashes enemies left and right.
The graphics look great for the PSP. They were slightly more detailed and advanced on the PS2, but on the PSP's smaller screen everything looks sharp and neat. I even plugged the PSP to my LCD screen to see what it looked like and have to say it wasn't that bad! Of course, PSP games don't have very much resolution, so don't expect a home theater experience if you plan to play the game that way. I think it's best played how it was made, on the small but generous PSP screen. That's how you'll see Kratos's shiny bald head at its best. The game didn't lose its feel by going to a portable platform. The epic music, deep voice-over acting, and expressive sound effects are great as well, and will sound very familiar to those who played before.
I can't wait to get my hands on the full version and beat the game. Even though it's very similar to the other games, I'm not tired yet of playing the series. Come March 4th, if you're a God of War fan and own a PSP, you better go out and get it! Of course we'll give you the final verdict when the game comes out.
CCC Site Director