God of War: Chains of Olympus  (PlayStation Portable, 2008) Reviews

God of War: Chains of Olympus (PlayStation Portable, 2008)

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The God of War formula has been perfectly transfered to a portable

Jan 6, 2009
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Sharply detailed graphics, fluid controls, bonus content, high production values

Cons:Game length is a little on the short side

The Bottom Line: Any PSP owner should be glad to have this game in their collection.  This is one of those games that make you glad you bought this handheld.


God of War: Chains of Olympus has done the same thing that the SOCOM and the GTA series have done by releasing a new console-styled game designed for the PSP.   However unlike those games, God of War works perfectly on the PSP control scheme. There are no akward moments like there are when playing GTA or Metal Gear Solid on the PSP. The gameplay and story are so fluid that it makes it hard not to recommend this game.

Anyone who has played God of War before knows how the game works. Its an action/adventure title where the main character, Kratos, uses his blades of chaos attatched to him as a curse from the gods. Now I'm not going to get into all the Greek Mythology but lets just say the story is very good and well narrorated.

Everything in the game is so fine-tuned and natural-feeling that I have little to no issues with how the game works. If you have ever played a God of War game then you know how this game works, with a few exceptions. The face buttons remain the same, where triangle does hard attacks, square does quick attacks, circle is your grabs, and X causes Kratos to jump. Of course, any combinations of these buttons results in combos and more deadly moves which you can unlock as you go through the game.  Kratos can also preform magic, an evade roll, and blocking (which can also be done to counter enemies attacks). If you are familiar with God of War you also know that the game sometimes engages you in Action button mini-games so you can play certain parts you otherwise wouldn't be able to do with the normal controls by playing a simon-says sort of mini-game (pressing whatever button shows up on-screen).  Although one big issue I have with them is that they make the whole sequence pointless. Lets say your getting ready to kill a cyclops, well if you go with using the action buttons then you end up staring at the same spot on the screen waiting for your next command. By doing this you end up not paying attention to what is going on on the screen!  So you don't get to see yourself stabbing an eye out or ripping a head off, it ruins the fun on some level. Although it is a nice change in pace for the game.

I'm going to take a step back and tell a little something about the story, because it sure is something worth paying attention to. I personally love Greek mythology although I don't know if this story is an accurate representation of one, but the way it is told sure sounds like it.  Kratos is still in service to the gods and witnesses the sun falling from the sky.  Throughout the game you enter the temple of Helios and ride the sun chariot to defeat the source of darkness.  Without going into to much detail or spoilers the story reveals to us a loved one of Kratos and the story progresses around this as well.  The narroration, cut scenes, and cinematics all flow nicely in the game. Not only that but you can tell the production values were higher than even some PS2 games.

Now the cut scenes obviously look beautiful, just as good as the PS2 counter parts, due to the CGI and prerendered nature of them.  I was impressed at how astonishing the game looked when it actually got started though! The use of shadows, lighting, and other effects we don't usually see in a PSP game. And to top it all off it runs as smooth as butter, even when in combat with many enemies. Is there a reason for this? Well yes, it is the first PSP game (that I'm aware of) that uses the PSP's full processing power. For those of you that don't know when the PSP launched Sony underclocked its GPU, the chip that runs the graphics, at 222MHz when it was fully capable of 333MHz due to fear of battery life issues. And, as far as I know, this is the first PSP game to run at the full potential of 333MHz which results in the crisper look and feel of the game, as well as the additions of shadows and much more. If you go to youtube you can see comparissons of how much the game improved when switching from 222MHz to 333MHz. But enough of my nerd showing, the game looks great and you won't find anything better on the PSP. The biggest problems I have had with PSP games, graphically is that the characters and important things look good, but the environments end up being barren and feel kind of empty. God of War is not like this at all and I would even be willing to say that it looks as good as the first God of War.

Another thing that works just as well as a PS2 God of War game is Chains of Olympus' soundtrack.  It features the same orchestral sound that works perfectly with the epic battles that Kratos faces throughout the game.  The sound of clanging blades and grunts of fallen enemies sounds as great as you would expect from a console game.

One complaint I have is that even though the gameplay is fun, you don't really face any huge battles (unless you count the mini games) with many enemies. Theres not really a moment where there are more than 5 or 6 enemies on screen at once.  I realize that this is a hardware limitation because of the PSP's processing power but it does detract from the experience overall.  There are somewhat challenging battles with medusas and cyclopses who take more hits than normal enemies but theres no swarm of enemies and theres not many huge boss battles.

Replayability has always been a helping factor in the God of War series, something you don't usually see in single-player only games. Once you beat the game you unlock treasures that include artwork, cut scenes from the game, making of videos, and much more. Theres also 5 mini-games that, when beaten, unlock even more content. They aren't to hard but I could definetly see myself coming back to play them for a short burst of fun. One of the other things unlocked is God mode.   This is the hardest mode for the single player game and I don't know if I just suck at the game but I found it incredibly challenging.  The orbs are worth less, enemies are tougher, and your attacks are weaker.  All the extra content was cool and fun in its own way and gave the game a rewarding and satisfying feel at the end.

All in all, God of War: Chains of Olympus perfectly transfered everything you would expect from a PS2 God of War to the PSP.  The controls work seemlessly and the orchestral music and beautiful look greatly enhance the portable experience.  Any PSP owner that can play this game should at least get an opprotunity to play it.  I realize that not everyone is an action/adventure fan but this game is widely accessible and fun to play.


Recommend this product? Yes


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