Review by Darksun45230

"God of War on the PSP works!"

Where does one begin with a portable version of God of War? Does it compare to the others? Is it worth the buy? Will it have all my favorite things about God of War, and more? You may be surprised at what you'll find and what you won't. And for those who have yet to play a God of War, this might be a good time to play it.

Summary
Story: Kratos, the amoral Spartan warrior we've all come to love, is as ruthless as ever in this game. Chains of Olympus took place years before the PS2 titles. Surprisingly there a few twists and turns, and even moments where you'll be saddened by Kratos fate. The story is one of God of Wars strong points.

Gameplay: In terms of length, originality, and gameplay compared to the original God of War I can only say that if you've never played a God of War before, then this it a start. For those who have then don't expect vast improvements.

Graphics & Sound: From beginning to end we're astounded by the epic graphics of God of War. From enormous monsters to ancient temples of puzzles, it's a treat all around.

Overall: If you're looking for God of War III you're not going to find it here. This is God of War Zero in comparison to the overall features.

Story:
You play as the Spartan warrior Kratos, who is in servitude to the gods of Olympus. Why? Well, we don't know. The game never alludes to why. Those who've played the later titles know exactly why. The game starts off with a bang when Kratos is thrown into a battle surrounding the Persian assault. As soon as he's finished, he's thrown into godly affairs unlike anything he's ever dreamed of...

What can I say about it? Everything about God of War is based off of Greek mythology and that's exactly what Kratos does. He writes himself into it. By tearing out the hearts of minions of evil gods and never saying sorry. If you're worried about overwhelming storyline, or long, drawn out monologues then worry no longer! It's built well, clear, cut and precise. Yet there are many surprises waiting for even veterans to God of War.

Gameplay
Now you get those hard to ask questions answered. Does this compare? Well, let me paint a picture for you. God of War: Chains of Olympus is a prequel; not meant to be compared with its older titles. But we do. One must measure these things in length, originality, and overall gameplay.

Now when I talk about length, what do I mean? No, I'm not talking about how long it took to beat the game. What most people forget is the replay-ability. I'm sure if you ever played a video game and at first put it on easy mode, then when you get better you play it on normal. Then guess what happens? You want it to be harder. God of War's complete length is unmeasured, because everyone has a different way of playing it. So what can I say to people who are looking for a definite answer? Eight hours. And that's on Hard mode. I happen to be a skilled player by the way. So take my answer with a grain of salt. In terms of length, God of War and God of War II were not much longer then this. But, they were longer.

You might be confused when I talk about originality. 'Hey, I think the game is pretty original' you say. I'm talking about in terms of originality compared to the PS2 titles. So we start with the biggest factor; the weapons, the magic, and the relics. Why? I just explained that.

You receive the Blades of Chaos that are the same weapons in God of War (PS2.) But they aren't the same which is the real dilemma here. Ready at Dawn poured water on them, literally. The moves you're used to in GoW and GoW II are almost gone. But don't fret; they knew which ones we liked and which ones we didn't. The Plume of Prometheus is alive and well and so are many others. This reviewer's problem with the 'new' Blades of Chaos is that they don't bring anything new to the table. And if they do, I don't see it.

The 'glove' is the only other weapon you get. I can't really mention the gloves name, spoiler purposes you know? The glove is pretty much the best item in the game. Why? Well because it's overpowered. I don't complain because when you're cornered by two armor-Cyclopes, it's best not to be picky. The glove has some amazing moves, none that really stand out but they do a lot of damage. When you get it use it, you won't regret it.

The Efreet is one of the first magic powers you acquire and staunch contender for most unoriginal attack. I must confess I see a pattern immediately after getting this move. For those who have never played GoW you would see it. But the rest of us know about the Rage of Poseidon and the Rage of Chronos, right? Their even make you mash the O button like they do. I have to credit them on bringing out a whole new element, what with the Efreet animation, but it smells like shoddy programming to me.

Light of Dawn, the second magic you get. It reminds me of Zeus's Lightening, because heck, it's basically the same thing. Zeus's Lightening involves forming little lightening bolts in your hand and throwing them like a javelin. Guess what? You form a small ball in your hand and throw it like a javelin.

The 'mask' is a useful magic. When you use it, it continues damage to all nearby enemies. It's useful, especially when you're surrounded by three very angry skeleton-monsters. You get it pretty late in the game, but it's worth having anyway. Use it sparingly as it takes a lot of Mana.

We move onto the relic, the Shield of Helios It's the Golden Fleece all over again. Let me begin at the Golden Fleece. The Fleece allowed you to parry enemy moves and reflect beams back them with ease. Now, we compare the shield. The Shield of Helios eventually allows you to parry moves and reflect back at the opponent. You just have to level it up first. My problem with this is the shield takes up a space in your inventory, your red orb inventory. It makes you think you have more then you do. The Golden Fleece was merely a relic that took up the relic section. I think Ready at Dawn tried to slip this by us. Shame.

Phew! That was lengthy. At last we arrive at the overall gameplay. Where you, the player, travel to far away temples, cities, and nether-regions solving puzzles and playing button mini-games. The puzzles however aren't too hard to figure out. Plus, since the game is short you're not bound to find a lot of them. I liked being stumped for one, being challenged. It's why I play these games. And I could feel some chunk was missing from it.

As for the button mini-games, yes, the...uh...certain...mini-game of exotic qualities is present right after defeating the first boss. The other button mini-games involve the finishing move when defeating the enemy. In a game like GoW (PS2), there were some enemies that couldn't be defeated otherwise. We're not given such a restriction. Playing mini-games with enemies is fun and never gets dull. Most involve random sequences of button pushing, mashing a certain button, or rotating the analog stick clockwise/counterclockwise. Like I said, it's fun.

Overall (yes, overall, overall) the gameplay is nothing to sniff about. The developers did a fantastic job putting GoW on the PSP. And despite the minor flaws and repetitiveness it's still a great game.

Graphics & Sound:
After playing this game, not many can still say the PSP doesn't try. GoW has impressive next-gen graphics put on little screen for an unbelievable amount of fun. And with it, the music soundtrack that acts like a sidekick, compelling the scenery even further into action then before. You'll find old tunes from the original GoW as well, so don't fret. Overall, I can't say anything bad about either of them, because if there is something wrong. I can't find it.

Controls:
We arrive at another big question. How does it handle? Will my GoW experience be the same? If not, is it for the better or worse? Let's state the obvious differences. The PSP only has one analog stick compared to that of a dual analog you would find on a standard PS2/PS3 controller. The PSP lacks a R2/R3 and L2/L3 button compared to a PS2/PS3 controller. And that's it. So, does it get in the way? No. You'll find every move reassigned. Both magic and attacks have been rearranged to fit the new controls.

The reason why this isn't a big problem is that it mimics that of a PS2/PS3 controller. So the conversion is made easier on the player. There are some issues this reviewer has with using abilities in mid-air, but that aside, it's not bad. If you want an example take the spell Light of Dawn where you press the Square + L Trigger while the Efreet requires you to press the Triangle + L Trigger. It works like that.

So will my experience be the same? Nope. But will it be worse? No. It will be different though when switching back to GoW and GoW II, but you get used to it.

The Good
+Mini-game button mashing madness
+Adjustable difficulty for harder/easier gameplay
+Graphics & sound rival that of major PSP titles
+Epic storyline that gives depth to the protagonist Kratos
+Unlockable extras like God Mode and Challenge of Hades
+Gigantic bosses
+Huge defined environments

The Arguments
-Players may have difficulty adjusting to PSP's controls
-In-game length is short
-Less puzzles
-Smallest arsenal of weapons/magic/relics
-A lot less secret places to find Health/Magic augments
-A lot less bosses to encounter
-Challenge of Hades is ridiculously difficult even for seasoned pros
-Weapons/Relics/Magic are obviously similar to weapons in GoW

Overall
In comparison to the games older titles this is a slight downgrade in some areas but not so in others. You'll still be taken on an adventure of Greek mythology. And you'll experience the complete and total lack of morality when it comes to human life. However, you'll do it all with less time, less puzzles, and less moves. There had to be sacrifices when shrinking it down to a portable, I guess those were it.

If you're new to the series then this game is one-hundred percent for you. Why? That's because in terms of gameplay, Chains of Olympus is like God of War Zero. It has less of the things that God of War (PS2) had but things you wouldn't find it. It acts the same as GoW II in many respects where the little things have been improved on.

If you're a season pro, who has played GoW and GoW II then it's still for you. Just not as epic. You'll notice that you're armed with the smallest arsenal in the series. That the length is shorter compared to the PS2 titles. And that nudging feeling in the back of your asking, 'what's going on here?'

God of War: Chains of Olympus is currently one of the best titles out for the PSP. If you like action, gore, and topless women, then this game is for you! What are you waiting for?


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/07/08, Updated 03/18/08

Game Release: God of War: Chains of Olympus (US, 03/04/08)


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