God of War: Chains of Olympus
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2008-03-18 PSP Action M (Mature) SCEA / Ready at Dawn Studios

God of War and God of War II were both titles of great proportions on the PS2, so I couldn't help but wonder if the PSP would handle it. But after playing the Battle of Attica demo disc, I was convinced, and now with the full game, even more.

God of War: Chains of Olympus takes place ten years before the events in God of War. Kratos is again a peon of the Gods, at their service seeking absolution for his sins. He is sent to Attica to help defend the city from a Persian invasion and a giant basilisk. In the meantime, Helios disappears, and the Gods have fallen into a state of deep slumber, so Athena asks for Kratos' help to retrieve Helios.

The gameplay is exactly the same as you know from the previous PS2 titles: hack and slash, and those "context sensitive attacks" we all enjoy so much (well, me, not so much). The focus is always on combat, with the execution scenes being shown in close-ups. Pretty much if you have played either of the previous God of War games, you will feel comfortable with the controls right away. They are exactly the same, with only an exception: since the PSP only has one analog stick, dodging is now done by holding the shoulder buttons and moving the analog in the direction you want to dodge. The shoulder buttons are also involved in using magic spells.

But Chains of Olympus isn't just a remake of what's already been done, there are a few new elements in the game to keep it fresh. For example, Kratos sports a few brand new combat moves, acquired again by collecting orbs and leveling up. The faithful Blades of Chaos are still there, but Kratos gets to play with a few new trinkets: the Sun Shield which allows him to block, parry and deflect projectiles, and the Gauntlet of Zeus that lets Kratos do a little punching with devastating effects.

As for new magic, there are three special tricks, obtained from either defeating bosses or solving certain puzzles: Efreet (a fire blast), Light of Dawn (a sphere of light) and Charon's Wrath (does damage and stops lesser enemies from moving).

There are also a series of collectible items that give you certain boosts when you collect five of each.

Chains of Olympus has monsters galore, hordes of demons, new creatures and some humans waiting for you to deliver them to their violent, gruesome, bloody deaths.

The environments are fantasic and the levels are quite large, and it's in those moments when the camera pans out to show you a particular room that you realize how impressive everything looks. The PSP handles it so well, and the entire game is a visual feast, from the crowded battles to the story cutscenes.

There may be a few slowdowns here and there when the scenes get a little crowded, but you won't even be bothered too much by them.

While it may not be as lenghty as its console counterparts, Chains of Olympus is still an epic must have for Kratos fans or otherwise. There's just no excuse not to get it, since it's a fantastic portable flashback to Kratos' roots.

Rest assured, the grandness of God of War fits just perfectly in the palm of your hand.

Special thanks to Tania Kingsrud and SCEA for providing a copy of this title.