Game: God of War: Chains of Olympus
I know what you guys are thinking, “The comic book guy is writing game reviews now? Man, this site has so jumped the shark. Even though saying 'jumped the shark' jumped the shark like three years ago. Why am I still talking to my computer?” Thing is, I love everything about the God of War series. I love the action. I love the stories, and the histories they incorporate. I love the characters. I love the endless supply of rockin’ boobage. So let me be the first (well, let’s be real, I know you’ve read reviews somewhere else, and shame on you, and I know I’m not your first, but that doesn’t mean I can’t pretend) to tell you Ready at Dawn’s new PSP iteration delivers everything you’ve come to expect from the series.
Daxter showed everyone Ready at Dawn knew how to make a great game on the tiniest of Playstations. The PSP was always supposed to be the PS2-lite, but God of War is the first title to make me feel like I’m truly carrying around a portable Playstation 2. Graphically the game does not miss a beat from its home-schooled brethren. I thought there was no way the creatures in this game would look anywhere near as good as they did in previous versions, but I was proven wrong quickly. In fact, when played with the PSP-2000 series TV cables, Chains of Olympus looks just as great as the first God of War. The frame rate never dropped while I was playing, and all of Kratos’ more elaborate combos are beautifully animated.
Despite the PSP’s single analog nub, controlling Kratos was never an issue during the time I spent playing. In fact, the only difference I noticed was the mapping of the “evade control” to a combination of the L and R buttons while flicking the analog nub instead of the PS2 way of just flicking the right analog stick. The combos remained mostly the same from the home versions, and I found myself quickly returning to form when cutting up the Persian army. In fact the only time I had any trouble with the PSP’s so-called limited controls was during the initial action sequence mini-games. While it wasn’t a problem to hit the buttons in time, I found it a bit difficult to rotate the analog nub in time with what the game demanded (Especially during the “hidden” sex mini-game. Those women are so particular about how they want their buttons pushed). Once I got accustomed to the sensitivity of the analog nub, the rest of those sequences scattered throughout the game were no problem.
One of my favorite elements of the GoW series has always been the story. While Chains of Olympus is easily the shortest of the three games so far (clocking in at around 5-5 ½ hours), it stands tall with Kratos’ other adventures. Without giving too much away, the plot involves Kratos taking on the Persian army before being summoned away by righteously racked Eos to restore her brother Helios to the sky before Morpheus does too much damage. So much more happens, but I can’t give away every last bit, you have to be there for the ride. Luckily, since this game is a prequel, we don’t have to deal with any cliffhangers (I’m looking at you God of War II) driving us crazy until the next game comes out. Sure, it’s not exactly the way things happened in Greek mythology, but the unique interpretations the developers have are always enjoyable, and have never let me down.
Believe it or not, there are a few things I wish were handled a bit better. For one, this is by far the easiest GoW game to date. Normally I wouldn’t even mind, but with the game being as short as it is, its easiness seemed to make the game go by even quicker. The new weapon introduced, the Gauntlet of Zeus, was pretty unnecessary. In fact it seemed only needed to pass through the “puzzles” made just for the weapon. I get they wanted to add something new to the title, but if that something doesn’t “Wow” you right away, do you really need it? Of course, the puzzles are nothing new either. Carry body/box onto switch to open door. Pull switch here, move box there, open door over there. The puzzles are never difficult, they’re more annoying breaks in the action than anything. Not so annoying as to ruin a play through of the game, but just annoying enough to irk you.
All in all, God of War: Chains of Olympus is probably one of the best games ever made for the PSP. As a God of War title, it falls in third place, but that’s not a bad thing, those games are just really great. I wholeheartedly recommend buying this game if you already have a PSP, and somehow haven’t already picked this up. If you happen to have more patience than I do, and haven’t yet purchased the PSP system (damn you Star Wars bundle), I would wait until June for the super-sweet bundle SONY is putting out containing a blood red PSP donning a head-shot of Kratos and the game in one package. No matter which way you choose to buy this game, it’s totally worth every penny of the asking price.