God of War: Chains of Olympus – (PSP)

Kronos returns to ancient Greece, earlier…. in this prequel to the PS2 classics.
Is it any good? find out over at Fidget, in my review.

God of War : Chains of Olympus

God of War : Chains of Olympus

It’s a well known historical fact, (i.e one you get off the telly and internet) that nobody actually did anything in Ancient Greece other than drink lots of wine and kill people. It’s also widely known that they had proper Gods in those days, who didn’t balk at the idea of throwing a lightning bolt at your face and then eating your family. Such is the dreamy past that the God of War games take place within.

Anyone who ever played the PS2 incarnations of this mythology based hack and slash series knows that the game rests on two principals; gushing blood and violent death.  Dispensed by Kratos, a bald-headed Spartan sociopath for hire.  Usually booked in by the Gods to blooter whichever one gets too uppity along with half the population of the Aegean along the way.

Having already scourged his way through two games, this PSP exclusive prequel tells the short but brilliantly realised story of how Kratos first tries to redeem himself of the horrific slaughters of his past, by slaughtering even more people in new places. So it’s business as usual, as you wander everywhere from buggering about in ancient temples and beating the undead out of Charon the Ferryman to escaping from Hades itself; solving puzzles, hacking heads off and engaging in boss fights with Gods, demons and giant mythological monsters.

Having a pedigree like Ready At Dawn (who also released the classic Daxter) and following two of the best PS2 actioners there was always going to be a lot of expectation here.  This is why it’s so great  to have a game that exceeds your highest expectations of the platform.  The graphics are easily better than those of the original game, and it sounds just as impressive.

It also feels huge, even on a small screen, with grand vistas stretching off in the distance and giant Titans moving in the dark recesses of the underworld. There simply hasn’t been a game that looks this good on the PSP, and until Sony start making PS3 games playable through the handheld little brother it isn’t likely to be beaten.

But not only is it damn fine looking, the gameplay is second to none, losing nothing of the original playability and fun, and still keeping you on your toes while fending off hordes of Gorgons and Minotaurs.  The combat and new weapons all work perfectly with the PSP’s fewer buttons actually make some of the action-combos much easier to perform. True, it’s a shorter game than the originals, but with several levels of rock hard difficulty to unlock, there’s a lot of replay value.

This really is by far the best and most essential release on the PSP, it’s both a brilliant prequel and gaiden story to the existing series, meanwhile adding a little flavour to the ongoing story and whetting the appetites before the inevitable God of War 3. But more than that, Chains of Olympus is an event for the platform as it shows that the PSP has real potential when it’s used properly.


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