Tuesday, May 20, 2008

God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP) Review

There are two definite series that will be remembered on the PlayStation 2, the first is Grand Theft Auto 3 Saga and the other is the 2 God of War games. Both Series did a lot to the system, as both were incredible game(s) that worked on many levels. The God of War was a great showing that Sony had a lot of potential in their first party games. In my opinion, excluding Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and two Gran Turismo games, none of the SCEA (and it's European and Japanese) divisions brought us games that we really enjoy and that helped sell the system.

When word came out that a God of War game would be coming out for the PSP, I felt this would be the game that would finally solidify the unit as a strong portable gaming console rather than a great multimedia unit. While it might not be as memorable as it's console brothers, Chains of Olympus is a fun game that everyone with a PSP should own.

Chains of Olympus takes place before the events of the console games and sheds some like onto Kratos, the star of the series. It begins about 10 years before the events from the first game as we control Kratos as he helps the Spartans fight against the Persians in Attica. As he defeats his opposition the sun disapears from the sky and Kratos must go to the temple of Helios to try to bring back the sun. This takes Kratos through various temples and the underworld as he fights his way and hopefully finding a way to stop the nightmares he has had (as we discover in God of War).

The gameplay of Chains of Olympus is very similar to the PS2 versions, but adapted to the PSP unit. The action buttons are done really well and the missing right analog stick that was used for strafing is changed to pressing both the L and R buttons and using the Analog numb. The weapons are extremely similar and anyone who has played the other games will be right at home.

The graphics and sound in the game are also top-notch. The PSP is very capable of playing games with stunning details and that is really the case with this one. There are very little problems with anti-aliasing and the game continues the cinematic experience with some very top-notch clips throughout the game, both CGI and in-game rendering. The game also loads very well with very little wait between stages. The sound is also extremely well done, taking a cue from the console version. At times, you will really think you're playing this game on your PS2 or PS3, and that is exactly what this system needs.

If there is a problem with the game is that even with the tutorials in the beginning of the game, those who haven't played the previous games might have to take some time to get adjusted to the controls, but it once you get the hang of it, you'll have no problems with it afterwards. The biggest problem that most will find is the game's length, which can be looked as both a blessing or a curse. For most experienced gamers, you should be able to beat the game in about 4-6 hours, which is decent for a portable title, but short for those who were expecting a lot more with a game of this prestige. While the game's length works well with the story, you probably will wish there was a bit more. There are some challenges to play after you've completed the game, but I am certain more people would have rather had more to the main-story instead of mini-games.

God of War: Chains of Olympus is a Great PlayStation Portable game that you must own if you play your PSP. This year has been an excellent year for the system with four standout titles already released this year: Patapon, Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core and echochrome along with God of War. If you've been looking for a reason to get the system, this is that reason. Also, Sony will be releasing (in early June) a Red PSP unit with Chains of Olympus and Superbad so if you have not already picked it up, you really have no excuse now. The game's length might be a bit of a throw-off for some, but if you're looking for some enjoyment and something worth every penny spent, then you will not be disapointed with God of War: Chains of Olympus.

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