If you're reading this review, you probably already love the God of War series. If so, keep reading; if not, keep reading as well! For several hours, the PSP became an extension of my hands; this syndrome was originated by one of the best games ever made for the PSP. God of War: Chains of Olympus met everyone's expectations, delivering a near-perfect presentation and incredibly fun gameplay. As gory as God of War gets, we all know that's part of the charm of the game, and maybe because it's based on ancient mythology, it doesn't feel quite as crude as, let's say, The Godfather or Grand Theft Auto.
The God of War series has been unique, despite the few knockoffs that have made an attempt to impress gamers, ever since the first God of War came out for PS2. The series follows the path of Kratos, a badass Spartan warrior with more muscles than Sylvester Stallone in Rambo. In the PS2 installments, Kratos sets out for revenge, as he feels the gods have done nothing but take advantage of him and make his life miserable. Chains of Olympus is actually a prequel, so we'll find answers to questions of the past. During this journey you'll discover why Kratos has become so enraged and blood-thirsty. Well, sort of. The truth is, Kratos' nature seems to be that of a cold-blooded killer, and the last thing he needed is to be abused. The gods of Olympus command him to liberate the city of Sparta from destruction. Despite the gods' wishes, he would just love to do his own thing and stop being their servant, but it seems like that's not an option. Early in the game he'll be fighting against the Persian army, which is trying to take over Sparta; at the same time, a Godzilla-looking monster insists on getting him out of the way; later on, he'll have to try and save Helios, the god of the sun. As if that wasn't enough, Hades awaits. What else could happen? It's no wonder he's so pissed off in the next chapter!
As you may know, God of War games have a lot of combat action. Even though the game belongs to the action / adventure genre, it fits more in the first category, as Kratos will be fighting enemies almost non-stop, whether it's scrawny soldiers, humanoid goats, obnoxious birds, stout cyclops, full-fledged bosses or annoying gorgons. The game is not very difficult; however, you might find yourself frustrated a few times when fighting a boss battle, as they cause much more damage than any of the other enemies.
If you feel the battles are a bit too challenging, you could start the game in Mortal (Easy) mode. The only difference is the combat; the story, puzzles, and everything else remains the same. However, everyone should play in Hero (Normal) mode in order to make the most out of the game. If you finish the game you'll unlock cutscenes, concept art, challenges, and a bonus costume! You'll also be able to unlock God mode, which is for those who think "Hard" is not hard enough.
The combat style is pretty much the same as on the PS2. Kratos will inflict light and heavy attacks (square and triangle) with his favorite weapon, the Blades of Chaos, and later with Zeus' Gauntlet, a huge iron glove that delivers heavy punches left and right. He can also perform different combos if you hit different button combinations. You can guard with the L button and dodge away with L and R plus direction. Dodging was difficult sometimes, and it made me use magic instead. That's the only complaint I have; my hands feel cramped after a while, and I missed the PS2's DualShock controller. The R button is used for heavy attacks that involve magic. If you hold R and then hit or hold one of the face buttons, you'll strike with the Efreet power, the Light of Dawn, etc. The first one is the most exciting, as a glowing body, bigger than Kratos, comes out of Kratos himself and hits the ground (and whoever is in its way) with amazing power. The Light of Dawn allows you to throw light beams at the enemy. Later in the game, you'll be able to deflect certain enemy attacks with the Sun Shield, causing extra damage. It's always fun to use, as the enemies didn't expect their attack to backfire on them! That's not the only use for the Sun Shield though, as it will become a master key you'll have to use on numerous occasions.
Of course, opening doors is not always that easy. Even though Chains of Olympus doesn't contain a whole lot of puzzles, you'll be once again pushing boxes into place, moving and rotating statues, activating levers, rotating switches, redirecting light beams, etc. I would have liked a little more variety and a few new inventions, but I guess God of War was never known for its puzzling situations. Other than that, Kratos will also swim and climb walls a few times, but I felt there wasn't enough platforming compared to the PS2 titles. I didn't want it to be like The Prince of Persia, but I definitely wanted more.
Throughout the game, you'll find a huge amount of treasure chests you shouldn't miss. Some give you health and magic to fill up the meter, and others will contain the famous red orbs, which you'll use to upgrade your weapons and powers when they add up. Killing enemies also gives you plenty of red orbs, but missing treasure chests will translate into less power, and therefore, less fun. Some of those containers are especially important, as they carry Gorgon Eyes and Phoenix Feathers. Every time you collect five of one kind, the health or magic gauge will increase. If you can't handle missing out on the goods, you better make sure and explore every corner, because they are everywhere. Sometimes you'll have to break a wall, other times you'll have to open a hidden door, climb on top of a ledge, etc.
The game has a good amount of storytelling, as always wrapped up with plenty of action. The cutscenes are phenomenal. Even though they seem to be missing a bit of depth and sharpness when displayed on the small PSP screen, the overall result is impressive. In some occasions, Kratos will look teeny weenie and not as imposing as when his warrior torso takes up the whole screen. However, even when he's that small, the gameplay remains unharmed. Those who own a slim PSP can go bigger by connecting it to the TV, although you may not find the visuals as attractive if you do so. The incredible mythological environments, the amount of on-screen creatures, the lighting, the textures, and the non-stop combat moves make GOW: Chains of Olympus one of the best-looking games on Sony's handheld device, with very short loading times and barely any frame rate issues. It's true that the game doesn't look quite as detailed as the PS2 installments, but you couldn't ask for much more than what this game has to offer. Also, this game has something others don't have on the PSP, which is the great cinematics. Whether it's a cutscene or during combat, the camera work is artistic and immersing.
Equally immersing are the voices of veteran God of War voice actors T.C. Carson (Kratos) and Linda Hunt (Narrator). I couldn't imagine the game without them. They truly do a great job and put the stamp of authenticity on the game. If you add that to the always-welcomed God of War music, with its legendary drumbeats, mythological and ethnical feel, you got an A+ soundtrack. Needless to say, the sound effects also carry the signature of the God of War franchise and are just perfect.
In conclusion, know that God of War: Chains of Olympus is definitely a must-buy game for all current fans; for those who haven't had the chance to play it yet, this game presents a great opportunity to do so. If you like the action / adventure genre, enjoy mythology, and can't wait to become a badass ancient warrior, what are you waiting for? This prequel has everything you've come to expect from God of War, just in a little disc and on a smaller screen. Have a blast!
HOPE YOU LIKE IT BY ELITE999