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God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP)

Mature
ESRB Rating
Genre
Perspective
Theme
91
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.0
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  dreamstealer (146)
Written on  :  Apr 14, 2009
Platform  :  PSP
Rating  :  2.86 Stars2.86 Stars2.86 Stars2.86 Stars2.86 Stars

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Summary

It is the God Of War, but a rather impotent one.

The Good

I often am biased towards PC games for a reason being they've been a major part of my life growing up. But I prefer having my mouse and keyboard absent while I engage in a “hack n slash” adventure. God of War was a title that at first glance would look depth-less, bland and trying to hard to be bold and gory but after thoroughly playing through it will you really get a chance to appreciate the beauty behind. The game is not at all original or revolutionary but simply strong diverse and challenging in every part making it an epic experience.

On hearing that the series was headed on to a portable platform I, surely like every fan was extremely excited but I'm pretty sure I was not alone by having the “too many compromises expected” thought lingering at the back of my head.

But holys**t I was surprised as hell as the game plays more or less like it's Playstation 2 father. I felt right at home playing a God Of War game after 2 years as the controls and combos are pretty much identical to the earlier games. Speaking of combos they still are rather accessible, fluid and easy to execute which is a good thing as you will be bashing buttons like poetry in motion instead of constantly thinking “what buttons I need to press to get that move?”.

Now with the PSP having just one analog I was really wondering if they were going to cut out the unique and essential dodging feature but they have managed to find a solution. By holding both the shoulder buttons and moving the analog it acts exactly like you were using the right analog in the earlier games. It takes a while to get used to but after that it's a thumbs up.

The game overall follows its PS2 counterparts including the interesting platforming and puzzle solving action. The Blades of Chaos is present in all it's glory and in the middle you obtain another weapon “Zeus's Gauntlet” which provides ultimate face bashing fun and is used even to break down selected walls. Magic includes Effret, Charon's Wrath, Light of Dawn and a passive item for evading and reflecting projectiles “Sun Shield”. Enemies come in all sizes and most allow you to initiate an optional minigame to kill them.

You still collect red orbs and can use it upgrade your weapons and magic. Gorgon Eyes and Phoenix Feathers to increase overall health and magic capacity. Not to forget the usual green and blue orbs for health and magic restoration. As this is a portable game the save points are pretty frequent. But one of the best features that remained is that the game rarely needs to load any new areas. I didn't really think the PSP had the juice to hold this feature. I only encountered the Loading Area text once for less than 5-10 seconds.

The visuals are probably the best so far on the PSP and it looks almost identical to the Playstation 2 versions. The production is top notch, musical score is still excellent with the very memorable main theme lingering around in many variations. The sound is extremely fitting although it could use some more intimidation when it comes to the enemies. As for the storytelling it's done rather well with in-game cutscenes and rendered FMV. I should mention that the tradition arty style of the series's FMVs are still present although sparse. What makes them even better is the returning roles of the talented voice actors especially the narrator. The Narrator is simply powerful and was always the cherry on top of it's epicness.

The Bad

Now it looks like almost everything is there but after finishing the game, I wasn't really satisfied nor was I ready to play again on the unlocked god mode difficulty. All I did was go “THAT'S IT?!?”. The games length plays a factor here, you can finish it in 5-7 hours. And in that span you cannot expect enough epicness to be contained within the game.

Nevertheless the games length is not only the negative but the fact that there is less of everything making this game too “lite” and not where technical limitations are concerned as the game already proves that it can look and feel almost like it's PS2 installments.

So where does the main problem lye? It's that this lacks the epicness of the first. I can't really blame this game but the first game really raised my expectation for this series. In Chains of Olympus there are hardly any puzzles and even when there are they're pretty easy and often obvious to solve. The locations despite being well designed and true to the series often lacks diversity. The start shows that the game can replicate some exciting landscapes. But in the end the only thing memorable is the first and last Elysium stage and some areas in Hade's underworld.

After fighting the Basilisk i was expecting some better boss fights, there are just 3 more and excluding the last boss the other 2 aren't that tough. Even challenges such as getting and climbing through those rotating spikes in the underworld or finding the sirens in a sandstorm desert are absent. Not even anything equivalent to those. So your platforming skills are hardly tested here unlike the first where the underworld really pushing your jumping and reaction skills to the limit.

So basically the blueprint is run around, go into area, fight monsters, open crates, encounter boss for brief second, push stuff around, push some more stuff to solve puzzles, actual boss fight, climb walls and ceilings, swim for a while and rinse repeat. Oh yeah that silly sex mini-game made it in here somehow. Because after hot coffee people still have the urge to jack off to pixilated tits. Well at least they are sharper than hot coffee. Good going Jaffe!

And while both the weapons and shield are win, excluding the batsh*t crazy Efreet you'll find the other magics useless. Especially the ranged attack “Light of Dawn” as this game doesn't give you much distanced enemies. Charon's Wrath screams filler item.

It's made obvious that the PSP is a platform where developers often prefer keeping their major console titles as either stripped down ports or spin offs of the original where the story normally is either from a side character or a bridge between two installments. Chains of Olympus's storyline is a bridge between GOW and GOW2 making it nothing special and only further killing the epic factor behind the series. Not even the talented voice actors could save it.

The Hades Challenges are too boring to even compensate for the games short length and it's not really repayable unless you don't really have anything for your psp. There are also options to replay the game in 3 different outfits. Not to mention you unlock the hardest difficulty God Mode so you can replay the game in that difficultly and unlock some more behind the scenes video. It's obvious the game isn't replayable so the devs got desperate and decided to throw some candy to motivate you to do so.

The Bottom Line

Chains of Olympus marks a successful transition from major console to handheld but this success is only limited to it's technological aspects. And this alone has made magazines and sites consider it as the best PSP game till date. While it is really impressive as compared to many transited titles it still doesn't reach the level of the original due to obvious rushing to deadlines and laziness from the developers because this time “technical limitations” is no excuse. Nevertheless this game does prove a point that even big titles have great potential on the PSP and this game pushed the PSP to it's limits but forgot to do the same to the series. Conclusion: Needs more EPIC!