God of War: Chains of Olympus

aka: God of War: Rakujitsu no Hisoukyoku

[ All ] [ PlayStation 3 ] [ PSP ]

Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 91% (based on 104 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 29 ratings with 2 reviews)

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!

PSP · by dreamstealer (126) · 2009

Another short game, another short review

The Good
This is my first experience of a God of War game, after having read all the hype about it. It's not a game I would buy, but I played the demo, got hooked and went to rent it. It is a beat-em-up action game featuring a bald Spartan with red stripes on his body named Kratos and has lots and lots of gore and an ancient Greek fantasy story.

So what's good about it?

-First of all the setting itself. It starts in the sun stricken shores of Attica where Persians attack the city with the aid of a giant basilisk. Being a Greek myself I could relate a bit to the colors and style they have chosen to depict this ancient province, full of details in the background like a vast fleet of Persian ships or the rooftops of the ancient Greek buildings.

-All this detail is supported by the superb graphics of the game. It truly is a masterpiece in this department. It's probably the best made graphics I've seen in a game on the PSP (mind you I haven't played other big titles like Crisis Core). It reminds a PS2 game but the ambient lighting and shades compare easily to most recent PC games.

-The gameplay is fast and furious, gory and with sex scenes!! What else do anyone needs for this kind of game? The animations of the fighting moves or of the use of magic is smooth and sleek and slowly seeps under your skin making a bloodthirsty monster out of you!

-The music is epic with some standout moments and it fits the game very well.

So it seems that Kratos did succeed on the PSP and that the player will find retribution along with him upon finishing this adventure... NOT!

The Bad
Well the ancient Greek Gods are never so merciful and they also have their flaws, showing a human imperfect side to them, so does this game.

-First of all the story. In one word: generic . It starts interestingly but then fades into a plot where everything is invoked and distorted from ancient Greek mythology. It's not that I care if it remains true or not to the actual mythology, but the whole story feels like it could fit in any action game in any fantasy genre, be it Lord of the Rings or Warcraft. It simply loses it's edge and after a while I didn't care so much for it anymore. It also feels hastily written.

-Then come the effects and animated CGI scenes and a general feel of the game: It's flashy and beautiful, but it reminds too many movies in the cinema today like 300 (dating back to Matrix and it's revolutionary computer effects) or similar games. Overall it may give a quick fix of adrenaline and bloodshed ( and with some tits,did I mention the tits? :P), but I could not stand it for more than 1 day of playing.

-The design of some stages is bad. Persephone's palace looks more like Isengard with all these steep angles on the doors and architecture, that it loses any ancient Greek flavor. It makes the game feel more like Chains of Mordor, than Chains of Olympus.

-The whole tone of the game is over dramatic with no comical relief or anything to ease its atmosphere. The designers obviously lack humor (probably me too as I don't put many puns in my reviews but even so I can't relate to them ).

-There are so many moves using different combinations of buttons that eventually I couldn't remember them easily. This lack of memory is enhanced by the fact that some moves are much better than others, leading me to remembering only these.

-Sometimes the gameplay feels awfully similar to Medievil Resurrection which was a pretty good game AND with comical relief.

-Oh, I almost forgot. The game is short. But it still plays for 7-8 hours on normal difficulty . So it's not TOO short. It is probably good for it as it runs totally out of steam towards the end, in other words it becomes boring.

The Bottom Line
Style over substance. This is the ultimate game manifestation of this quote on the PSP. No wonder most game critics on the internet gave to it so high rates! It's as superficial as they are. I still wonder why Medieval resurrection got mostly 7 out of 10 and this game got 9's. May the wrath of Kratos' gods be on them.

Still it's not a bad game. If you like superb graphics, LoTR filtered ancient Greece and a Rambo-serious tone and main character this is the game for you. If you like the same game mechanics with a comic touch get Medieval Resurrection. Well that's about it.

PSP · by Frankenfed (32) · 2009

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Jeanne, Big John WV, Evil Ryu, beetle120, Patrick Bregger, Chaju, vicrabb, Wizo, MAT, Alsy, Cantillon, opendeur, lights out party, Martha Fwingo, Tim Janssen, Cavalary.