God of War: Chains of Olympus Review

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It hasn’t been very long since God of War 2 arrived for the PlayStation 2, but here we are, 12 months later with another epic anger filled adventure with our pale friend, Kratos. Developed by the talented folks at Ready at Dawn, this PlayStation Portable title hopes to capture what we all love in God of War and cram it into a handheld. Was the task too much for them? No, I’m very pleased to say they succeeded. And more.

I cannot begin to fathom how difficult it was to keep the God of War experience intact when bringing it from console to handheld. God of War games have always demonstrated high quality presentation with its hidden load times, smooth framerate and attention grabbing visuals. Chains of Olympus hits every one of those marks; it’s surprising and unbelievable how much was retained from a presentation standpoint. Admittedly, sacrifices such as reduced on screen enemy count and the lack of prettified orbs were made, but I didn’t lose sleep over it. Did I mention the great use of stills and CG movies? Well, they were great and they did not fail to convey the story – even with the occasional use of tatas.

The familiar voices of Linda Hunt and Terrence Carson returned as the ominous Narrator and anger filled Kratos respectively. There was nothing, but fidelity and quality delivery from both of them. I notice that Kratos seems angrier in Chains of Olympus though. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that he had just killed his family not so long ago? It is a prequel to the original God of War after all.

Some will hold Kratos’ five hour game length against it, but I cannot see why anyone would do such a thing since the Chains of Olympus’ pace is just short of excellent. While it’s not quite as grandiose as either of the God of War games, Chains of Olympus does excel with the sheer lack of “filler” segments. Wall scaling segments and other transitional moments were kept very brief. It actually serves portable platform better since nearly every morsel of game you play between the game’s numerous checkpoints is fun; less bullshit and more substance.

I played Devil May Cry 4 prior to Chains of Olympus and I had no idea how much a step backwards God of War combat can be. Perhaps it’s related to difficulty level (I played on normal difficulty), but I spent a lot of time mashing the square button alone. Every once in awhile I would throw in the Triangle button combos out, but there’s hardly any point to it. The use of magic was even more uncommon. Every God of War game thus far has some ridiculously easy exploit within its combat and Chains of Olympus is no different. In this game, grabbing and ripping off the wings of those flying fiends is a hilariously broken way of dispatching them.

Additionally, excellent (and in many ways improved) controls mixed with near perfect camera positioning provides nothing, but a cake walk experience through Chains of Olympus. It’s a shame the combat itself could not take advantage of it. Fortunately, Zeus’s Gauntlet provides a good sense of challenge and change of pace. It’s Chains of Olympus’ only additional weapon and it’s definitely fun to mess with.

Simply stating that God of War: Chains of Olympus is an enjoyable game would be an understatement. The game does so many things right. Ready at Dawn nailed down the presentation, the controls and even managed to dish out a worthy story that fits into the grand scheme of things. The combat may be a tad simplistic, but it is functional with plenty of brutal results. If you’re looking for a God of War fix or just looking for an exceptional piece of entertainment for your PlayStation Portable: I highly recommend Chains of Olympus.

Verdict:
Highly Recommended

For more information, visit God of War: Chains of Olympus’s official site.

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