by Chris Scott
reviewed on PSP
Great events transferred into small surroundings
Three years ago, Sony released God of War; the game was set in Greek mythology and followed the action-packed adventures of Kratos, the Ghost of Sparta. The over-the-top action, mixed with fantastic boss fights and innovative quick-time events made God of War a critical darling as well as a fan favourite. Last year, God of War II was released to the same critical acclaim as its predecessor and solidified God of War as one of Sony’s most successful series. Thus, it was inevitable that Sony would eventually find a way to get the series onto their hand-held gaming device, the Playstation Portable. Ready at Dawn had already proven they had a good handle on the system with the well received Daxter and Sony felt confident enough in their abilities to hand them the reigns and miniaturize the Ghost of Sparta, bringing God of War to those on the go.
I am glad to report that Ready at Dawn did a wonderful job in making God of War viable on the PSP. They have developed a game that controls, looks and feels like its big Playstation 2 brethren and is truly one of the best games on the system to date. However, there are a few things that might hamper ones enjoyment of the title, if even just a little bit.
Tool of the Gods
God of War: Chains of Olympus is a prequel to God of War and he is once again a tool of the gods, serving them with the hope that they will repay him by making him forget his past. Those coming into Chains of Olympus expecting for it to delve deep into that past, especially the time of his wife and child, Calliope, may be somewhat disappointed, although his daughter does have a rather important presence throughout the course of the game.
The game starts out with Kratos in charge of an army defending Attica from a Persian attack and right off the bat we see how much care went into the translation of the controls to the portable system. Despite the lack of a second analog stick, Kratos feels... just right. You will start off with Kratos’s mainstay, the Blades of Chaos, and just like before the weapon has many combination attacks linked to it. Once again you will collect red orbs from chests, breakable objects, attack combos and fallen enemies that can be used to upgrade your weapon. Each time you upgrade you will unlock new combo attacks, including the highly useful Cyclone of Chaos, which will have Kratos whirling around with the Blades over his head in a cyclone of carnage.
The tools of the tool
Of course, you won’t only be using the Blades of Chaos; along Kratos’s quest he will pick up magical abilities and another weapon. The first magical ability picked up is the Efreet and at first it isn’t all that impressive, causing just area damage around Kratos but if you spend the orbs to upgrade it fully you will be equipped with quite the magical attack, one that you will still be using quite late into the game. Unfortunately, the other magical abilities and weapon you will come across in the game I found to be highly unnecessary but other players may find a lot to enjoy there, so spend your orbs wisely.
Being that the PSP has less buttons than a DualShock controller, it was quite nice to discover that Ready at Dawn was able to put all the functionality that Kratos had on his big screen adventures into this small package. Some of the button presses to pull off movements may seem a little awkward at first, like dodging or dive-rolling but after a few tries it all begins to feel quite natural and you will have Kratos looking like an acrobatic warrior or in no time besting the hordes of enemies as well as the big time bosses that you will face off.
No Pros and Cons at this time