God of War: Chains of Olympus Review

When I first heard about a God of War game being made on the PSP, I was skeptic, to say the least. My skepticism slowly decreased as I saw more and more, and after playing a preview copy at least year’s E3 it was gone, replaced instead by anticipation. When the preview copy of Chains of Olympus landed in my mailbox a few weeks ago, it was like Christmas. (And if anyone at the radio station I work at asks, I honestly was sick that day and totally didn’t ditch to play the game.)

Now, the final copy of Chains of Olympus has been released (well, about a week or two ago), and having put over 20 hours into the game and its various modes, I can honestly say it was well worth the wait.

Chains of Olympus serves as a prequel to God of War 1, showing Kratos as he follows the gods’ orders and slowly begins to question their authority. Unlike the previous PS2 God of War games there isn’t a huge epic narrative overarching the entire plot here-it’s a lot of smaller and lightly-less-epic things creating a much more minimalist God of War tale on the whole.

I got a lot of flack for comparing Chains of Olympus to Episode 1 in my preview, but I still stand by it. While it looks and is obviously a God of War product, it just doesn’t quite feel the same as the original two titles. The narrative is well presented, but not as captivating; there’s little difficulty to any puzzles an almost no real adventuring aspects; just little things like that which add up for longtime God of War fans.

While some of the button pressing sequences are difficult with the factory analog stick, the actual combat is a straightforward port of the God of War brutality we’re used to. There’s a variety of weapons, some magic, fun boss fights, and all that jazz. Don’t expect a lot of the weapons from the first two God of War games due to the whole prequel nature of it, but there are some which are just as fun – if not more so.

One area the game slightly stumbles in is the dodge roll. Without the right analog stick, to roll you’re forced to hold both R+L and flick the stick. After a while you get used to it, but it’s never fully comfortable as it remains hard in more hectic situations to quickly switch between rolling and blocking.

If the game falls short in any way outside of its slightly less epic narrative and roll issue, it’s that the smaller size of the game forced some cutbacks. The entire thing will take maybe 5 hours to beat on a first playthrough, and there aren’t nearly as many fun boss fights as I’d hope for. In that regard, it’s more like God of War 1 than 2.

I have no idea how Ready at Dawn did it, but Chains of Olympus easily passes as a PS2 title visually. Even with a game of this graphical quality, there’s no real slowdown, and the sweeping, epic zooms and pans God of War fans are used to are used in abundance. I guarantee if games like this came out on the PSP when it was launched, the handheld war would have had a very different outcome.

God of War: Chains of Olympus may not be as good as the two regular God of War games, but it’s still easily the best game available on the PSP. The fact that it’s even being compared seriously to arguably two of the best PS2 games of all time is testament to how well Ready at Dawn handled this title. For anyone with a PSP it’s a must own title.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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