God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP)

It's a good thing God of War: Chains of Olympus turned out as well as it did, because the last thing Sony would want to do is tarnish the name of their biggest new IP in years. Thankfully, this is a true God of War game, and does the series' name justice (although on a smaller scale).

All of the controls, combos, and actions are done in exactly the same fashion as the PS2 titles (except for the dodge being changed due to the lack of a right analog stick). Kratos' moves all look and feel familiar, and anyone who has played a single God of War game should have no trouble jumping right in and ripping enemies to shreds.

While God of War II addressed the complaints of the first by adding in numerous boss fights, Chains of Olympus seems to be a bit of a step back. There are a small handful of boss encounters, but none of them come close to matching the scale of the Colossus in GOWII or the Hydra in the original. They're small, almost routine ordeals, but still manage to be rewarding when you enter that final series of real-time button inputs to watch the over-the-top kill animation.

It's a solid game for sure, but it almost feels like God of War Lite. The environments are nice, but nothing near the epic look of some of the setpieces in the PS2 versions. The narrative also takes a hit with a ho-hum story that doesn't compare to Kratos' adventures against Ares or Zeus. Perhaps the weakest aspect of Chains of Olympus is the new magic attacks. They're fairly basic, and offer next to nothing new in terms of gameplay quality.

It may sound like I'm complaining about the game based on the tone of the last couple of paragraphs, but make no mistake - this is a solid game, and incredibly impressive for a portable title. It may not be as epic or action-packed as its console big brothers, but it features a total-package presentation that is rarely, if ever, seen on portable systems. It features great visuals, a great soundtrack, voice acting, and God of War gameplay on a single UMD. Hopefully this will tide series' fans over for a while as they're waiting for the sure-to-be-stunning God of War III on PS3.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 9.0
First Play: 9.0
Replay Value: 8.0
Gameplay: 8.5

Overall: 8.5


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