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April 3 2008
God of War: Chains of Olympus - PSP Review
Release Date Distributor Publisher Developer
27/3/2008SonySonyReady at Dawn
Save Size Difficulty Players Rating
420KBMedium1MA15+

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Another great battle over the cities.
In the battle of the consoles the PSP is going quite well, but when you place the sales up against the Nintendo DS's numbers you can see that the system could be doing so much more. The big problem, from our perspective at least, is that the system lacks quality, original, titles. What happened to the highly anticipated Gran Turismo Portable? Well Polyphony Digital may be concentrating on the PS3 versions, but that leaves Sony without one potential multi-million seller. So what other big Sony franchises could bring the system to a few more million people? God of War is one such franchise, and developers Ready at Dawn have just finished development of a PSP title. Rather then a rehash this is a completely original title...

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This games graphics are spectacular.
God of War: Chains of Olympus is a prequel to the first installment of the franchise, and begins with Kratos embarking on a journey across mysterious new environments that are engulfed in darkness and completely untouched by mortals. The Gods have been rendered powerless from the state of their world, leaving Kratos with only one choice he must square off against the most vicious of demonic creatures from Greek Mythology and choose between saving his soul or the ancient world from imminent and total destruction.

Developed by Ready at Dawn, who brought us the brilliant Daxter on PSP, this game really is a technical marvel. Sure the scale has been dragged back a little bit, but the enemies, locations, cut-scenes, visuals and audio look every bit as impressive as the two previous titles. Part if this is due to this being one of the first games on the PSP to make use of the full 333Mhz CPU rather then the slower 233Mhz speed that Sony had been enforcing. It really does make you wonder why Sony have waited so long to allow developers to use this untapped potential. Sure battery life may be cut down to 3-4 hours, but that's good enough for most people, myself included.

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Effects are all in place as well.
Using the same third person perspective as the PS2 titles, and with some brilliant controls - possibly among the best we've seen on the PSP to date - this game rocks every bit as hard as the PS2 games. The analogue slider is used to move Kratos around the level, X to jump, square for light attack, triangle for heavy and circle to open chests or doors, it's the use of R plus face buttons to use magic, and L/R together to roll away from enemies that makes this a joy to play. Controls are responsive, and the analogue slider stick works quite well indeed.

With intuitive and entertaining combat gamers may also like to know that the QTE's are also back. The Quick Time Events are those where, especially when you've belted enemies to a low level of life, you then have to press the correct buttons quickly and as they come up on screen. While some people detest this, some do not and personally I think it breaks up the gameplay quite nicely.

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Kratos had better prepare for battle.
Naturally the game has its fair share of puzzle solving and most of them are fairly intuitive, although there was one or two areas where I got stuck. For example, there is one section early in the game where you pull out a wall to form two large steps, you can climb them but for the life of me could not figure out where to go. About thirty minutes later and a lot of frustration I realised that the large steps you created actually created a tunnel underneath the steps.

It must be mentioned that there is no loading at all in this game. As you move from area to area you may pass through a tunnel that lacks enemies, or indeed have to open a doorway or destroy something blocking your path, but there is no "Now Loading" screen and at no time do you feel like you're are actually traversing an area just for the next section to load in the background. Brilliant.

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Getting up close and personal.
So what issues do we have with the game? Certainly the biggest issues is that of the games length. It took us about 8 hours to get through the game the first time however it could have been quite a bit less were we not trying to destroy every crate and find hidden areas along the way. Fortunately as with other God of War titles there is plenty of additional content to be unlocked including artwork, movies and even new difficulty levels and game modes. Sadly there isn't much variety in the gameplay - this is almost exclusively on-foot combat from start to finish. I also felt that the games puzzles were a bit simpler then those in the previous titles in the series.

Daxter is, to this day, one of the best games we have ever seen on the PSP, and with that in mind we had high expectations for this game to be one of the, if not the, best looking game on the system. We weren't disappointed either as God of War: Chains of Olympus includes every bit of impressive texturing, every bit of blood splattering, every impressive frame of animation that we saw in the Playstation 2 version. Cut scenes are impressive, and the game runs silky smooth from start to finish. While there aren't many bosses that fill the screen or take your breath away, the bosses that do appear still look brilliant.

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Blades leave a wonderful effect!
So you think the beauty of this game ends with the stunning visuals? Well think again as the audio is every bit as impressive as the other aspects of this title. Close your eyes and, despite the difference in sound level, you won't be able to tell this apart from the PS2 titles. Effects are meaty, music epic and the voices haunting.

For those of you that have a PSP already God of War: Chains of Olympus is a perfect reason to dust off the unit, recharge it and get gaming again. This game is every bit as spectacular as the PS2 games in the series and you'd be foolish to bypass this thinking it an inferior product. If you haven't bought a PSP as yet, then this game comes bundled with the system and is a stunning pack. Whatever you do, don't bypass this fantastic title.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSGorgeous graphics, great animation and silky smooth frame rate.
96%
SOUNDGreat music and effects, but yet again it's the brillant speech that stands out.
93%
GAMEPLAYGod of War on the PSP is every bit as deep and entertaining as the PS2 titles.
93%
VALUEWell under 10 hours to complete, but there is replay value here too.
83%
OVERALLGod of War: Chains of Olympus is an essential purchase on the PSP, and indeed possibly a reason to go out and buy the system. Great graphics, audio and gameplay combine to make this a winner.
92%

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