God of War: Chains of Olympus - PSP - Preview 2
Some heroes are just overwhelmingly associated with grand adventures against what should be insurmountable odds. It is only through determination, and an undying stubbornness to give up that they persevere. Or maybe it is because they are so driven that they seek to immerse themselves in other things such as battle to escape the demons of their past.
The latter would describe Kratos, pawn of the Greek gods, a Spartan warrior haunted by his past and pledged to be the champion of the gods. Kratos first saw the stain of combat in March 2005 in God of War, and then again two years later with God of War 2. Well, the warrior is back and this time, instead of appearing on a home console system, he is on the PSP in God of War: Chains of Olympus.
This is a game that, at first blush, one might think too grand for the handheld system, but judging from the preview disk received, nothing could be further from the truth. Certainly, the sound needs to be pumped through headphones and not relegated to the PSP’s speakers. Only through headphones will the true lushness of the audio experience shine through. And when it comes to the graphics, SCEA and Ready At Dawn Studios, have packed a whole lot of quality and eye candy into the handheld. Kratos looks and moves as well on the handheld as he did on the PlayStation 2 system.
The game begins simply enough, allowing players to ease into the routine and action while repelling a Persian invasion at Attica. But don’t get too comfortable. The giant club-wielding biped is not your main worry early on. Those who played the original will remember the beast, mostly head and teeth, that Kratos had to overcome on the ship. Well, much the same occurs here, save that Kratos is not on a storm-lashed ship. You still have the lunging head that can chomp and do a lot of damage, and you still learn how to button mash at the right moments to make the beast feel more like the prey than the hunter.
But lest you think the title is merely a rehash of what has been experience before, think again. There are some shiny new elements to this game, that truly bring it to life – like new combat moves, more demonic-like creatures and more puzzles that weave the story together. You level up and acquire the moves, and as in the past, the leveling requires you to destroy all those in your way and collect the orbs that are generated with enemies die. Of course, there are power-ups located throughout the levels to help you replenish life force and such, and – as in the past – the goal is to use them strategically.
And quite frankly, who truly cares if some of the moments emulate moments from past adventures; we are talking about these moments being rendered magnificently on a handheld system. Kratos on the go – so to speak – with all the action, bloodshed and intrigue of the PS2 titles.
The game uses cut scenes to tie the story together and these are wonderful on the PSP. The game transitions from one area to the next very nicely, with hardly any load times. Of course, the levels are scored and with three difficulty levels to choose from, you can either cake-walk through the adventure or really make it a challenge. There are save points in the level, so it is possible to save progress.
The camera is fixed, which can present a few minor problems when traversing the environment, but generally the game is well done with three-dimensional environments. The animations are also very well done. And the aural experience (music - with its ominous tones that indicate something big is about to happen - as well as the voice work) is top drawer.
God of War: Chains of Olympus is geared for a release in early March and GoW fans should rejoice. This is a title that should be well received.