After the huge commercial successes of God of War and God of War II, it seemed inevitable that the franchise would make its way to the PSP. Of course, many had concerns about translating God of Warís epic gameplay and presentation to the PSP, and while thatís still a legitimate fear, developer Ready at Dawn seems up to the challenge.
Chains of Olympus takes place after the death of Kratosís family, but before the events of the original God of War. Not much is known about the gameís plot at this point, but players will take control of Kratos at the end of the siege of Attica, fighting off Persian invaders, with Kratos chasing after a mythical, dragon-like creature trying to destroy the city. Afterwards, Kratos eventually finds himself journeying to the underworld at the behest of the gods when the world is plunged into darkness.
The gameplay, at least on a fundamental level, is fairly identical to the Playstation 2 God of War games, still utilizing the same melee heavy combat and on-screen button combo system that made the original God of Warís boss fights so unique and interesting. Ready at Dawn promises new weapons and magic, but most fans are likely just looking to get to work with Kratosí brutal Blades of Chaos, which make their return in this game as well. In addition to the new weapons and magic, Kratos has a few new ways of brutally dispatching foes with just his bare hands, as well, one of the more visceral pleasures in God of War. One new move already shown to the press has Kratos using a leg sweep to fell an enemy before stomping his head flat. The attack animations and effects in Chains of Olympus also borrow heavily from the console versions, and so even these new additions to combat should still feel familiar and instinctive.
Few action games rely as heavily on story as God of War does, but fortunately all the principal actors behind the popular title, such as T.C. Carlson as Kratos and Linda Hunt as the narrator, also make a return appearance. The result should be a prequel that fits perfectly within the established quasi-mythological world of God of War, a franchise well known for high production values and slick presentation.
Fans might wonder how Chains of Olympus will play without the important second analog stick, and while itís not the ideal solution, Ready at Dawn seems to have come up with a nifty fix to make controlling Kratos as natural as possible. Instead of using the right analog stick for dodging and other context sensitive actions, Chains of Olympus will have players press and hold the L and R buttons and then using the single analog nub to perform these secondary functions. Sony has not yet released any other details about the control scheme, but logic dictates that most of it will remain the same.
While Chains of Olympus remains in the initial development stages, itís still looking good for a release date later this year. Weíll have more info on this highly anticipated title as it become available.
5/25/2007 Ryan Hartmann