When word got out that Ready at Dawn would be tackling one of Sony's largest franchises, God of War, and bringing it over to the PSP, optimism was pretty high. The team, responsible for the splendid Daxter, did a fantastic job of bringing the Jak and Daxter world into the palm of our hands. Furthermore, after seeing how well Sony's other platformer has turned out, Ratchet & Clank, on the PSP, was there ever even a reason to doubt God of War: Chains of Olympus as being anything but superb?
Of course not! Having played the game back at E3 and the demo in my possession, Ready at Dawn has managed to serve yet another ace. God of War on the PSP is the very same God of War that you've seen twice on the PlayStation 2, but this time you can take it with you anywhere you go. I mean, upon starting the game, your first reaction will, no doubt, be "how the hell did they do this?"
While I wouldn't go as far as to say that the game looks as good as the original God of War did on the PS2, it is damn close! You'd have to be really nit-picky when it comes down to the game's visuals, because along with Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, GOW: Chains of Olympus may very well end up being one of the very best looking PSP games ever.
The details in animation seem to be identical to that of the original two games on the PS2. There are no hiccups, no tears, no choppy strings of animation - it's all as smooth as silk. You haven't seen a game animate this well on a handheld, ever. What's more is that despite all of the chaos that goes on, caused by you, there's a whole bunch more of it going on in the background. But wait, that's not the end of it. Even though it's on the PSP, Chains of Olympus still features no shortage of absurdly gigantic monsters, which you'll each pulverize to their respective bloody deaths. And best of all, the framerate doesn't even seem to take the slightest hit.
The effortless feeling of control and combat has carried over extremely well; practically perfect, in fact. The combat is extremely responsive, and remains the one trait that assures a very satisfying and addictive experience. The mini-game boss kills are back in full swing, as are a number of other features. You can employ powers of various bosses that you defeat, simply by holding down the R shoulder and pressing Triangle. The demo is acceptably lengthy, about 15 minutes in total length, and it gives you a great idea of what to expect from the final product.
Furthermore, most of the moves you're used to pulling off have made the transition into Chains of Olympus, but in addition to that, Ready at Dawn also took a creative initiative by adding a number of new moves for Kratos - and they are pretty awesome. The story will, of course, be unveiled through a series of cut-scenes all of which are voice acted. In addition to that, as you play the game, you'll notice that the A.I. will fight between each other - so you'll see your fellow Spartans fighting against the enemy Persian army.
There's no doubt in my mind that come the release of the final game next March, God of War: Chains of Olympus will be everything GOW fans expect it to be. If you've lived and breathed for God of War 1 and 2, then you're in for an amazing treat with this game. Best of all, if you secure yourself a PSP Slim, you can play the game on your HDTV, and enjoy it without any neck strain.
10/8/2007 Arnold Katayev