With weapons-based combat titles such as Devil May Cry and Ninja Gaiden largely coming out of Japan, it was great to see a western touch on the genre when SCEA dropped God of War for the PS2 in 2005. The differences in these games were quite noticeable, most poignantly that God of War required less skill and encouraged heavy amounts of button mashing as opposed to learning combos, parries and evasion, as Japanese action games did.
God of War: Chains of Olympus, the third edition of the gruesome Greek gore-fest, is one of the most impressive handheld titles ever created.
Even critics of the gameâ€™s simplicity and ease will be converted at the immense technical capabilities that the game offers. While it still retains its square-square-square method of fighting, Chains of Olympus manages to be an impressive and fun button masher, and an absolutely incredible tribute to the console series.
Kratos, the franchiseâ€™s superstar hero, returns in his pasty-white, sword slashinâ€™ glory. Controlling the buffed out Spartan feels tight on the PSPâ€™s analog nub, and his attacks, found on the square and triangle buttons, are responsive and feel great.
Executing combinations is as simple as ever – mashing the square or triangle buttons randomly result in badass looking combos â€“ and the right-stick roll is intuitively replaced by holding the R and L keys and nudging the left thumbstick, making for smooth beat-â€˜em-up action that most have come to expect from the God of War games.
Unfortunately, the painfully easy combat of the console game and brainless puzzles returns, and while this isnâ€™t a technological error that halts the enjoyment of the game, being able to wreck hordes of identical Persian baddies with the tap of the circle button â€“ grab-and-stab â€“ or mashing the attack buttons makes the game incredibly straightforward. Crank puzzles are in full force, which was one of the more annoying portions of the first two games.
Thereâ€™s nothing more infuriating than endlessly spawning soldiers whose sole goal is to poke Kratos in the ribs in order to make the poor guy restart his crank turning, or ballista pulling. Again, theyâ€™re easily dispatchable, but itâ€™s a chore dealing with them.
… and more rapid-fire circle stomping.
To its credit, the bosses in the handheld title are equally as cool as its console cousin, but gamers who are bored by the tired quick-time-events (Tap circle to escape/stab/parry!) will find no love here. Kratosâ€™ brutal method of taking out gigantic enemies has always been a highlight, but timing a random button press – or a series of them – is a less than exhilarating way to gouge the eyes out of a humongous, city burning Basilisk. Simple actions such as opening doors and crates correlate to mashing the circle key as well, and pounding your portable rapidly is going to make for one awkward bus ride, and a very uncomfortable gameplay experience.
The magnitude of Chains of Olympus is incredible. Levels are detailed, character animation is smooth and everything looks sharp. Minimal framerate slowdown and fluid combat make this a worthy and authentic God of War title, and even if the game is more of the same, its scope is astounding and itâ€™s a technological wonder.
How Travelerâ€™s Tales managed to fit all of this awesome on a UMD is a mystery, and even those who doubt the franchise will be impressed by the game, even if the combat is so easy it hurts, enemies are brain-dead to the point that they forget why theyâ€™re where they are, or the puzzles were created by the kids at the local daycare. Itâ€™s still wicked fun.
So while it fails to live up to the depth and skill progression of Japanese sword slashers, this really feels like a God of War game, so if thatâ€™s your bag, thereâ€™s nothing not to like.
God of War: Chains of Olympus is going to kick ass all over the place on March 4th.
Reblogged from our sister site Nukoda.com