There’s something in the water in Santa Ana, California or the developers at Ready at Dawn Studios must work with some sort of esoteric magical force. It’s the only explanation for how much the team on God of War: Chains of Olympus managed to get out of the little PSP. This third outing with Kratos (which is actually a prequel to the first title) is doing its best to keep up with its console brothers, and it just so happens that it’s the best looking PSP game released yet.
If there are any flaws with God of War: Chains of Olympus, they surface simply because the game looks so good. Pure and simple, the PSP is being pushed hard, and because of this there is some screen tearing and frame rate stuttering when things on screen get very hectic or chaotic. It’s not often, but it shows up enough to be noticeable. The other element that some people might have trouble with is the puzzle design. Some of them are so maddeningly difficult to solve and some of the hints are so obscure and unhelpful that you’ll want to smash your own face on Kratos’ chain blades. Ultimately, a lot of the thinking challenges would have been better served with more distinct visual cues to help the player visualize a solution. Still, completing the puzzles gives a nice feeling of accomplishment when you’re able to see how they connect to other parts of the level.
The PSP hasn’t yet seen a game with this much polish, this much visual punch, or this much bloody satisfaction. Everything feels meaty, be it the clash of weapon on flesh or the substantial amount of gameplay depth and environmental design. Not only is Chains of Olympus a worthy addition to the God of War franchise, it also stands on its own as a triple-A title in the PSP library.
• Amazing graphics and musical score
• Gameplay is identical to the console versions
• Just as brutal and bloody as ever
• Interesting environmental variety
• Sometimes puzzle clues are a bit too difficult for most people
• Game occasionally suffers from screen tearing and framerate drops