I got a PSP this summer for two reasons. The first was that as they were releasing a re-designed version with Darth Vader on the back and I'm all about the Star Wars. The second was that I loved what I saw from the brief taste
I got of God of War Chains of Olympus
at E3 this summer. I know there are dozens of other good PSP games out there but I was really smitten with what the folks at Ready At Dawn had done with the game and where they were taking the story line.
Today we received a preview build of the game in the mail and I've been playing it non-stop for the last ninety minutes. I only stopped playing the game because my hands were sore from playing the game on the PSP and the rumble in my stomach for dinner has become too loud to ignore. So far I've gotten through the first level of the game and defeated the Basilisk that you first saw in the demo of the game and a little bit into the second level of the game. The final battle with the Basilisk is a lot of fun and it only took me a few times to figure out how to take him down. It's standard God of War action as you have to weaken the bad guy first before finishing him off with the prerequisite button sequence mini-games. Everything you've known and loved is here from the button mashing to open doors, to opening chests, and taking down bad guys.
The second level is where things start to get interesting as the sun crashes to Earth leaving the planet in darkness. The levels are now shrouded in a dark fog that you don't want to venture too far and you're now fighting undead soldiers. What is really impressive about this level so far is all the fog effects and impacts when you hit the skeleton warriors. You have to use fire to get through the fog and the swirling fog effects are very impressive for a handheld game. There are also some cool animations and effects on the enemy soldiers that are extremely well done.
If you've played the previous God of War games you will feel right at home with Chains of Olympus. The standard attacks and movement are what you would expect them to be with the nub moving Kratos around and the Square, Triangle, X, and O button handling the two attacks, jump, and grab respectively. What takes a little time is getting used to the dodge controls which require you to hit both shoulder buttons at the same time. It took me a while to get used to it but once I did it's become second nature. Magic is done by pressing the right shoulder button and one of the face buttons and the modified attacks for your weapons are done with the left button. I've unlocked the first upgrade for the blades of chaos so far and it's pretty easy to pull off after just a little bit of practice.
I've only got one nitpick so far and that is that there isn't a lot of "new" stuff in the game in terms of gameplay options. The puzzles have all been the same drag X here to open a gate, spin control Y to open something. I'm would imagine this stuff is coming up in further levels but so far the game hasn't exactly been a big challenge (I'm playing on the medium difficulty level).
I have a feeling that God of War: Chains of Olympus is going to help sell a ton of PSP's when it's released in a few weeks. The game is a ton of fun to play and unless the wheels fall off in a bit it's going to be hard to not see this as one of the top PSP games of the year. The game is also a showcase for the PSP as the graphics and audio are outstanding.