God of War: Chains of Olympus Demo Impressions - 29/02/08

The God of War series hit PS2 near the end of its lifetime and was the one of the last successful franchises on the aging console.

Like all good series on PS2, a PSP port was bound to come sooner or later. The same happened to Ratchet and Clank, and Jak and Daxter - The license was shepherded to another developer (ReadyAtDawn, in this case) and a brilliant game was produced. Size Matters and Daxter are two of the best titles on the system, and if all goes well, Chains of Olympus should follow suit.

The demo features a level called, 'The Battle of Attica' and immediately throws you into a war. You, Kratos, have to defeat a couple of enemies before firing a ballista directly at a fleet of ships entering the city. At this point I'd noticed how beautiful the game was for a PSP game. There's no doubt that this looks as good, if not better, than some of the early PS2 adoptions. Sure, the water looks nowhere near as luscious as the water in, say, Uncharted, but the amount of detail and the textures on walls are so good (for a handheld) that you can forget you're playing on the PSP rather than the PS2!

Following this you fall down a hole to be confronted by a bully with a big weapon. After escaping from him you come across a dragon-like creature that likes to eat people. This is the first quick time event that you encounter - and it's as easy as possible! - and you should be able to come out alive on your first try. The game then leads you into an area filled with enemies, that is before a fireball conveniently lands on top of a big group of them and flattens every last one of them. This leaves you with the opportunity to take advantage of the battering ram that the warriors left behind. Holding O allows you to latch onto it allowing you to keep your thumb on the nub and direct it to the nearest exit. Then, tapping O a few more times will bash the door until it cracks open, revealing another group of enemies. These are easily picked off again, thanks to the might of your elastic-band-like sword/chain thingy.

Okay, so it doesn't look that much like a dragon...

The next area gives you the chance to experience swimming. This isn't that fun, to be frank. It's basically the same controls as walking except you can dive. Anyway, after picking off a few archers you get your first real taste of a lot of enemies. This is the point where I experimented with combos and different buttons rather than just continuously smacking triangle. Pressing O grabs an enemy, provided he isn't blocking or anything, and stabs him - which you can do to pretty much every enemy in the demo as the difficulty is dumbed down a notch or two. But where's the fun in that? Pressing triangle tells Kratos to unleash a heavy attack and square tells him to perform a light attack. But it isn't the individual buttons that make the combat in COO so impressive, it's the way you can string together attacks. For example, jumping in the air with X and then thumbing triangle whips people from above - sending them flying. But, if you don't want them out of your hair just yet, you can smack O directly after to fling a chain at them a pull them back and throwing them to the floor. A similar thing happens when you do the same sequence on the ground too, but instead of a slam to the ground, Kratos sends them on a bungee jump ride ultimately ending in a brutal knee to the back. Ouch. There really is room for experimentation and that is why GoW is the best fighter on the system to date!

There are downsides though. When entering an area with hordes of soldiers there are a couple of seconds of slowdown to be witnessed. These should be ironed out in the full game, but I thought I needed to mention it just to be safe.

Yay! A swimming section *pulls out razor blade*

The second probably holds no bearing on the full game. When I entered an area with loads of warriors, archers and an enormous wooden...thing in the centre the game paused and then the screen blacked out and I haven't been able to progress past that section without it happening.

That was where the level ended for me, but I'm keen to try out the full game too, so you might just see me reviewing this in the weeks to come!

Predicted Score: 9.2

- Tyler Roberts