Review by sonofkorol

Reviewed: 06/16/08

Like a marble, CoO is eye-catching, fun to play with, and gets boring after a while

When PSP owners found out that Kratos was coming to PSP, they were nothing short of ecstatic. Working at a video game store, I saw it fly off the shelves and for a while it was hard to find. The wonderful storytelling of the God of War series, with a plot designed specially for PSP, new attacks, weapons, and powers, it was quickly proclaimed "the best game for PSP to date".
But how fantastic is it? Does it live up to the hype? Let's dive into the depths of Hades and find out.

This is where the game confuses its players. The story seems very intriguing at the start, with mystery, chaos, epic battles, and a few good plot twists. It keeps the player with their jaw dropped as you see for yourself people and places of Greco-Roman mythology in beautifully rendered 3D. The main problem, however, is that the story stops quite suddenly. You want to battle your way through a long, relentless journey, and find yourself fighting one of only a small number of bosses (at most 5) and then you beat the boss, and watch a gorgeous but disappointing cut-scene that wraps everything up and leaves you saying “that’s IT?” The story is beautifully written, but the fact that they compacted it all together and made a rushed ending depleted the story’s intrigue. It comes in strong and then just goes downhill RIGHT at the end, which is exactly where it should be strongest. While the ending is very shocking and explains a lot, the fact that it all happens in the blink of an eye is really disappointing. Normally this story would get a perfect score, but the rushed ending knocks it down more than a few pegs.

The graphics in this game are nothing short of outstanding, especially for such a small screen. Bringing Greek Gods and other well-known characters into 3D in a new and amazing depiction leaves you wanting to see more and more. From simple rivers of blood to certain very large monsters in massive chains, this game is absolutely stunning to look at. Being able to see this kind of thing in 3D is wicked as is, but the way they depict characters from mythology just shocks you and leaves you with your mouth open and eyes wide. Add to that the fantastic cut-scene graphics and the swinging camera angles and graphics of the input-button finishing moves and boss battles, and you’re left in sheer awe. It really shows off how capable the PSP is of beautiful rendering. The graphics are gorgeous as is, but the fact that it’s that stunning even on a PSP makes them simply stunning.

The music and sound effects in this game are crisp and clear, but bloody repetitive. You hear the main theme at the game menu, and then you hear different versions of it throughout the game at different speeds, pitches, and at different volumes. There are some cool tracks in there for the few bosses in the game and for other epic moments, but all in all the music is fairly dull, which is disappointing given how beautiful the soundtracks for the other God of War games are. Normally I would say that this is because of a system difference, but it’s not. The PSP is fully capable of playing music, as we all know.
Then come the sound effects. The weapon sounds are fantastic and the speech in the game is fantastic, but the same weapon sounds, war-cries, grunts, shrieks, and roars get old really fast. It’s to be expected that it’d be repetitive, but there isn’t even a variance in weapon noises. Any strike or deflection will sound the same unless you’re hitting an object or a shield. All the magic sounds the same every time, too. Again, this system is capable of having multiple sounds for the same thing, but they just did not use that capability for this game. All in all the sound is average, neither fantastic nor really terrible.

The controls are excellent. They are very fluid and easy to learn, along with combos and power attacks. Movement isn’t glitchy or laggy, it’s exactly how it should be. The button commands given to you to finish off certain enemies can sometimes be challenging, but, dur, that’s the point. And it’s well worth messing up the input commands a few times because the end resulting finishing moves are just amazing. There isn’t really any glitches, though sometimes the input command of rotating the joystick can be quite picky.
The problem with the game-play comes from the lack of real customization. With only two weapons in the game and three (or four, depending how you see it) magic attacks, you just end up maxing everything out and do the same thing every time. Crowd control moves, combos, power attacks. You find you get really bored of fighting a room of monsters because it’s all the same, except the finishing moves. Even after unlocking the second weapon and being all excited and loving seeing it in action, it get boring fast soon. By the end of the game you just practice almost killing everything and then doing finishing moves on all the monsters in the room just for something different. But, it must be said that the finishing moves to redeem a few points for the game-play because pulling them off is just plain FUN.

---Play Time and Re-playability---
Here is where the game just bombs, unfortunately. With a short story, a rushed ending, and not much to do afterwards, you just don’t get much for your effort. You can do some rough challenges after beating the game, which are annoying, repetitive, and boring, and once you figure out the trick to them, they’re quite easy to beat. You get some costumes too. Whoop-dee-doo. I can play the same short story in a new outfit! A couple other bonuses, or “treasures” await, but they’re just stuff you spend a minute looking at and then forget about it. The only really neat thing you can do after the game is watch all of the cut-scenes. While the story and graphics might make you want to play the whole game again, you could also just save before the cool parts on different save slots so you can just do the really fun and impressive parts again and again. But really, once you’re done, you probably won’t go back and play it all over again for a while.

This game is beautiful to look at and fun to play the first time around, but it will honestly make you say “is that IT?” The plot and game-play and graphics make the game wonderful. The sound, play time, and abrupt ending dig the game into a hole.
As a final score, this game gets:

Rent this game. If you can’t rent it, borrow it from a friend. Buy it used for cheap if you can. Basically this game is like a really shiny rock. It’s gorgeous to look at for a while but you get bored of playing with it real fast. Don’t get me wrong. This game is amazing. The game-play, finishing moves, cut-scenes, beautiful graphics, and shocking plot will keep you riveted. But by the time you’re done you’ll realize how much more this game could, and should, have been. Not quite the “best game to come to PSP” as many have said.


Rating: 7

Product Release: God of War: Chains of Olympus (US, 03/04/08)

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