God of War: Chains of Olympus (PlayStation 3)

  • Gameplay
  • Story
  • Audio
  • Visuals
  • Entertainment

Also available on PlayStation Portable

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Review written by Stephen Deck; originally published 01/04/2021 on Teacher by Day, Gamer by Night

When I started this game, I expected a dramatically scaled-down God of War experience.  No matter how much remastering and upscaling they may have done, it’s still a PSP game at the end of the day.  What I did not expect was a full-fledged even if relatively short God of War experience with all of the quality and gameplay features of the PS2 titles.

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The first thing that struck me was just how good the game looked.  Obviously being remastered in high definition will look better than the original in low definition.  270p to 1080p is a pretty huge jump.  But with a jump that big, I figured it would look worse than the remasters of the PS2 games did considering that was just 480p to 1080p.  For sure, some of the wall and ground textures looked a little bit rougher, but the character models and the environments as a whole looked just as good as the remastered PS2 games did.  I gotta hand it to them, Read at Dawn did a superb job on these games.  Even on the original PSP version, the game looks just fantastic considering the low-resolution screen.

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It’s more than just the visuals though.  Truthfully this felt like a true sequel for the series rather than just a handheld side story.  It was great to see some of Kratos’s story before he killed Ares and became the new god of war.  Speaking of story elements and their delivery, this entry (FINALLY) added an option for subtitles during the cut scenes, eliminating my complaints about the wonky sound balancing.  The game may have been shorter, but I felt like the storytelling was a bit more focused than the first game and about on part with the second game.  The controls also didn’t suffer in the slightest although part of that is likely utilizing the DualShock 3 for the PS3 HD conversion.  Maybe it’s just that I finally got in the swing of the series, but I found myself having more fun with Chains of Olympus than I did with the first two games.

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God of War: Chains of Olympus is, in every way, just God of War to go.  I mean, I played the not-to-go version, but you get my point.  It may look nice on PS3, but the core experience that the original PSP release delivered is in no way inferior to the PS2 originals outside of visual resolution.  The combat feels identical, the storytelling is just as acceptable but somewhat lacking, and the atmosphere and environments are as foreboding as ever.  Rarely have I seen a series transition from console to handheld this flawlessly.  If this were conceived as a third PS2 game, I’d say it was okay, a competent follow-up, but a bit too samey a third entry, but considering that it was conceived as a handheld game, you really have to give it some props here.

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