Review - God of War: Chains of Olympus (PS3)
So I decided to return to previous God of War entries before 2018’s reboot and it was just like coming home. Aside from Nier: Automata, there haven’t been many new character action games this PS4/Xbox generation and it’s a genre I sorely miss. Yeah, the joke is true that most of these games can be beaten using simple combos but there’s something so satisfying and cathartic about juggling enemies in a fantastic fashion, i.e. Devil May Cry and Bayonetta. To boot, most of these games have a scope and scale that’s unmatched by other genres. The continent sized enemies, the camera zooming out as the character continues to run, and the constant end-of-the-world scenarios really define these games. God of War: Chains of Olympus is no different although it highlights everything good and bad about the God of War series.
Originally released as a PSP title in 2008 by developer Ready At Dawn and Santa Monica studios, God of War: Chains of Olympus was well received and eventually ported to Playstation 3 in 2011, which is where I checked it out for the first time. Having played the other titles in the series but not this one nor Ghost of Sparta, I had to give it a shot and boy, I couldn’t be more excited with the impending reboot’s commitment to change for the series.
Not to say I don’t like God of War anymore, in fact I still love God of War and I’m excited to play through Ghost of Sparta, but Chains of Olympus reminded me how much I love the combat, level design, and the exaggerated take on greek mythology, but I still can’t believe they made six games where Kratos’s health, magic, and weapons are reset every game like Metroid. Metroid can get away with it because it feels like there’s a new Metroid every ten years but there was a God of War every few years and they all are identically the same aside from graphics and some new weapons.
Speaking of weapons, Chains of Olympus is pretty bare bones, which could be attributed to the game's short, six hour playtime. The good thing is that I found myself using the other weapons more often because there were so few to be had. Of course, you could probably complete the game using the Blades of Chaos but using the only other physical weapon, the Gauntlet of Zeus is a blast, literally and figuratively, because the later upgrades allow for some great explosive opportunities.
Combat feels as fluid as always but maybe because it was previously a PSP title, the recovery time from being knocked down feels unusually slower than what I remember. Most of the enemies were rather fun to fight, requiring guarding at precisely the right moment or dodging away but fighting the cyclops were a little more frustrating as their hand swipes would knock Kratos down but with how slow recovery is, they could hit me twice while I’m down, messing up my sweet combo score.
Kratos’s manic energy is there as always, as is the fun unique take on greek mythology; however, one thing I didn’t expect this game to cover is Kratos's relationship with his daughter, which is set up through an incredibly padded hallway fight sequence. The best part when you finally reach her, the dynamic between her and Kratos is almost as vapid as the rest of the story, leading to what is the probably the most unintentionally hilarious quick time of all time where you have to mash the circle button to make Kratos leave his daughter. I just couldn't stop laughing while doing it.
God of War: Chains of Olympus is exactly what you expect it to be: another God of War. If you're a fan of the series, you've probably played it before but if you're new to the series, you could skip it and read the plot on Wikipedia instead.