God of War: Chains of Olympus PSP

God of War: Chains of Olympus PSP
Watching a cinematic masterpiece like, say, Children of Men on your video iPod is damn soul crushing. Yet somehow playing the gaming masterpiece God of War on the PSP is the opposite. This hasn’t always been the case — many a console franchise has been shrunk down to the Playstation Portable and lost much in translation. You always knew what you were missing out on but Chains of Olympus doesn’t feel like you’re trading fun for portability — it looks as beautiful graphically, as nuanced in game play and as imaginative in design as its PS2 forebears, which also became console standard-bearers. Every time a fantastical creature leaps out at you during an epic boss battle, appearing to practically break through the PSP’s screen, it’s a victory to simply not drop your PSP. Okay, so it is considerably shorter in length, clocking in at somewhere in the vicinity of six hours or so, but this isn’t supposed to be The Return of the King — it’s a prequel more along the lines of The Hobbit. But instead of a hairy-toed midget, we get face-tattooed Kratos, an angry antihero with vicious chain-blades and an even more vicious temperament. In the first God of War game, Kratos committed massacres, killed his wife and kids, struck down Ares, attempted suicide and was rewarded with a job promotion. In number two, he gets betrayed by Zeus and killed — then fights his way back from Hades to take down his dear old dad (yep, they went there). It all ends in a climactic cliffhanger as the Titans and Kratos invade Olympus. But while you have to wait a little longer for the conclusion to that trilogy, Chains of Olympus offers a flashback side story that will help explain why Kratos is so righteously pissed all the time. It begins, of course, with a battle. But while fighting against the Persians, Kratos is soon swept up in a larger war. Atlas, the titan with the whole world on his shoulders, has ripped the sun god out of the sky and Morpheus, god of Dreams, is enacting some nefarious scheme as the Earth is plunged into darkness. Needless to say, even back in the day Kratos is none too pleased to be playing a divine pawn. We, however, are plenty pleased to be playing Kratos — it is a divine pleasure to steer the angry, acrobatic Spartan through so many gloriously bloody set pieces, no matter their size. (Ready At Dawn Studios/SECA)