Oh baby, this is what gaming is about. Insane action, visceral combat, boss fights and tongue-in-cheek sex [ooo-er - Ed.]. God of War takes grass roots gaming, slaps superb graphics on it, and rounds it out with good audio and engrossing storyline. Its first release in 2005 on the PlayStation 2 deserved its critical acclaim.
Who can forget those insane boss fights where our Kratos, in the service of the gods, took on the mythical creatures of Greek mythology? Buckets of blood, special moves, and a thumb workout on the controller buttons that was just plain fun.
In an endeavour to share the fun and deliver a key title on the PSP platform in 2008, the series also delivered two new portable titles. These explored the history of Kratos and more on the doings of the Greek Gods (look no further if you were ever wondering about the origins of soap operas). Like its big brother versions, the two games called Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta each received critical acclaim. Sticking to the same formula of action, puzzles, boss fights and of course loads of gore for effect, they were arguably amongst the best titles on the PSP.
The PlayStation console fraternity was not forgotten though, as 2007 also saw the release of God of War 2, and then 2010's God of War 3. The downside of all of this for the console fans was that the two excellent games on the PSP largely went under the radar. Lament no longer fans, as the light of Ares has shined upon us. The mighty God of War has delivered into the lands of men these two great PSP titles in a new Blu-Ray HD format for console owners [I think Sony had something to do with it as well - Ed.]
In the spirit of Greek Mythology we were going to inspect the entrails of Gerald our NZGamer.com pet goat to see what these games were going to be like; however we went one better and got our hands on an early release copy (besides, coffee without milk just isn’t coffee).
So, onto the contents bit, and for those who have never ventured forth as Kratos, Chains of Olympus, like all other games in the series, derives a lot of its story from Greek mythology. Kratos is played in third person and you have the ability to smack humans and monsters alike with a set of vicious short swords. You have a general utility hit and special over the top “watch the gratuitous gore” hit for special occasions. There are also other power up moves, evasion rolls, and jumps. Boss fights involve more complex button mashing once you have knocked the wind out of the beastie.
Chains of Olympus is set around the siege of Attica and the defence against the Persians, while the second game, Ghost of Sparta, follows Kratos as he seeks to understand his past, to Atlantis and the domain of Death itself. Both stories are good and engaging and serve to glue all the boss fights and puzzles together in a sensible order. Did we mention that they have blood and sex? Both of these make this an adults-only set of games. Try explaining to your children what the “Two Girls and a Spartan” trophy was for.
So, how do these games fare in their transition to the PS3 and in a HD format? In a word: 'Sweet.” Yes it’s all that we’d hoped for and then some. The upgraded graphics look sharp, and the game play feels like it was designed for the console right from the beginning. OK, it is not to the graphical detail of God of War 3, but really, it diminishes little from how well these two games play.
Overall, the game play is smooth with no evident glitches or frame rate issues that we have seen recently from ports of titles from the PlayStation 2. Like the other titles in the series, the puzzles are not too taxing, and the boss fights, once you have figured out the combinations, are pretty much an exercise of timing. If you have never seen the game before, bosses are big… no, really big!
Bottom line is: if you were ever thinking you could have had enough of the series, these two games will rekindle your love for button mashing madness. We highly recommend it and look forward to seeing the Cosplay of “Two Girls and a Spartan” - thank you Ares!