Preview: God of War: Chains of Olympus Demo Impressions

God of War PSP Demo.jpg

Monday afternoon I was pleasantly greeted by the arrival of my copy of the special edition God of War: Chains of Olympus demo disc. Wasting no time, I immediately tore off the wrapper and popped the UMD into my PSP, and now a day and a half later and at least a good five or six trips through the demo I’m back with my hands-on impressions.

My impressions in a nutshell: Chains of Olympus is awe-inspiring. The demo opens in the game’s “Battle of Attica” stage with Kratos atop a building rooftop overlooking an expansive backdrop of Persian ships storming the shores with back-and-forth ballista fire lighting up the skies. In an instant, this opening scene demonstrates how much of a technical marvel the game is shaping up to be, and the remainder of the demo stage only continues to impress from there with its showcase of unbelievable graphical detail, immense environmental scale, cinematic camera angles, fluid animations and speedy framerate – all things God of War benchmarked on the PS2.

Along with looking absolutely gorgeous, Chains of Olympus plays marvelously. The combat and control system feels identical to the previous games, with light, heavy and grab attacks combining for familiar combos, and intuitive mechanics for blocking and evading. Two excellent boss battles are easily the demo’s standout moments: one taking on a giant fire-breathing basilisk and the other going toe to toe with the Persian King. While the generic Persian soldiers you slaughter in between the boss encounters are simple to button mash through, both bosses put your evasion and countering skills to the test – though ultimately both are still fairly easy to take down.

In true God of War style, the bosses climax with brutal finishing move mini-game sequences. Finishing off the Persian King is especially satisfying as you watch Kratos bash his head to a bloody pulp with a large crate. Defeating the king rewards you with an Efreet area-of-effect magic attack too, but the demo ends shortly thereafter so you only get a short time to test it out.

From start to finish, the demo takes a good 10-15 minutes to clear the first time around I’d say. Maybe a little less if you rush through it. Some other cool content is packed onto the UMD as well, including a developer walkthrough video of the Battle of Attica level and supposedly the “Bringing an Epic to the PSP” behind the scenes video. In the main menu there’s a Treasures section with four locked items, but even after numerous plays I have yet to figure out how to unlock any of them — one must be that video, not sure what the others could be.

So overall, the God of War: Chains of Olympus demo is a fantastic teaser for what I can now confirm without hesitation will be the PSP’s grandest adventure to date and the most technically advanced handheld game ever created when it ships next March. It looks like God of War, it plays like God of War and it sounds like God of War, all without any degradation in quality from the PS2 – can’t ask for anything more than that. First Daxter and now this… no PSP developer does it any better than Ready at Dawn Studios right now.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!