First Impressions: God Of War: Chains Of Olympus
August 30, 2009
As Kratos, the Ghost of Sparta, I’ve sunk a Persian warship with a huge flaming missile. I’ve obliterated the eye of their fire-breathing Basilisk with the club of a cyclops it swallowed moments before. I’ve dodged a hail of fiery arrows to smash through the gates of Attica. I’ve caved in the head of a Persian champion with a chest filled with his own riches. I’ve ravaged a pair of nubile, naked concubines. I’ve defeated the Persians’ Basilisk by making it swallow it’s own fire as I clamped it’s jaws shut with my Blades of Chaos. And then I’ve spent ten minutes wondering how the hell I get out of one particular room, defeated by a scale-able cliff face. All within the first half an hour of play.
In one particularly eventful train commute, I’ve uncovered the best and worst of God Of War: Chains Of Olympus. It’s a hugely epic title, even played on the handheld PSP console – it’s battles big and bombastic, it’s dialogue dramatic and defiant, it’s bosses as tall as the cities they inhabit. But the sweeping momentum generated as you scythe your way through the Persian army with your beautifully animated twin blades of death is lost as it strands you in an area and gives you no idea how to get out, particularly when the way forward sometimes defies a sense of logic. The game has the bluff and swagger of a Hollywood blockbuster but then commits the cardinal sin of trying to bolt on convoluted plot twists. Let’s face it, we didn’t watch Transformers for the plot; we watched it for massive robots kicking the crap out of each other, with a side order of lechery over Megan Fox’s breasts. God Of War should follow the same tactics – we want a shallow romp of death and butchery, gleefully decapitating Persians and then fornicating with their women. We don’t want to align a few statues, trip switches, and solve puzzles – acts which all slow down the savage and exhilirating pace of the fighting sequences.
As I start the final level of the game, I’m hoping that God Of War’s pretensions at being something it’s clearly not will not be my lasting impression of this title. Let’s hope that it’s epic spectacle and mindless violence that wins out.