Both of Sony’s previous God of War titles enjoyed favour within the PlayStation 2 community, hitting all the right notes with fans of the action-adventure genre -- and proving that lightning can strike twice; a sequel can be every bit as good as the original.

So, expectations were understandably high when we heard Kratos would be unleashing his unique brand of major carnage on the PSP. With such a formidable pedigree to live up to, would God of War: Chains of Olympus achieve the acclaim of its high-calibre predecessors? Or would Kratos’ transition to the small screen be a runty, stripped down non-event that ultimately disappoints?

As you can tell by the score we’ve awarded it, God of War: Chains of Olympus has more than met our expectations. Thanks to a recent firmware upgrade, PSP owners can enjoy the game the way cutting-edge developer Ready by Dawn intended, in all its fast-paced, visceral glory.

As is often the way with platform-specific sequels, there’s been a bit of juggling – so as not to interfere with the timeline for the PS2 titles, perhaps. In this case the game is set 10 years prior to the events of God of War, which actually makes it a prequel to the original.

Kratos has been sent by the gods of Olympus to the ancient Greek city of Attica, which he must defend against an invading Persian army. Of course, when it comes to the plot that’s merely scratching the surface; the deeper into the game you go, the more you are drawn into its web, which features locales, deities and creatures from Greek mythology. There is no tutorial as such, however prompts and instructions are drip fed as required… which is just as well because there’s a lot of information to absorb.

Fans of the previous God of War titles will immediately feel at home; God of War: Chains of Olympus is played from third-person perspective and features gameplay elements of both games.

Whether Kratos is slaughtering foes or entertaining lusty wenches, the game employs all of the PSP’s moving parts and requires both hands on the wheel at all times. Button mashing does work to a certain extent -- certainly against the numerous lesser opponents; however due to the impressive array of combo/special moves and quick response ‘mini-games’ which require both timing and accuracy, this approach will not get you far -- certainly not past your first boss encounter (and these are still very long-winded affairs… no change there).

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