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All too often a promising PSP action title is let down by sluggish or uncooperative controls -- particularly during combat. Not so in this case; controls for God of War: Chains of Olympus are a pleasure to use, rating highly in both responsiveness and accuracy. Kratos will do exactly what you command, right on cue.

As you progress through the game you’ll earn weapons and ability upgrades for Kratos, as well as new moves and powerful magical attacks from defeated bosses. Oh, and you’ll gain valuable insight into his character and background pre-God of War.

Graphics are nothing short of stunning… jaw-dropping, even. Larger than life bosses attempt to burst forth from the constraints of the PSP’s modestly sized screen (with no reduction in framerate, we might add); animations and cut scenes run fluidly and are riveting viewing, plus textural and lighting effects are extremely realistic. Devastating explosions, Kratos’ amped-up attacks and the accompanying buckets of gore are simply icing on the cake.

If there is one minor criticism to level at the game, it is that we found it a little on the short side. Total playing time from intro to final scene was around eight hours, which, while it certainly offers plenty of bang for your buck, is all too brief. Having conquered it once though, you can change the difficulty setting and start over; the graphics alone are incentive enough to go another round.

Simply put, God of War: Chains of Olympus has everything going for it: spectacular graphics and epic audio; memorable settings and boss encounters; a satisfyingly high body count plus intense, non-stop action balanced with just enough challenge and variety in the form of ‘mini-games’ and minor environmental puzzle elements to keep you playing. Your PSP will beg for mercy.