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Nega-review: God of War: Chains of Olympus

Kyle Orland

"Chains of Olympus doesn't quite live up to the other God of War games." (4) "Ready at Dawn didn't mess with the franchise's proven formula whatsoever, which is ... one of our ... gripes for the game." (3) "Gameplay-wise, nothing much has changed ... You still run around and beat the beejezus [sic] out of enemies and then meet up with the occasional boss fight." (5) "I wish that Ready at Dawn had added something new the canon rather than just re-using what's been done in the past." (7)

"The game feels a bit too familiar ... [and] at times you do feel like you've played the game before." (7) That said, "the game is missing some of the features from other God of War games. ... you won't find the ability to use your blades on grappling points, the Icarus Wings, Rage of the Gods, rope traversal, rope swinging, a fourth magic, etc." (4) "I find myself disappointed ... that the game doesn't quite have the same feeling of showing you something new around every corner that the previous games did." (4)

"The game is also brutally linear: you're constantly running from point A to point B, stopping to administer the occasional beatdown." (5) It could also be described as "a very linear experience, (3) that "may be a touch linear." (9) "Toward the end, combat got pretty repetitious, relying really heavily on the mechanic of blocking you into a room and not letting you out until you finished taking down the waves of enemies." (1) "It would have been nice to have seen a little experimentation here or there to mix things up. (3) "Altogether, ... the game feels like a bit less of an adventure and more of a straightforward action game." (4)

Control-wise, "the more intricate attack moves are simply lost to the somewhat 'floaty' control nub on the PSP. There are times that I'm sure I nailed a combo only to watch it come apart mid-attack." (8) "Kratos' rolling dodge... [is] still a little awkward," (6) and "some things, like accidentally setting off magic spells, can ... be off-setting." (2) "I didn't like ... the quick-time events requiring analog nub action ... that analog nub just can't measure up to an analog stick.." (1)

"The puzzles were for the most part a little too easy," (1) "very simple," (4) and "on the simple side." (9) No, the puzzles "aren't all that difficult by and large." (3) "They tend to either have obvious solutions or -- in a couple of cases -- be so obtuse that you'll spend hours just trying to figure out how to get out of one stupid room." (6) "There's a puzzle that's not particularly intuitive thanks to the fixed camera and lack of cues," (2) and "one -- which involved dragging around a lot of very heavy statues that were incredibly slow to move -- got downright irritating. (1)

As far as enemies, "if you can imagine lining up the creatures from previous installments and then mixing and matching their abilities a tad, you pretty much know what to expect." (3) "Towards the end of the game the developers increase the difficulty by forcing you to take on more enemies in a smaller space rather than introducing newer/harder enemies." (7) Put simply, "the enemies weren't as varied as before," (5) and "it would have been nice to have seen something a little more inventive here, even if it was only one wholly unique creature." (3)

"Playing through this title there is certainly something missing – bosses." (8) "I'm slightly disappointed with ... the short list of boss fights." (3) "The game could have used more unique boss fights and big memorable moments to put it on par with God of War I and II." (4) "While there are bosses punctuating the overall 'levels', there are few that are the size and scale of the large statue in God of War II, or Ares in the first God of War." (8)

"The game is a smaller overall package than we've come to expect from the series." (4) "The game is relatively short in length," (9) and "not as long as the console counterparts. (1) "The story is short ... between five and six hours the first time through," (4) or "probably seven or eight hours." (1) Either way, "it'll be a brief experience for the voraciously hardcore." (2) and "another level or two wouldn't have hurt." (6)

Otherwise, "there are a few more frustrating moments that take some patience to get through. (2) "The smaller screen cuts into some of the game's graphical prowess," and "there aren't as many neat-o fatality animations either." (5) "Enemy AI is a bit mixed in the game. ... I did have a few times when I could walk up to some of the archers without them attacking." (7) "There are a whole lot of unskippable cutscenes littered throughout the game ... we really don't need to see the same scenes play out again every time we're unlucky enough to die before the next checkpoint." (6) "The storyline ... isn't as strong as in previous games," (2) and "it isn't quite up to the par set by the other titles in terms of an expansive and cohesive storyline." (8)

Welcome, greek mythology fans, to the latest installment in Joystiq's Nega-review series. As always, this Nega-review takes the small, negative points from many overwhelmingly positive reviews and compiles them together into a horribly scathing whole. While positive context may have been removed from some excerpts, everything inside the quote marks was indeed intended as a negative in the original review.

While you might think it would be hard to put together a review for a game that many are calling the best PSP game ever made, it was surprisingly not that difficult. Reviewers tended to agree that the game's linearity, familiarity, and simplistic puzzles were the weakest points. Much of the small criticism of the game came largely in comparing it to the hugely successful PS2 versions -- perhaps an unfair standard for a PSP game, but one that shows just how high the title stands above others on the same system.

Also see: Chains of Olympus Meta-review

(1) GameTap
(2) GameSpy
(3) IGN
(4) 1UP
(5) GamePro
(6) GamesRadar
(7) GamingNexus
(8) GamingTrend
(9) GameZone

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