Kratos is back and guess what? He’s still pissed off. Ready at Dawn previously took on the massive task of stuffing the God of War series of epic gaming brilliance into the PSP with Chains of Olympus. Now they are back, cementing their place as the best developer on PSP with a second portable God of War release and dare, I say it, the best one yet.
The game has its story set in the familiar God of War world of Greek mythology. This time it aims to tell a section of Kratos’s back story with a specific nod to Kratos’ brother, Diemos. Foretold by the Gods that one day the marked one (Diemos) would bring about their demise, they set about stopping Diemos from ever growing up. When but mere children, Kratos and Diemos are ambushed by the Gods who snatch Diemos away. Despite Kratos’ best efforts he just isn’t strong enough to stop them – saddled with yet more angst he resolves to seek revenge believing Diemos dead.
Eventually Kratos speaks to his mother about the incident and revelations that Diemos might indeed be alive and kicking after all sets in motion the story (which of course blood soaked and intestine spilling). Through massive epic levels set in fire filled volcanos, icy mountain tops and underwater labyrinths he goes, each environment filled with mythological figures such as Midas, whose touch turns everything to gold.
All the combat that you have come to expect from GoW is faithfully ported, you start out the game with your trusty chained blades and as you advance you add different combo moves to you repertoire. Later in the game you get your ‘Spartan Shield’ and later a spear which gives you the ability to withstand fire or ice attacks and unleash long-range attacks. A number of vicious magic attacks will also be unlocked including the ability to shoot electricity or freeze enemies.
Learning how to combine the magic with your normal attack combo is made a lot easier as, for the first time, everything is nicely spread out. Each time you learn a new move or gain a new ability you have time to learn this before you get to the next level. This reduces button bashing and really affects how you approach battles and balance your attack and defence. Enemies have their own special abilities too, some being immune to your normal light and heavy attacks and requiring special combinations to best them – it’s a similar approach to previous GoW titles.
The usual take down moves are back too – one in which Kratos rugby tackles he foe one of the best; nothing is more satisfying than seeing Kratos sprint across the screen to tackle a particularly annoying enemy, lift him waste high and pummelling him into the dust.
The combat is broken up by puzzle sections as usual, although this time they’re neither as many nor as fiddly as before. This means your time away from the violence is limited, puzzles acting as a welcome break, time for your fingers to relax, before you’re plunged into the next epic battle.
Graphically we have come to expect a lot from God of War and this title doesn’t let us down. Even on the small PSP screen it still manages to be epic in scale; almost certainly we’re looking at a title which pushes the boundaries of what the PSP can produce to their very limits. Multiple enemies appear on screen too while both cutscenes and in-game graphics dazzle throughout.
Conclusion: An amazing piece of work from Ready at Dawn. It’s stunning looking, has a great story of revenge and redemption and is filled with all the stylised blood-soacked combat we’ve come to expect when dealing with Kratos’ adventures – just how they’ve managed to squeeze all this into the PSP is beyond me. The story’s strong too, keeping this reviewer glued to the screen and we can’t recommend it highly enough.
It goes to show exactly what the PSP is capable of in the hands of the right team; sadly not too many teams turn out to be the ‘right’ team. The ten hour completion time isn’t too shabby either, comparing favourably with most PS3 titles which release these days.