Saturday, January 12, 2008
God of War: Chains of Olympus: Battle of Attica review
I finally got the chance to play the demo version of Ready at Dawn's God of War: Chains of Olympus. The demo is a little outdated now (having been released in October last year) and the developer has since continued pushing ahead with improvements towards gameplay as well as visuals. For example, aliasing and frame rates were visible (but not too distracting) problems in the demo but appears to have been fixed according to reviewers who played the latest built.
Anyway a couple of things first. First, I found that the controls to work surprisingly well with the analog pad used exclusively to control Kratos movement. I had issues with using the PSP's analog pad due to its location but being forced to use it here actually helped me get use to the placement that I may consider using the pad in racing games. Some might have expressed concern over the lack of right analog pad nub that was used in the PS2 games for dodging moves. Because the PSP lacks the necessary hardware to emulate the PS2's right analog stick, in order to dodge the player has to hold down both shoulder triggers and flick the left analog pad in the direction where the player wants Kratos to dodge. It takes some getting used to, but it isn't a huge loss as I never thought that moving my right thumb from the face buttons to the right analog stick was an intuitive enough. With the PSP, the right thumb can always stay close to all four face buttons. On the whole the controls works very well and I had no problem executing combo moves.
The demo consists of the 'Battle of Attica' level where Kratos battles invading Persian soldiers. There is a tutorial level where the player is taught with certain aspects of the controls. The first 'boss' of the game, a Basilisk who rudely interrupted a Cyclops by eating him, wasn't as easy as I thought. This was because I was still trying to get a hang on the controls (specifically the aforementioned dodge controls). But after I mastered the controls I managed to bring down the giant creature and continued with the adventure, button mashing Kratos's way through enemies and dodging incoming cannonballs and arrows to meet the Persian King boss. While technically more difficult than the first boss, having now got the controls right I defeated him with ease. This boss fight however is a compelling reason why QTE (Quick Time Events) should be destroyed from video gaming history, as it was the only feature I found annoying in both previous God of War games.
Anyway, the demo ended abruptly soon after which was a bummer, but at least they loaded it with a video commentary by the director. While the demo is short, it does offer an incredible insight on what Ready at Dawn are capable of, especially with the ridiculously good PS2-level visuals. Come March we will see just how much improvements they make. But seriously, they could just ship the game now and it would still be justifiable.
You can preorder God of War: Chains of Olympus here.