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God of War Chains of Olympus

God of War: Chains of Olympus

Video Game Cat Review

Date of Review:  January 10, 2013
Format Reviewed:   PS3
Language / Country of Origin:   English / USA
Online Capability:  None.
Prequels: God of War, God of War II, God of War: Betrayal,
Sequels: God of War IIIGod of War: Ghost of Sparta.
Equipment Needed: None needed.
Maintenance Required:  None required.

Review:

Plot:  
In ancient Greece, as the captain of Sparta’s military forces, Kratos found himself outmatched by barbarian tribes and pledged himself to the god Ares in exchange for victory.  Ares tricked him however, ushering Kratos to accidentally kill his own wife and child in the heat of another battle, hoping to forge the ultimate soldier out of Kratos in the process. In repose to this crime, Kratos is cursed and forced to wear the ashes of his slain family melded deep into his skin, giving him a ghoulishly pale appearance:  hence his nickname, The Ghost of Sparta.  By actively serving the Gods for a period of ten years, Kratos hopes to relieve himself from this curse.

During his ten years in search of redemption, Kratos is sent to the city of Attica to defend it from invading Persian forces.  After overcoming the Persian army and defeating the Persian king, Kratos observes the sun literally fall from the sky, leaving the world in perpetual and uncertain darkness.  The black fog of Morpheus, the Olympian God of Dreams, blankets the land.  In order to resurrect the sun, Kratos makes his way to the temple of Helios where he discovers the God of the Sun has been kidnapped by the Titan, Atlas. In his journey to locate Helios, Kratos encounters the Queen of the Underworld (Persephone) where he must make a fateful decision between redeeming himself or saving mankind.

Cultural / Historical Value:
God of War: Chains of Olympus is the fourth installment in the incredibly popular God or War saga.  The game has been praised for the voice acting of Kratos and Athena by Terrence C. Carson and Erin Torpey respectively, as well as the game’s narrator voiced by Linda Hunt.  Other noted voice actors are Dwight Schultz, Debi Derryberry, Marina Gordon, Fred Tatasciore, Don Luce, Brian Kimmet, Andrew Wheeler, and Keythe Farley.  God of War: Chains of Olympus has received universal praise from critics and has won numerous awards.

Teaching / Learning Characteristics:
Like most videogames, God of War: Chains of Olympus can exercise a player’s hand-eye coordination.  However, unlike most other titles, the plot of the game loosely follows historical Greek mythology.  All of the major Gods of ancient Greece are introduced throughout the series.  However, the protagonist of the game, Kratos, is not found anywhere in proper Greek mythology and yet he serves as the string that pulls together all of the myths of ancient Greece in the God of War series.  Overall, players encounter many puzzles and problem solving scenarios throughout the game.  Many of these puzzles include shifting/moving blocks or moving artifacts to complete abstracts in order to advance Kratos to the next level. While attempting to complete these puzzles, Kratos is often bombarded by enemies, adding a level of reflex to the critical thinking challenge of such scenarios.

Replay Value:  
God of War: Chains of Olympus is not a long game – as it was originally developed for the PlayStation Portable (PSP).  It only takes about eight hours to complete.  There are three difficulty settings: easy, medium and hard.  However, upon completion of the game on any setting, a new setting is revealed: “god mode” (equivalent to a ‘very hard’ setting).  Since the game is short and very entertaining, it is likely that many players will return to it to play it again.

Likely Audiences:
Players interested in action packed, fast moving games will be drawn to this title and will appreciate what it has to offer.  History geeks, particularly those interested in Greek mythology, will also be interested in this title – as it draws on historical Greek themes.  A special warning is shown at the start of the game that lets players know this title is not for anyone who is faint of heart (as it is excessively violent).  As a result, young children should stay away.

Overall Score:
90/100

Other Reviews:
1up.com
Gamerankings
Gamespot
Metacritic
Mobygames

 

About the Author:
Ben Bigalke is an avid traveler, bicycle enthusiast, lover of animals and video gamer extraordinaire.  He grew up taking the stories and virtues told by the Nintendo of his childhood to heart.  As an adult, he continues to appreciate the entertainment and learning experiences that videogames offer and studies the technological and artistic advancements they have made throughout his lifetime.  As a videogame reviewer, he enjoys both observing and experiencing the cultural impact that these games have on his generation.

Awards

Award Giver Category Verdict
Spike Video Game Awards 2008Best Handheld Game Nominee
Golden Joystick Awards 2008Handheld Game of the Year Nominee
Golden Joystick Awards 2008Playstation Game of the Year Nominee
Interactive Achievement Awards 2009Adventure Game of the Year Nominee
Game Developers Choice Awards 2009Best Handheld Game Winner
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2009Handheld Nominee
Interactive Achievement Awards 2009Hand-Held Game of the Year Winner

Additional Info

ESRB Description:
Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Sexual Content

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