I love God of War. I've suffered endless shtick for awarding God of War 3 a 10/10, yet I firmly believe that judged against other 'spectacle' games, the PS3-exclusive brawler has no peers. I generally don't replay games, yet I've finished God of War 2 and 3 twice and revisited the opening section of the third game too many times to count. Having said all that, I wasn't particularly excited by the prospect of PSP games Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta in HD on the PS3. I enjoyed them on the PSP, but let's be honest - they couldn't compete with the proper home consoles games, could they?
Well, the answer is fairly boring. While the pair do lack the sheer awesomeness of the second game and come nowhere close to the visual splendour of the series' debut on PS3, they still offer excellent hack 'n' slash thrills and - especially in the case of Ghost of Sparta - look pretty great in HD. If you've never experienced the games on the PSP, then don't let their handheld origins put you off.
Chains of Olympus was an incredible achievement on its release, managing to cram the brutal God of War experience onto the handheld without too many sacrifices. It used a slightly awkward roll mechanic (you had to hold down both shoulder buttons to turn the analogue nub into a make-shift second stick) but other than that it was business as usual. Kratos could hack up enemies using the titular Chains of Olympus, upgrade his attacks by spending collected red orbs, gain access to magic attacks, and use QTEs to violently kill bigger foes.
On PlayStation 3 Chains of Olympus feels a little basic these days, both in terms of combat and visuals. While a fun jaunt for a fairly brief five hours, there's a definite sense that this isn't a console game. Developer Ready at Dawn did its best to create spectacular moments, but the gameplay that lies between boss encounters isn't as complex or as challenging as what PS2 and PS3 players will be accustomed to.
Ghost of Sparta is a different beast. No doubt helped by the learning experience of developing Chains of Olympus, Ready at Dawn managed to up the scale significantly for its PSP sequel. When it arrived on the PSP in 2010 there was a sense of God of War fatigue, but having played through the game again on Sony's home console, there's no doubt that this is an expertly-made entry in the series.