Since the PSP is pretty even with the PS2 in terms of power, it seemed only a matter of time until Sony brought their flagship beat-em-up franchise to their fledging handheld system. How does Kratos and company survive the transition to the PSP? After our playtime at the PlayStation Holiday Preview Event in Toronto earlier this month, we can say that God of War has made the trip quite well.
Playing the game on the new slim PSP while connected to a snazzy LCD TV proved two things. One, the new slim PSP is capable of outputting some beautiful images. Two, God of War on PSP looks and plays every bit the part that its bigger PS2 brother does. This is one beautiful looking PSP title. Sure, the game is a little more pixilated and blocky than the PS2 title, but Kratos still animates beautifully, the enemies are numerous and varied, gore sprays in every direction, and the environments are large and detailed. Oh yeah, and lets not forget the enormous fire breathing creature that is breathing fire all over that Ancient Greek town. GOW PSP is certainly looking like a graphical showcase for the power of the handheld.
Thankfully, the game plays as nicely as it looks. Those who have played the previous GOW will be right at home with the PSP iteration. Pulling off Kratos' myriad combos and fighting moves is every bit as easy as it is in previous titles, and he looks just as slick while doing it. Of course, with the lack of a second analog stick, defensive moves are a little bit more of an annoyance to pull off. In GOW PSP, you must hold down a trigger to roll Kratos out of harm's way instead of using the second stick. It's a mild adjustment, but only strengthens the theory that the PSP should have shipped with a second analog stick all along. Also, now you just hold down the X button to open chests instead of hitting the button as fast as you can, likely so you won't look like a moron while playing the game on the bus.
Maybe I've played too much God of War on the PS2, but GOW PSP seemed significantly easier to me than past versions. The enemies seemed to simply not put up much of a fight, dancing around you and waiting for you to finish beating their buddy down before you take them down too. The only time I died playing the demo was when I fell off a large scaffolding rather than getting beat by any enemies.
In a sea of questionable releases for the PSP over the last year, GOW is looking like a big budget breath of fresh air on the system. Kratos just may justify that PSP purchase yet. Let's just hope that Sony ups the difficulty a bit before its release. Even though Kratos won't be kicking some ass on a PSP near you until March 2008, his new adventure is already looking like a whole lot of polished fun. Keep your eye on this one.