God of War: Chains of Olympus is an action-adventure game developed by Ready at Dawn and Santa Monica Studio, and published by Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE). It was first released for the PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld console on March 4, 2008. The game is the fourth installment in the God of War series, the second chronologically, and a prequel to the original God of War. It is loosely based on Greek mythology and set in ancient Greece, with vengeance as its central motif. The player controls Kratos, a Spartan warrior who serves the Olympian Gods. Kratos is guided by the goddess Athena, who instructs him to find the Sun God Helios, as the Dream God Morpheus has caused many of the gods to slumber in Helios’ absence. With the power of the Sun and the aid of the Titan Atlas, Morpheus and the Queen of the Underworld Persephone intend to destroy the Pillar of the World and in turn Olympus.
The gameplay is similar to the previous installments, with a focus on combo-based combat, achieved through the player’s main weapon—the Blades of Chaos—and secondary weapons acquired throughout the game. It features quick time events that require the player to complete game controller actions in a timed sequence to defeat stronger enemies and bosses. The player can use up to three magical attacks as alternative combat options. The game also features puzzles and platforming elements. The control setup was reconfigured for the PSP, as it has fewer buttons than the PlayStation 2’s controller. Ready at Dawn’s solution for the controls received praise from critics.
Debuting at No. 5 on the North American charts, Chains of Olympus achieved the highest composite score for a PSP title from Metacritic and GameRankings. 1UP stated that the game is “a technical showpiece for Sony, and arguably the best-looking game on the system.” It won several awards, including “Best PSP Action Game”, “Best Graphics Technology”, and “Best Use of Sound”. In September 2010, GamePro named Chains of Olympus the best PSP game. By June 2012, the game had sold 3.2 million copies worldwide, making it the fourth best-selling PlayStation Portable game of all time. Together with God of War: Ghost of Sparta, Chains of Olympus was remastered and released on September 13, 2011, as part of the God of War: Origins Collection for the PlayStation 3 (PS3). The remastered version was included in the God of War Saga released on August 28, 2012, also for PlayStation 3.
God of War: Chains of Olympus is a third-person single-player video game viewed from a fixed camera perspective. The player controls the character Kratos in combo-based combat, platforming, and puzzle game elements, and battles foes who primarily stem from Greek mythology, including cyclopes, Gorgons, satyrs, harpies, minotaurs, hoplites, and sphinxes. Morpheus beasts, shades, banshees, fire guards, fire sentries, hyperion guards, and death knights were created specifically for the game. Platforming elements require the player to climb walls, jump across chasms, swing on ropes, and balance across beams to proceed through sections of the game. Some puzzles are simple, such as moving a box so that the player can use it as a jumping-off point to access a pathway unreachable with normal jumping, but others are more complex, such as finding several items across different areas of the game to unlock one door.