Chains of Olympus is the kind of title that puts your faith in humanity back on its feet. You know, the sort of game that rights the wrongs, and redresses the balance of the universe.
Now, this isn't a review (although we have had some play time with the game) so things could still go catastrophically wrong, of course. But on current form Chains of Olympus looks set to become the kind of superproduction the PSP has seen far too few of – the kind we knew the handheld had the capacity for since its arrival on the scene.
You're probably not even reading this bit anymore, having first flicked through the new screenshots above and then skipped straight to the excellent seven-minute long 'making of' footage below. And we can hardly blame you.
Aside from plenty of gameplay footage to back up our belief that we're looking at what is likely to be regarded as one of the finest PSP titles ever created – at least from a technical standpoint (indeed, the development team believes it's probably the one displaying the best technology currently available on the system) – you get to glimpse the level of development that has been crammed into the production.
As such, after a brief insight into the detail of the artistic direction you're taken on a tour of the game's other merits. The camera system, for instance, has been completely rewritten to ensure it frames the shots beautifully without ever compromising gameplay.
The game engine, too, has been fully optimised. The Ready At Dawn engine 1.0 developed for Daxter has progressed to 2.0 status – a huge part of Chains of Olympus' early development involved creating this new engine because the team knew the requirements of something like God of War far surpassed the abilities of first engine. So it 'poked and prodded' almost every system in the entire engine to come up with what it believes has no equal amongst PSP titles.
Further reworking is evident in the revised control system, which aims to simplify the mechanics of the PS2 versions of the God of War titles. That doesn't mean you should expect a restricted combo system. Indeed, new, longer combat sequences have been included, while some feature a stronger tactical element to them in order to get players thinking.
The puzzles also threaten to do that, of course, and again here the developer hasn't simply aimed below the type found in the PS2 productions. Expect some of the mind-based challenges that await you to be overarching story puzzles that force you to return to certain areas and solve small pieces of a larger puzzle.
Chains of Olympus remains, primarily, a hack-'n-slash affair, though that's a label that currently feels too restrictive when you consider the scope of the game. Or at least, the scope the developer continually appears to suggest PSP owners have a right to expect when it is released towards the end of the year.
In the meantime, take a look at the following footage (provided you're prepared for the insurmountable urge to pre-order the game that may possibly follow):