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PSP Fanboy hands-on: God of War demo disc

Wait, that's it? Even though the demo goes far beyond what we've played of the game so far, we can't help but want more. But that's a good thing: it shows how compelling God of War: Chains of Olympus is. It's easily a system-seller, and will probably become the best title in the entire system's library when it releases next March.

What makes it so compelling? Everything that you know and love about God of War is here on the handheld. The battle system is perfect for hardcore and casual players alike. Button mashing will work in the game, especially in the demo, but there's an appreciable amount of depth to the system. Dodges are activated by holding both shoulder buttons, and blocking is triggered with a single shoulder button. There's a slight pause when you block, akin to God of War 2, which has us thinking a counter system will be implemented later in the game. Each battle is fun, and within no time, you'll be ripping people in half, doing combos, and juggling enemies in the air. It's absolutely accessible and instantly rewarding: ideal for a handheld game.

The UMD demo begins as all Chains of Olympus demos have: with the battle of Attica. After the now-familiar battle with a dragon-esque beast, the demo continues to unfamiliar territory. Yet another boss battle, one with the Persian king Efrit. He utilizes a magic attack that attacks the immediate area around him. While it's easy to get around his wide-sweeping sword, players will have to dodge quickly to avoid the long reach of the magic spell. Once again, we get to see Kratos' brutality at play, and a hint of the story that's about to unfold. The Persian king offers money in exchange for his life, but Kratos won't have any of it. Once again, quick button pressing events are scattered throughout the battles, and the incredibly visceral animations that occur make them still feel as fresh as ever. Kratos' bravado makes him a compelling character still, and seeing him literally make the boss' head explode is gratifying.

After the battle is over, you'll earn the ability to cast the same magic as the boss you just decimated. Hold R to activate your magic. A fiery summon appears above Kratos, and he slams down, casting a fiery explosion around him. Like everything else in the game, it's empowering and gives you yet another way to destroy your enemies.

The demo ends rather abruptly after you get the attention of the fiery beast that looms in the distance. A "Coming Soon" title mocks us: it can't come soon enough.

Rest assured, God of War is everything you hoped it would be. If only the full game was hidden away on the UMD somewhere ... but instead, we'll have to just replay this demo over and over again.

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