A brand new chapter in the epic story of the Spartan warrior Kratos opens in God of War: Chains of Olympus on PSP as the self-styled God of War returns for what could well be the game of 2008 on PSP.
Against the suitably epic backdrop of ancient Greece, the plot drenched in myth and legend, God of War: Chains of Olympus is, in gameplay terms, a prequel to the original God of War that blazed onto PlayStation 2 in 2005.
Following on from the opening movie in that first game, Chains of Olympus covers the ten years that Kratos spends wandering the earth. He serves the gods, having renounced Ares, the true god of war and his previous master, who had tricked him into killing his own wife and daughter.
On his quest, which sees him travel to the underworld to defeat Morpheus, the god of the dark who has taken away the light, Kratos comes up against a number of old foes, as well as some suitably eye-popping new enemies. Yet despite the Olympian cast, the star of the show is undoubtedly the troubled anti-hero at the heart of the plot.
Kratos progresses through the game by dispatching groups of enemies using the weapons at his disposal; players of either of the previous games in the series will be right at home with the Blades of Chaos, whilst newcomers will quickly pick up the controls.
As the story unfolds, Kratos picks up various additional magic and weapons; switch between weapons using the directional buttons, or unleash your magic attacks by holding down the R button and pressing the appropriate action button.
Dispatching enemies releases red orbs which Kratos collects - get enough orbs and you can use these to upgrade your weapons, unlocking more powerful attacks and gruesome punishments for your willing rivals.
Some of the larger enemies release green and blue orbs too, which restore your health and magic levels. Moreover, dotted throughout each level are various chests containing red, green and blue orbs as well as special chests containing Phoenix Feathers and Gorgon Eyes, which increase your overall magic and health respectively.
To take down these bigger monsters, you'll need to mix up dodging and weaving with decisive and quick-fire combos, wearing your opponent down until the Circle button appears on screen, prompting a frantic mini-game which, as long as you can keep up with the on-screen prompts, will see you make short, and gruesome, work of these beasts.
Similarly, as with previous versions of the game, you'll need to be on your toes mentally as well as physically to progress; often, clearing an area will require you to solve an environmental puzzle - turning a crank, moving an object to a pressure pad - whilst seeing off hordes of enemies at the same time using a combination of the weapons at your disposal.
It's engaging stuff, and played out with such consummate polish and speed that you can't help but wonder at the amount of detail developer Ready at Dawn has managed to pack into the game. The package is completed by an atmospheric soundtrack and some great voice acting, as well as a host of unlockable items that will keep you coming back to this portable gift from the gods time and time again.