This is the second God of War game to be released this year, after the stellat God of War 3 that was released for the PS3 early in the year. Can the PSP release of Ghost of Sparta live up to it’s big brother? And fill the shoes of the Franchise?
As always, you play as angry man du jour, Kratos. Who spends his time getting more and more angry as new games are released. He’s the biggest badass in gaming, and he has lots to get upset about in this one. This takes place right between God of War and God of War 2. Kratos is searching for his long lost brother Deimos and it will take him to many varied locations, and you actually find out a lot of backstory about everyone’s favorite psychotic Greek. Of course I don’t want to give too much away, but if you’ve played the other God Of War games in the series, you know what to expect, but it’s not a throw away story at all, but if you’ve played through the other games you know what’s going to happen, which kind of ruins it a bit. If you’re new to the franchise it’s a decent starting point, but I would suggest you go back and play through them ALL.
Once again here, Kratos hasn’t changed too much, the classic gameplay of the franchise is in tact, and it translates really well to the PSP. I played it though on Hard mode, and it did give me a run for my money at times but it was seldomly frustrating and always satifying to rip off the head of your opponent. There are a few new weapons for Kratos to yield, the Arms of Sparta, a classic Spartan spear and sheild very remenicient of 300 there are some interesting magic spells as well, which at some points are necessary for survival (at least on the difficult modes). Finding the right combination of magic and weapons for every particular enemy can be a bit of a challenge but once you figure it out it’s great fun as always.
There are some great boss fights in there as well, some that you need to think through, but all of them are epic in scale and imaginative. Puzzles are few and far between in this particular outing for Kratos, which is a bit of a let down. But most people would say that you’re not playing God of War to get your brain teased, you’re playing it to let off steam. I agree for the most part, but at least one brain twister would have been appreciated.
Here is where the game has no other equal on the platform, the visuals are by far the best on the PSP and they need to be seen to be believed. It’s amazing what Ready at Dawn Studios has managed to do on the platform, the graphics are spectacular, but there is no load times in gameplay, it runs extremely smooth, and the textures and animations are just incredibly impressive. The camera work on the game is very well taken care of as always, because you have no control over the camera, you’re at the mercy of the developers. In this case you’re in good hands, you always have a good view of who you should be killing, and the cinematography during the platforming sequences and boss fights are very immersive.
The voice work like all the other games in the series is top notch as well, with all the series actors reprising their roles, which makes it easy to jump into for fans, and for new comers you’ll be surprised on how well every line is delivered. Having professional actors do the voices really hammers home the story. Even if you’ve heard Kratos be angry for about 5 games at this point. The music is great as well, great orchestral score, that gets you excited for the combat and the chase sequences.
In all, presentation wise, other developers should hold their head in shame into how much of an improvement this is to the average title on the platform. The only other game I’ve seen come close is Metal Gear Solid Peacewalker.
Is it Worth Your Time?
If you don’t have a PSP, it’s time to go out and grab one, this is a game that shouldn’t be missed, especially for fans of the franchise. I simply forgot I was playing on a handheld while venturing through Ghost of Sparta. It took me about 8 hours all told to play through this one but it felt short because it was so well paced. The story is solid, the gameplay is great and the presentation is spectacular. It will blow your mind that the PSP could deliver such a big game. There is alot of replay value as well as there are numerous challenge modes and great incentives to get you to play through the game another time. I know I will.
Worth the money, a great game that shouldn’t be missed.