Kratos is back, and he’s angrier than ever. Let’s add to the mix that his brother Deimos is actually alive and the Gods have been lying to him this entire time. Now, Kratos will travel to the city of Atlantis(before it sunk into the ocean) to reunite himself with his long lost Spartan brother all the while killing everything in his path. This is God of War: Ghost of Sparta.
I personally have never played the previous God of War that was released on the PSP, so I can’t really compare, but I can compare it to the three console games. If you have played any of the previous God of War games, you’ll be in familiar territory. The combat remains the same with both light attacks with square button, and heacy attacks with triangle. You can grab and interact with circle, and of course, there are the short quick time events during both combat and puzzle solving.
Kratos brings along with him most of his moves as well as few new tricks. Early on, you gain the ability to ignite your blades with fire that deal more damage and help you defeat armor wearing enemies. One really nice feature is the explosions that you can use on enemies. After a certain number of hits with the fire blades, a bomb will attach itself to the enemy and explode over time for hefty damage. Of course, there are new skills to learn, weapons to upgrade, and new magic to utilize, but to be honest, none of it really changes up the way the game has been playing for the past four iterations. It feels like they’re all just variations of the same old tricks.
The game is visually stunning for the PSP. I can honestly say this is possibly the best looking game I have played on the system to date. Even with all that is going on in the combat and backgrounds, the game never skips a beat. It runs impressively smooth. One very unique thing is the fact that playing through the game, I never once hit a load screen. For the PSP, that’s impressive.
The presentation is great. The music, sounds and voice acting are what you would come to expect out of a God of War title, meaning it’s fantastic. They all go well with the overall experience and give the game that little piece of “epic-ness” that comes with all the God of War titles.
One of the small hindrances I have is the way you dodge in the game. Due to having only one analog stick, you are forced to dodge using the analog stick and holding both L and R. This can become bothersome due to L being block and R being your toggle for fire blades. Of course, with almost every other 3D action game, you have the problem with the fixed camera change and movement switch. That really can’t be avoided.
The game feels a little simplified, in both good ways and bad. Chests containing Gorgon eyes, Phoenix feathers, and Minotaur horns are all here, but they aren’t even hidden. It feels like you are getting upgraded health and magic every hour through the game play. I like this, but it gives the player no sense of exploration like the previous games. Then again, the game is only around six hours so you don’t have much to work with. The game feels streamlined to the point that it is almost too simplistic
I can truthfully say I only died once during combat in my play through. Of course, I was playing on normal difficulty and there are two more difficulties higher to give yourself a better challenge. The puzzles are rather simple and you’re constantly on the move. I like this, but at the same time it leaves me feeling conflicted on whether it is too easy or just simpler. Even the quick time events are simplified, which, to be honest, I’m not complaining on that note.
There are those epic set pieces that really make the game shine, and as I said before, the visuals make those set pieces just as awesome. Also, with the simplified quick time events, making those button presses are much easier which, in turn, make the crazy things Kratos does as much fun to perform as it is to watch. One really epic moment takes place between Kratos and King Midas. I won’t ruin it, but let’s just say it’s brutal.
There is a lack of boss fights in the game. To be honest, most of the confrontations with named characters take place in a cut scene or in a small puzzle that you have to solve to reach the boss. I’d say there is really only about four actual boss fights. Don’t get me wrong, the fights that are there are great, but I was hoping for just a little bit more.
After you complete the game, you can do the Challenge of the Gods. It’s basically a survival mode against waves of enemies, one after another in order to gain red orbs to level up your weapons and magic to the max. It will keep you busy for a little while after you complete the game and you’re looking for more game time. There is also a mode where you can set the waves and enemies yourself and fight on your own terms. It’s actually really well done.
All in all, Ghost of Sparta is still a great game. I may not be a fan of the series, but even I can see that this game is top notch in both game play and presentation. In fact, it may have even turned me on to more God of War games. It may be a somewhat short experience, but there’s no denying the fact that the time you do spend with the game will be a great one. If you’re a fan of action games and you own a PSP, you owe it to yourself to add this to you collection.
Review copy provided by publisher.