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God of War: Ghost of Sparta


Kratos + family problems = another God of War game
It seems like Kratos just can't catch a break from meddling gods. Released by the same developer that worked on Chains of Olympus, God of War: Ghost of Sparta is positioned after the narrative in the first God of War game on the PS2. After defeating Ares and becoming the "God of War", Kratos is plagued by visions of his brother (Deimos) in peril. This chapter in the story is really designed to build back story around Kratos's overall journey and give you a better look into why he despises the Gods so much. The story moves at a fairly fast pace and is identical to the presentation quality of the previous PSP God of War game. Kratos sets off to rescue Deimos from the underworld and kicks off another chapter in the God of War franchise.

kratos ghost of sparta boat

If there's an glaring flaw to the flow of the narrative, it's that it takes a very formulaic path to get to the finale (assuming you are familiar with the previous God of War games). You will find the game button-instanced boss battles, the same bedroom sex-lust scenes, the same puzzles to get to the next area and the same button mashing combos to wipe out the legions of undead. There's very little in the pacing or elements of combat that's changed significantly from any previous God of War game.

There is a new weapon combo at your disposal though, a ranged weapon in the form of a spear. Kratos can also use the ranged throws to solve puzzles. The spear is moderately effective, but you will be likely falling back on swinging the Blades of Athena wildly to accomplish battling enemies. The blades also have the ability to be coated in fire, thus increasing their effectiveness dramatically. Kratos gets a new running tackle move (Hyperion Charge) as well allowing him to pin enemies down and beat their faces into a bloody pulp. The weapon upgrade system remains unchanged. You collect the red orbs from battling it out with enemies and spend those points on your upgraded tools of the killing trade. There's also no real strategy required in spending the points, only that you need to spend the orbs when you get them.

kratos ghost of sparta battling with fire

The puzzles were a bit simplistic compared to God of War III. There's nothing very difficult to solve, thus there's no real breaks in the action. The boss battles were on a similar grand scale as found in Chains of Olympus, but seemed a bit prolonged at times. After the game is completed, you can pop into the Temple of Zeus to purchase enemies to battle in the combat arena. You can also snag game videos and concept art, but they aren't particularly entertaining unless you are a fanatic of the franchise.

Graphics

  • The game's visuals are just as fantastic as Chains of Olympus and I dare say the load times have improved. The camera angles are pulled back even further allowing the full scope of boss battles to come into view. Unfortunately, they weren't able to increase the number of enemies on the screen due to graphic limitations. Enemies still attack in small groups, thus ripping away the epic feel of taking on giant packs of bloodthirsty demons in God of War III. The game runs smoothly though and you never get the impression that the PSP resources are being overworked. Some of the game environments start to look pretty familiar after a while though. My guess is that they recycled some textures from previous God of War games.

kratos ghost of sparta monstrous creature

Audio

  • Similar to all previous God of War titles, the presentation value of the audio is nothing but amazing. The voice work is top notch and the grand orchestral pieces give the entire quest the adventurous feel that the developer was going for. Sound effect work is also good, but a bit more forgettable compared to the effect in God of War III.

Conclusion

The main problem with taking the series back onto the Playstation portable from the PS3 is that the series loses the grand depth that was created in God of War III. Sure, this is set in the timeline after the first God of War, but veterans of the series have already gotten used to the more complex combat system and epic bosses. There's nothing in Ghost of Sparta that significantly innovates on the most recent entry into the series, basically more of the same from Chains of Olympus. Still, there's a solid 8 hours of material to be found here and God of War junkies are going to love the quick load times, fast action and pretty entertaining back story. If you haven't been exposed to the God of War saga, it's probably best to experience this game before you step up to PS3. If you have played God of War III on the PS3, you won''t get the same level of enjoyment out of Ghost of Sparta on the PSP, but it's still a decent ride considering the limited nature of the platform.



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