Kratos and Ready at Dawn return to the PSP for God of War: Ghost of Sparta, the latest chapter in the Spartan’s story.
What’s It About?
With God of War III putting a nice little bow on the end of Kratos’ story, Ready at Dawn has taken the initiative to filling in the blanks of what happened between the events of God of War and God of War II. Kratos became the God of War at the end of the first game in the hopes that it would help him get rid of the haunting memories of killing his own family, but it surprisingly doesn’t help him at all. This of course angers Kratos and causes him to set off on a journey to Atlantis to explore other areas of his past that may help his suffering, which centers on his brother Deimos and his whereabouts.
Why Should I Care?
Though Ready at Dawn quit PSP development after finishing Chains of Olympus in early 2008, they haven’t lost a step at all with Ghost of Sparta as they’ve created one of the best-looking games on the PSP yet. The gameplay certainly offers the God of War-style combat that you’d expect from Ghost of Sparta, though they’ve taken some notes on what Sony Santa Monica did with God of War III and added a few interesting things of their own on top to sweeten the pie. In particular, they’ve moved the button prompts for quick time events to the four sides of the screen to correspond with the positions of the PSP face buttons to make those sequences easier to react to. Like God of War III, Ghost of Sparta’s weapons offer a good amount of variety for use in different situations depending on whether you prefer the chained blades with a special fire ability that extra damage opportunities or the Spartan spear and shield that offers long range capabilities and better defensive options. The spells are a bit underwhelming with one super spell that creates an orb that attacks enemies nearby that’s way more useful in tough situations than anything else.
As for the new techniques, Ready at Dawn didn’t shy away from taking some chances with how to tell the story, as Kratos gets a chance to walk around a familiar part of his childhood without the threat of combat that was a nice change of pace. Deimos’ appearance is worth the wait, though you’re pretty much at the end of the game at that point so you don’t get much of a chance to enjoy it before the game’s over.
The biggest downside to Ghost of Sparta is that nothing in this game is really all that memorable or epic besides meeting a few members of Kratos’ family. The boss fights are few and surprisingly tame compared to the Titans and many Greek gods you’ve killed in previous games, which may be hampered because the story is such that the big names in Greek mythology are taken by the other games. The locales you visit are at least interesting enough in terms of being unique compared to the past games and the way they’re integrated into the story so that it’s not like a road trip game of the last remaining Greek locations that you have yet to see.
Why Is It Worth My Time and Money?
God of War: Ghost of Sparta is still a solid God of War game with all of the great combat and style that you expect from the series, but it lacks the epic set pieces and moments that you’d expect. It’s worth checking for PSP owners, but a rental would probably suffice for most since the campaign can be completed in about seven or eight hours. Ghost of Sparta seems like the last bit of story that can be rung out of Kratos’ story, so Sony Santa Monica has a lot of work ahead of themselves to figure out what is next for the series.