Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: God of War: Ghost of Sparta

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            The second title in the God of War series to hit the PlayStation Portable (PSP), God of War: Ghost of Sparta again aims to fill-in some of the gaps in Kratos’ backstory. Set after the events of the original God of War and prior to the mobile release, God of War: Betrayal, Kratos is still haunted by the visions of his mortal past and embarks on a quest to discover his origins, leading to an encounters with his mother Callisto and abandoned brother, Deimos.

            God of War: Ghost of Sparta begins in the same fashion as every previous instalment in the series, with a grand opening setting the scene and continuing with a pace that rarely let’s up throughout the game’s considerably lengthy duration. Twisting and turning through plot devices as it doesElectronic Theatre Image through combat and puzzle set-pieces, God of War: Ghost of Sparta does an incredible job of replicating the scale of the home console games on the PSP’s diminutive screen.

            The combat as just as well formed as in the home console editions of the God of War series, with achieving combos of light and heavy attacks is the central mechanic for taking out enemies. Different enemies require different strategies to overcome, including breaking an opponent’s block or waiting for the correct moment to launch a counterattack, and it’s this variety that the God of War series has relied upon to be constantly and widely accepted as the present leader of the genre. God of War: Ghost of Sparta does just that, undeniably the greatest modern scrolling Beat-‘Em-Up title currently available on the PSP, and given the point in it’s host format that the game has arrived, it could well be the last great action title released on the system.

            Complimenting the fantastic variety of the combat throughout the game is a series of boss fights of varying scale. Some provide disappointment is must be said, tasking the player with Quick-Time Events (QTEs) time-after-time, relying more on the player’s swiftness than skill, but those of a greater scale are certainly impressive. And this is aElectronic Theatre Image theme that runs throughout the game, with QTEs being far too frequent and demanding, but given relief thanks to the huge scale of the events in which they take place.

            The cerebral challenges presented in God of War: Ghost of Sparta range from recognising the correct use of Kratos’ acrobatic abilities to retooling environmental objects to create new paths. The expected selection of switch and block puzzles make their appearances, but also some more interesting, evolving puzzle situations are incorporated with a pacing that, at times, could even make the ever-impressive God of War III blush.

            God of War: Ghost of Sparta is a very good looking game for its host format, perhaps even the best looking game the system has yet seen. It is of course looking aged in the light of advancing technology, but is still greatly Electronic Theatre Imagesuperior to anything offered on rival portable formats – including Nintendo DS, Windows Phone 7 and iOS systems. Kratos’ character model is beautifully animated, and while some environments are far more convincing than others, the sense of scale rarely escapes the setting.

            As what could easily be the last great defining moment of the PSP’s lifespan, God of War: Ghost of Sparta is a fantastic addition to the format’s line-up. There will undoubtedly be plenty more software to come, but should anything be able to match-up to the majesty of Kratos’ second outing, it’ll come as a shock to not just fans of the God of War videogame series, but of the PSP format in general. The PSP has had a troubled run throughout its entire lifetime, but if it were to go out tomorrow, there could be few better notes to do so on than God of War: Ghost of Sparta.

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